PDA

View Full Version : When crude oil runs out, how will roads be made and repaired?



WaxRubiks
2017-Dec-14, 12:06 PM
Tar is a by-product of the oil refinery industry, so I wonder what will be used to make road surfaces when crude oil runs out...Concrete, maybe?

In towns it was cobbles or stone setts where you wanted it a bit smoother.

In my part of the world there are still a lot of cobbled streets

captain swoop
2017-Dec-14, 01:16 PM
Concrete?
When I was a youngster there were miles of roads made of concrete, some of them quite major dual carriageways.

WaxRubiks
2017-Dec-14, 01:22 PM
yes, I've been down concrete ones, as well....I did read in the paper the other day thought, that the world is in danger of running out of building quality sand, so there is another problem.

Copernicus
2017-Dec-14, 02:39 PM
Tar is a by-product of the oil refinery industry, so I wonder what will be used to make road surfaces when crude oil runs out...Concrete, maybe?

In towns it was cobbles or stone setts where you wanted it a bit smoother.

In my part of the world there are still a lot of cobbled streets

I heard this in "Back to the Future," once.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=874ZbBlO87w

Swift
2017-Dec-14, 03:38 PM
Tar is a by-product of the oil refinery industry, so I wonder what will be used to make road surfaces when crude oil runs out...Concrete, maybe?

Crude oil will not run out, in the sense that every single drop will be sucked out of the ground. Wells rarely if ever go dry; what happens is the oil becomes harder and harder to extract and they become uneconomical. In fact, when oil prices went up, a lot of "dry" wells were reactivated. So, if the product you are going to make from the oil is valuable enough, you will extract the oil from the ground.

I have no clue as to whether we will reach that point based on the need for tar alone. But even if we don't extract crude oil for fuel, we will continue to do so for plastics and other petrochemicals, and the "heavies" from which tar is produced will still be part of the cuts that crude oil is made up of.

Road asphalt can also be recycled, and that is common practice around here. (one commercial link (http://www.renovaindustries.com/)) It is often recycled now, because it is cheaper to reuse the asphalt than to dispose of it.

Road materials can also be produced from recycling other materials, including rubber tires and other rubber products.

Swift
2017-Dec-14, 03:39 PM
yes, I've been down concrete ones, as well....I did read in the paper the other day thought, that the world is in danger of running out of building quality sand, so there is another problem.
Really? I find that hard to believe. Reference?

Copernicus
2017-Dec-14, 03:58 PM
I should mention 200 year concrete if we need it.

http://www.concreteconstruction.net/projects/commercial-industrial/concrete-dry-dock-built-for-200-year-life_c

Copernicus
2017-Dec-14, 04:00 PM
I should also mention 500 year concrete for houses.

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/green-building-news/house-last-500-years

WaxRubiks
2017-Dec-14, 04:45 PM
Really? I find that hard to believe. Reference?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/long_reads/sand-shortage-world-how-deal-solve-issue-raw-materials-supplies-glass-electronics-concrete-a8093721.html

Apparently the Sahara Desert sand is too fine to use in making concrete.

wd40
2017-Dec-14, 05:50 PM
Maybe a return to the the non-cobblestone, non-bituminous, non-concrete, mud-resistant road covering used in 19th century cities. What exactly did it consist of?

Trebuchet
2017-Dec-15, 02:40 AM
What makes you think any of those pictures depict non-any of those things. You can't tell. Could be Macadam. Could be packed earth. Could be small cobblestones. Could be crushed rock. Could be darn near anything. Although three of the four do depict trolleys on steel rails.

The Backroad Astronomer
2017-Dec-15, 02:55 AM
There some roads around here that have never seen pavement and probably never will.

Also other materials can be recycled into roadways such as old tires.

Swift
2017-Dec-15, 12:57 PM
What makes you think any of those pictures depict non-any of those things. You can't tell. Could be Macadam. Could be packed earth. Could be small cobblestones. Could be crushed rock. Could be darn near anything. Although three of the four do depict trolleys on steel rails.
Actually, the trolley tracks don't change your comment about road materials - trolley tracks were even laid in dirt roads (in fact that was pretty common for small town interurban lines). And I agree, I can't really tell material of construction from those pictures, but several looked like packed dirt.

Lastly, road materials that could accommodate the traffic of the 19th century (horses and a lot less traffic) are probably not going to hold up well for modern traffic.

captain swoop
2017-Dec-15, 06:25 PM
Most major towns in the UK had Cobblestones and Setts (squared off cobbles. There are still a lot of side streets and back lanes that are cobbled.
Bricks made from blast furnace slag tipped in to rectangular molds while it was still molted was used to make 'artificial' cobbles. They are still in evidence in a lot of places as well.

profloater
2017-Dec-15, 07:04 PM
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/long_reads/sand-shortage-world-how-deal-solve-issue-raw-materials-supplies-glass-electronics-concrete-a8093721.html

Apparently the Sahara Desert sand is too fine to use in making concrete.
I visited the Grand Canyon, quite a bit of sand there. The fineness would not be a real problem it's the sharpness that matters, but we might have to mess with the mixtures a little. Maybe the price rises too, especially since normal concrete making is a co2 source to be reckoned with. Right here where I live there is a sand layer hundreds of feet thick just a few feet down. Money makes concrete.

swampyankee
2017-Dec-16, 01:10 AM
Maybe a return to the the non-cobblestone, non-bituminous, non-concrete, mud-resistant road covering used in 19th century cities. What exactly did it consist of?

Either nothing, as unpaved roads were quite common -- in the US, lobbying by the League of American Wheelmen was a major factor in getting roads paved -- gravel (around where I currently live, crushed oyster shells were a common substitute), or even wood. In winter, the snow would be rolled, not plowed, and sleds would be used instead of wagons.

wd40
2017-Dec-16, 03:47 PM
This clip shows San Francisco 1905
https://www.youtube.com/embed/NINOxRxze9k

The tramlines seem to be laid in stones. Are the large smoothe areas either side, which seem too big and dust-free for packed-earth, already covered in tarmacadam (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarmac), which was invented in 1902? Or macadam (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macadam), which was very labour-intensive for such large areas?

DaveC426913
2017-Dec-17, 04:39 AM
"I've got one word for you. Are you listening? Plastics."

Trebuchet
2017-Dec-17, 05:31 AM
"I've got one word for you. Are you listening? Plastics."Which tend to be made from petroleum.

profloater
2017-Dec-17, 02:14 PM
if we're quoting movies:- Roads? Who needs roads?

swampyankee
2017-Dec-17, 03:06 PM
Which tend to be made from petroleum.

...but which could be made from coal tar.

Trebuchet
2017-Dec-17, 04:02 PM
...but which could be made from coal tar.

Or biological sources, of course. The coal tar could probably just be used to make asphalt.

When we're out of fossil fuels, how to pave roads will be the least of our worries.

WaxRubiks
2017-Dec-17, 04:25 PM
Or biological sources, of course. The coal tar could probably just be used to make asphalt.

When we're out of fossil fuels, how to pave roads will be the least of our worries.

if renewables are in place, and perhaps we can make oil renewabley, eg oilgae, then things like road surfacing may be still important.

Solfe
2017-Dec-17, 06:54 PM
Or biological sources, of course. The coal tar could probably just be used to make asphalt.

When we're out of fossil fuels, how to pave roads will be the least of our worries.

I'm hoping we have jet packs by then. I've been waiting a good long time for a jet pack.

danscope
2017-Dec-17, 09:40 PM
Just a note on concrete : It is made with what we call "aggregate" which consists of crushed rock , a product of a sand and gravel plant , where different sized crushed rock, pea stone and washed sand
are produced , introduced into a concrete mix truck , along with portland cement and water in
specific proportion to make a mix of sufficient strength as per application.
Now, if you want to make mortar for brick and stone work , that requires washed sand. Different
product and application.
My second driveway is made from re-ground bituminous asphalt ; the loam and dirt are carefully
removed, the area is graded , and the re-grind is evenly distributed to about 5 inches thick, and then roll compressed on a good hot day for a driveway that serves me well at a savings of 30 cents on the dollar. This is not recommended for trucks weighing in at 125,000 pounds and better.
It may be possible to make a mobile re-grind + asphaltic liquid + heat in situ , saving the transportation of hot-top to the site, a hotter product with better compression qualities and faster
production at reduced costs ( talking state highways here) . For now, there's not much incentive ,
although there is a trend in concrete competing with asphalt . But that's for another discussion.

Trebuchet
2017-Dec-17, 09:51 PM
I'm hoping we have jet packs by then. I've been waiting a good long time for a jet pack.I want my flying car! Who needs roads?

danscope
2017-Dec-18, 08:40 PM
Hi Treb, I've been working on the design for 20 years. There's a lot to it , and getting the weight down is paramount.
" design,.... lighten,....and simplify " .

dtilque
2017-Dec-21, 09:15 PM
I hate to break this to any environmentalists out there (and I'm one too, so I'm not disparaging them), but we are never going to run out of petroleum. What we're mostly extracting now (especially in the Persian Gulf) is the easy to get stuff. When that runs out, the price of oil will rise and less easy to get stuff will then start to be extracted.

We've already seen this in the recent past. When oil went above about $60/barrel (or somewhere around there, I don't know the exact dollar value), it became more economical to extract oil from oil sands (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_sands). So there was a big burst of mining that when the price went way up a few years ago. I believe they're still mining the stuff even at ~$50/barrel that oil is at now. No doubt new technologies (as described in that wiki article) have reduced the cost of extraction but even so, it's still not especially high profit-wise. AIUI, they're keeping it going because it's easier to ramp up production than mothball it and then restart. They're betting on the price going back up sometime fairly soon.

At any rate, oil sands are not the only more expensive source of oil, but the others are even more expensive. They'll eventually get to them as well.

As for plastics, those can be made from vegetable oil. We don't need petroleum or coal tar for those.

Solfe
2017-Dec-23, 03:13 PM
I have a book around here that was written in response to the 1970s oil crisis. I believe they listed $38 a barrel as unsustainable high. Once a problem reaches a certain point, things change unpredictable and you experience conservation effects. Everyone thought electric cars were coming in the 80s. Instead we got lighter cars with better fuel efficiency, and some of that fuel coming from other products like plants.

If you had asked me what was more likely, fuel being too expensive or cars made with plastics, I would not have picked plastic in cars.

swampyankee
2017-Dec-23, 04:19 PM
I hate to break this to any environmentalists out there (and I'm one too, so I'm not disparaging them), but we are never going to run out of petroleum. What we're mostly extracting now (especially in the Persian Gulf) is the easy to get stuff. When that runs out, the price of oil will rise and less easy to get stuff will then start to be extracted.

We've already seen this in the recent past. When oil went above about $60/barrel (or somewhere around there, I don't know the exact dollar value), it became more economical to extract oil from oil sands (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_sands). So there was a big burst of mining that when the price went way up a few years ago. I believe they're still mining the stuff even at ~$50/barrel that oil is at now. No doubt new technologies (as described in that wiki article) have reduced the cost of extraction but even so, it's still not especially high profit-wise. AIUI, they're keeping it going because it's easier to ramp up production than mothball it and then restart. They're betting on the price going back up sometime fairly soon.

At any rate, oil sands are not the only more expensive source of oil, but the others are even more expensive. They'll eventually get to them as well.

As for plastics, those can be made from vegetable oil. We don't need petroleum or coal tar for those.

I hate the argument that fossil fuels will "never run out..." because it's false; obviously, they will, as the Earth has a finite internal volume and even more finite quantity of carbon in organic compounds that can be mined in the form of fossil fuels. The real issue is when will the sources of production become insufficient to meet demand at any viable price. In a related story, a few years ago, due to considerable worries about the availability of cobalt at viable prices, people started looking for alternatives. Since it takes considerable time to research and qualify these alloys -- they tend to be used in applications where failure results in flaming death, so reliability is a bit important -- this process started at least a decade before that point. We're not doing that with fossil fuels; everybody is either planning on some miraculous improvement in extraction technology that will forever keep that "unavailable at a viable price" point in the indefinite future or expecting a solution can be invented and deployed before the nuclear weapons come out and fossil fuels become the least of our worries. I expect it will take far longer to get an alternative to fossil fuels into service; the time to start actively working on their replacement is now, not when the economists and politicians find out that there isn't enough to go around at any price.

George
2017-Dec-24, 06:04 AM
I have a book around here that was written in response to the 1970s oil crisis. I believe they listed $38 a barrel as unsustainable high. Once a problem reaches a certain point, things change unpredictable and you experience conservation effects. I recall a time back then the long lines at the gas station and the worry that we were running out of oil. About that time, sulfur-based alternatives to asphalt (AC; asphalt cement) were developed and tested in both hot mix and seal coat ("chip seal") applications. This would reduce the need for asphalt by over 90%, if it worked. The results were quite favorable, IIRC, and I drove on both applications for years. There was some less than desirable odor, though the chiggers were no longer an issue for those walking along the road. :)

Swift's point (post #5) that asphalt can be recycled is very important because this greatly extends the life of our asphalt roads. Surface oxidation is minimal and the rest can be re-heated and re-layed. Asphalt plants can take about 20% of the old asphalt (millings, typically) and added into an asphalt plant's drum with avoidance of direct flame upon it. Asphalt roof shingles can also be an additive. There are some recyclers, usually with much lower production rates, that can take all the old asphalt. Surprisingly, the older asphalt roadways, when milled and recycled, can test better than the new mixes because of their higher composition of the better hydrocarbons (e.g. elastomers). Crumb rubber (tires, but virgin is preferred if allowed) can be used in small concentrations in hot mix, AC (e.g. AC5TR), and crack fill materials, but temperatures over 400F are required to handle it.

The industry has coined the phrase, "Perpetual Pavement" to market this advantage over concrete, though its main use is with thick asphalt lifts (layers). It's no secret that the concrete industry has done a better marketing job than the asphalt industry. Often 8" or 10" of concrete road structure is compared to 8" of base (mostly crushed limestone in this part of the country) with 2" of hot mix pavement to serve as water protection and skid resistance. The concrete structure, compared to this limestone base design, is superior, especially for major roadways with heavy truck traffic.

The asphalt industry has developed in the past 10 years or so a design that is much thicker with asphalt that is very competitive structurally with concrete and is also far more flexible as the subgrade shifts with both time and moisture variations.

Regarding coal tars, they are coal-based, not really petroleum-based. These are excellent as a parking lot sealer since drips of gasoline and diesel have almost no effect upon it. I made the mistake of thinking a normal asphalt gear pump would handle it and it did...for one day. The next morning the pump was frozen and I think we had to replace it. Xylene and, perhaps, toluene are about the only solvents available that I know of that will flush lines and pumps that handle coal tar. As you might guess, these present real environmental issues. The coal tars used for sealing will burn your skin and the environmental concerns have banned its use in a number of cities.

Fracking techniques will only get better and oil has been found at great depths. Asphalt roads will hopefully stay relatively inexpensive until we can travel without the need for conventional roadways.

Robert Tulip
2017-Dec-24, 08:02 AM
I hate the argument that fossil fuels will "never run out..." because it's false; obviously, they will, as the Earth has a finite internal volume and even more finite quantity of carbon in organic compounds that can be mined in the form of fossil fuels.

It is entirely possible that fossil fuels will never run out, except in the pedantic sense that the earth will eventually be fried by the sun.

Photosynthesis constantly produces new fossil fuels as algae sinks to the sea floor. If humans choose to speed up that process artificially, the resulting biodiesel will be much the same as fossil fuel, and could continue to be produced for ever.

It is not true in this context that the amount of carbon available to be mined is finite, since the resulting carbon dioxide can be used as feedstock to make new hydrocarbons using the power of sunlight.

swampyankee
2017-Dec-24, 04:17 PM
It is entirely possible that fossil fuels will never run out, except in the pedantic sense that the earth will eventually be fried by the sun.

Photosynthesis constantly produces new fossil fuels as algae sinks to the sea floor. If humans choose to speed up that process artificially, the resulting biodiesel will be much the same as fossil fuel, and could continue to be produced for ever.

It is not true in this context that the amount of carbon available to be mined is finite, since the resulting carbon dioxide can be used as feedstock to make new hydrocarbons using the power of sunlight.

Running out of fossil fuels at an affordable cost and doing so with no consideration of them doing so was the basis of my note, not some absolute elimination. I used cobalt as an example, as the future cost and availability of that metal was of concern, so its users and consumers, including several governments, were actively investigating alternate metals, which seems to be exactly the opposite of the behavior regarding fossil fuels, where the attitude seems to be more like "God will provide."

Getting alternatives to fossil fuels into service will take years, and the current attitude seems to mostly involve sticking heads into the sand.

dtilque
2017-Dec-24, 09:35 PM
When I said "we are never going to run out", I meant for the forseeable future, say 100 years or so. Probably longer, but not actually forever.

Robert Tulip
2017-Dec-25, 05:17 AM
Running out of fossil fuels at an affordable cost and doing so with no consideration of them doing so was the basis of my note, not some absolute elimination.I'm sorry to be pedantic swampyankee, but the basis of my comment that you reply to was your statement "I hate the argument that fossil fuels will "never run out..." because it's false; obviously, they will, as the Earth has a finite internal volume and even more finite quantity of carbon in organic compounds that can be mined in the form of fossil fuels." This is about absolute elimination, not affordable cost. The main constraints to fossil fuel availability are human stupidity and the energy of the sun. We can have a range of opinions on which of those two is more finite.

WaxRubiks
2017-Dec-25, 05:43 AM
perhaps we shouldn't focus on pedantic points..

captain swoop
2018-Jan-03, 09:05 PM
Brick could be used. In fact look at the Main Streets in some of the small towns in places like Kansas, they are paved with brick.

Swift
2018-Jan-03, 09:28 PM
Brick could be used. In fact look at the Main Streets in some of the small towns in places like Kansas, they are paved with brick.
Ohio has a fair number of brick streets too. At one time, Southern Ohio had a lot of brick making (good clay supplies).

George
2018-Jan-03, 10:46 PM
Brick could be used. In fact look at the Main Streets in some of the small towns in places like Kansas, they are paved with brick.
They are also newer projects, last 15 years, in larger cities as well to benefit tourism. Downtown San Antonio did a major project replacing old paved roads with a very tight-spec. brick road. [They required 1/8" max. transverse grade variance, which proved to be nearly impossible due to manholes, etc. The veteran contractor eventually went bust.]

WaxRubiks
2018-Jan-05, 01:56 AM
Brick could be used. In fact look at the Main Streets in some of the small towns in places like Kansas, they are paved with brick.

yellow bricks? :)

I suppose if there were enough cheap energy you could make glass brick roads.

Swift
2018-Jan-05, 02:57 PM
yellow bricks? :)

I suppose if there were enough cheap energy you could make glass brick roads.
I'm not sure the energy requirements are all that different.

It is very dependent on composition, but typical glasses melt around 1500C. But they are malleable as low as 600C and it is possible bricks are made below the melting point (I'm pretty sure it is a mold process, but I don't know the details).

Clay bricks are typically fired at 1000 to 1200C. But the energy requirements are going to very dependent on furnace technology details.

I suspect glass is not a good road material.

George
2018-Jan-05, 03:08 PM
Toilets that are crushed have been used as a rock substitute for hot mix. From my experience, however, it made it harder to get density. [I think glass has been tried as well, but I don't recall the results.]

But again, asphalt is easy to recycle over and over, which greatly extends our ability to maintain asphalt roadways for a very long time. Infrared heaters are used on roads in-situ, in the north primarily, to simply make rough asphalt areas pliable so that repairs can be made and without the problems associated with joints. Though problematic due to things like mesh and rebar, concrete roads can also be recycled by removing and running the chunks through a crusher to produce recycled aggregate for either new asphalt or concrete roadways.

eburacum45
2018-Jan-08, 10:50 AM
There is plenty of carbon on this planet, most of it in the form of carbonate rocks. Road surfaces, and a wide range of other structures, could be made using this carbon in a variety of forms. In its strongest forms such as nanotube, graphene and diamond, carbon is very strong and resistant to wear and tear.

swampyankee
2018-Jan-08, 11:01 AM
There is plenty of carbon on this planet, most of it in the form of carbonate rocks. Road surfaces, and a wide range of other structures, could be made using this carbon in a variety of forms. In its strongest forms such as nanotube, graphene and diamond, carbon is very strong and resistant to wear and tear.

Yes, but road surfaces have to be cheap up front, at least in a democratic society, so some of the stronger forms may not work. They can't be too slippery, either...

Robert Tulip
2018-Jan-09, 01:50 AM
Yes, but road surfaces have to be cheap up front, at least in a democratic society, so some of the stronger forms may not work. They can't be too slippery, either...

Roading could be a good way to store carbon to slow global warming. That might make use of bitumen derived from algae economic.

danscope
2018-Jan-09, 02:02 AM
You can use bitumen, so long as you don't burn it.
In thinking about materials, consider the expansion / contraction coefficients of these materials
under a significant range of temperatures , as well as their permeability in the presence of severe pressure, temperature and the invasion of salt compounds . Also, black surfaces like bitumen
heat up in the sunshine and help to remove ice and snow . Nice characteristics to have .
There is enough to think about :)
Dan

George
2018-Jan-09, 05:44 PM
There is plenty of carbon on this planet, most of it in the form of carbonate rocks. Road surfaces, and a wide range of other structures, could be made using this carbon in a variety of forms. In its strongest forms such as nanotube, graphene and diamond, carbon is very strong and resistant to wear and tear. Yes, and I wonder if carbon black could not be used. For instance, truck tire flaps (the rubber sheet hanging behind the truck tires) is just one example of a product derived from extracting carbon from old tires. Perhaps carbon from algae or even future, if we have to, CO2 scrubbers would help. This would be useful more for crack-filling the roadway cracks, which require greater elasticity to handle crack expansion during colder months.