Highways England has partnered with Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) to address issues such as the deterioration of road and pavement surfaces.

GEIC specialises in the development and scale-up of graphene and other 2D materials applications. It works in collaboration with the industry partners to create, test and optimise new concepts.

Graphene is claimed to be stronger than steel, more conductive than copper and one million times thinner than a human hair.

By adding graphene into maintenance and renewals operations, Highways England aims to extend asset-life, as well as help improve the experience of those using the roads.

Highways England Innovation director Paul Doney said: “We are really excited about the opportunity to explore leading-edge materials and what this might lead to for our road network.

“GEIC is at the forefront, having made the discovery here in Manchester, and by building a collaboration with our operations teams who understand the challenges, we are looking to deliver improved safety and performance of our roads.”

In addition, the partnership will explore the operational and road user benefits of including graphene into assets such as road surfacing and road markings, alongside pushing the development of low carbon and digital road network.

Graphene@Manchester CEO James Baker said: “This latest partnership is a brilliant example of how graphene can be used to tackle problems faced by most people every day.

“This is further enabled by the facilities and capabilities we can provide to our industry partners, that accelerates the many small improvements that ultimately create an optimised product.”