Cellulose fibers – properties and applications

Technological development allows for more solid and durable construction. One of the discoveries in this field is cellulose fibers, which are used, among other things, as stabilizers in mineral-asphalt mixtures such as SMA (stone mastic asphalt) and PA (porous asphalt). Interestingly, they can be obtained from used car tires, which promotes recycling. However, that’s not all worth knowing about this material. Read the article and learn about the advantages of using this additive in mineral-asphalt mixtures.

What are cellulose fibers?

The term “cellulose fibers” refers to a fibrous additive to mineral-asphalt mixtures used for road construction. Why? Unfortunately, heavy traffic and increased vehicle loads contribute to road damage. To prevent this, the best materials and technologies must be used. However, among the many available solutions, cellulose fibers occupy a special place. This is because, despite being of plant origin, they significantly improve the asphalt’s resistance. Interestingly, these fibers can also be obtained from the recycling of rubber products reinforced with textile cord. They are well suited for this, including car tires and damaged conveyor belts.

Cellulose fibers – applications Free of modifying additives, cellulose fiber is an excellent binder that can be used for:

  • Obtaining SMA and PA;
  • Preventing the mixture from separating during transport and laying;
  • Preventing the binder from bleeding out of mineral aggregates.

In addition, this material is also widely used in construction. Cellulose fibers are used, among other things, for building construction and creating very durable binding layers.

Cellulose fibers – properties Cellulose fibers, used in many industries, are highly resistant to cracking and the formation of fissures. Added to mineral-asphalt mixtures, they create micro-reinforcements that protect the asphalt from damage. Fibers also make a very good stabilizer, which is why it is recommended to add them during mixing of ingredients into the stone material. Moreover, the use of cellulose fibers in the mixture effectively prevents the segregation of components during transport.

Advantages of cellulose fibers The major advantages of cellulose fibers include:

  • Lack of modifying additives;
  • Stability in transport;
  • Low weight – facilitating easy transportation;
  • Easy distribution of fibers in the mixture;
  • Thickening properties – effectively improving the mixture’s rheology;
  • Low cost – compared to granular stabilizers.

It is also worth noting that loose cellulose fiber significantly increases the asphalt’s absorbency better than granulated or impregnated fibers. Additionally, due to their strong thickening properties, smaller amounts of this material are sufficient compared to other products, maintaining the effectiveness of SMA mixtures.

Is it worth using cellulose fibers in road construction? Cellulose fibers are particularly useful for mixtures with non-continuous grain sizes. They effectively prevent the binder from flowing and also protect the mixture during transport from separation. The addition of cellulose fibers effectively prevents this process. Moreover, small fibers make the surface more resistant to the formation of ruts or cracks caused by low temperatures or asphalt fatigue. Finally, it is worth noting that this product has been approved by the Road and Bridge Research Institute, which is the best evidence that the use of cellulose fibers promotes the safety of all road users. This is also confirmed by the results of tests conducted before the approval of this additive for sale. It is an excellent insulation material and can be used to fill empty spaces.