GRAPHENE, a material only one atom thick, could be prolong the life of roads across the country.

In a world-first project, Highways England is working with the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) at The University of Manchester and Pavement Testing Services (PTS) to see how graphene can be used in four different areas; bitumen, asphalt, steel safety barriers and road markings

If successful, Highways England trials using graphene could see the operational life of key road features extended by a number of years, reducing the frequency of roadworks and making journeys for road users smoother and more reliable.

Graphene is the name for a single sheet of carbon atoms, arranged in a honeycomb pattern. It is the building block of graphite — pencil lead — and is an incredibly strong, conductive and flexible material. It can be used in in everything, from aerospace engineering to digital electronics and biomedicine.