FARGO, N.D. • A North Dakota State University researcher is developing a new product that can be applied to asphalt shingles in order to soften them, increasing their repairability and extending the lifespan of existing roofing.

The product stems from senior research engineer James Bahr’s patented soy-based dust suppressant agent used to control excessive road dust. Recent trials with a roofing company show that a modified version can be used to rejuvenate and soften aged asphalt.

Image: Courtesy of NDSU
Image: Courtesy of NDSU

Research will be conducted through June 2022 to modify the existing formula and test several variations on aged shingles. The formulas will be made at NDSU and tested on an outdoor fixture of aged singles located on campus. After months of exposure, the shingles will be removed and tested in the lab to gauge the efficacy of the various treatments.

Once developed, this new product will be offered to roofing companies and individuals at an affordable price for purchase online and at local hardware stores. The goal of the research is to develop a formula that can be applied with a common yard sprayer by the property owner. NDSU plans to partner with BioBlend LLC to produce, market and sell the optimized formula once the project has completed.

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“There are more than 112 million homes in the United States with asphalt roofs,” said Bahr. “The average roof would require four to five pails of ready to apply material. If only two percent of homes are treated, the amount of soybean oil would equate to 11 million bushels.”

The research was funded by the North Dakota Soybean Research Council.