Several material scientists are creating new technologies that could replace conventional bitumen with self-healing asphalt. Scientists at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have created a material that allows asphalt to be infused with electrically conductive fibers and fillers in the configuration of closed-loop circuits. When the current is introduced near a crack, the heat generated within the circuits melts the bitumen and seals it.
Another material from a Swiss research organization injects iron oxide nanoparticles into surface cracks. The patch material is exposed to an alternating magnetic field and the surrounding asphalt softens and heals itself.
Scientists in Minnesota have mixed magnetite-rich iron ore into bitumen to create a modified material that can be repaired with a special vehicle.