AFrench company has introduced a new system to control the cracking of road surfaces. Called Prefis, and built by S2C INDUSTRIE of Angers, the system consists of an arm that makes transverse furrows at fixed intervals in the gravel substrate. At the same time, it injects a bitumen emulsion binder into the furrow. The transverse "precracks" prevent cracks from propagating upward out of the roadbed and into the road surface. The hydraulically controlled arm comes with a vibrating tool and spray nozzle mounted at the front of the system's tractor. The system's hydraulics, binder reservoir, compressor, and generator mount on the rear of the carrier. All are controlled from the driver's seat via a programmable logic controller. Prefis can produce furrows up to 5m (16.4 ft) in width and 32 cm (12.6 inches) in depth. At the rate of one furrow per 10 ft, it can deliver two joints per minute, equal to about 1,200 ft per hr. The French civil engineering research center (LCPC), developed the system. FAX +33 2 41 43 81 23.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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