2 Factors That Can Influence Asphalt Compaction

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No aspect of asphalt installation is quite as important as compaction, especially where the ultimate lifespan of the pavement is concerned. Yet many people fail to realize that all types of asphalt will compact in the same way. Whether you work in the paving industry, or are simply a homeowner hoping to learn more about asphalt, read on. This article will discuss two key factors that help to determine the way a particular asphalt will behave during the compaction process.

Mix Composition

Those new to the world of asphalt often mistakenly assume that there is one--and only one--type of asphalt. In reality, there are many different asphalt "recipes," each of which is distinguished by its own subtle characteristics. The primary ingredients in all such mixtures are crushed stone--also known as aggregate--and distilled oil products. Yet even these common elements can vary, whether in terms of size or proportion.

The aggregate size of a particular asphalt determines its compactibility to a great degree. Dense graded mixtures--those that include a wide, even array of aggregate sizes--are the easiest to compact. Asphalt mixes that omit aggregate in the medium size range--often referred as open grade mixtures--take much more effort to compact. As a result, they are able to produce surfaces with a better resistance to such common problems as cracking and raveling.

In addition, there are a wide range of additives that may be included in a particular mix. These substances, which may include emulsifiers, detergents, and stabilizers, help to determine the performance of the asphalt. They are added to take into account such factors as the asphalt's intended use, placement, and the sort of weather to which it will be exposed. Often additives accomplish this goal by slightly altering the way the asphalt will compact.

Mix Temperature

Traditionally, all asphalt was of a type known as hot mix. As its name would imply, this asphalt had to be manufactured and transported at high temperatures. Today, however, asphalt also comes in warm and cold varieties. The temperature of a given asphalt mix greatly affects how it will behave during the compaction phase of installation.

In general, an asphalt produced at a higher temp will be more pliable, making it easier to both spread and compact. As a result, the compacting machine--aka, the drum roller--can achieve ideal density with a much lighter pressure. The colder the asphalt mix, the "stiffer" it becomes. As a result, achieving ideal compaction will likely involve a heavier pressure and/or a greater number of passes.

To learn more, contact a company like Branche Industries.     

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