Surface Tech welcomes John McConahy as Corporate Sales Director for Concrete Products

By | Concrete | No Comments

Surface Tech is pleased to announce the addition of John McConahy to our team as the Corporate Sales Director for the Concrete Products Division. He brings a vast knowledge and expertise in delivering thought-provoking, innovative, and proven solutions to the construction industry.

After earning a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Pennsylvania State University, John learned the construction industry from the ground up by leading projects for both The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company and Turner Construction Company. This experience laid the foundation for John to deliver performance-based solutions to owners, engineers, contractors, and concrete manufacturers

John continued to build on this foundation while at BASF Admixtures, Inc. (Master Builders) while serving in a variety of roles. He possesses a thorough understanding of the concrete industry, mix design optimization, materials, operations, and customer needs. During his last role as Market Development Manager, he played an integral part in developing and launching many innovative, performance-based concrete product solutions in use today.

 

 

Looking for Improved Asphalt Solutions? Go to BATT

By | Asphalt | No Comments

Asphalt Pavement SolutionIf you face a challenging future asphalt paving job, let Blankenship Asphalt Tech and Training (BATT) go to bat for you. Phil Blankenship, P.E., has created a company that offers a wide variety of services, including testing, training, engineering and product development.

As a strategic advisor to Surface Tech, Phil has applied his considerable depth of knowledge and 26 years of experience to a wide range of asphalt applications. Phil recently helped us design a revolutionary new asphalt mixture and provided field support for the placement of this innovative, crack-resistant, one-inch layer of asphalt. Applied on top of a general aviation airport runway that was plagued with microcracks, it allowed the airport to reopen in short order. (See our blog post for photos + project details.)

It’s the kind of forward-thinking service you can expect from Phil, and the BATT-men team, which includes Zack McKay who joined the company to lead the laboratory testing and training. Coming from the Asphalt Institute in the asphalt mixtures lab, Zack has nearly eight years of asphalt design and performance testing experience.

“I’m committed to our asphalt paving industry and the technology of asphalt pavements,” said Phil. “I work with contractors and suppliers on customized lab test training, product evaluations, new product trials, general project support, custom designs, such as balanced mix designs and performance testing designs.”

As a member of the Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists, TRB committees, PAIKY, and chair of ASTM 04.26, he stays abreast of the latest asphalt technologies and invites you to go to BATT with your next asphalt challenge. Learn more at https://www.blankenshipasphalttech.com/

ASCM — Upcoming webinars will define, describe and detail

By | Concrete | No Comments

JUNO XPAlternative Supplementary Cementitious Material — if this term, or the acronym —ASCM — isn’t clear to you, plan to tune in to our series of three upcoming webinars.

Dr. Jon Belkowitz, Director of Research and Development at Intelligent Concrete, will take you on a one-hour deep dive into ASCMs. You’ll emerge with a good understanding of how this high-tech material holds great promise for making concrete stronger and last longer.

 

September 24 – 9am PST

JUNO XP BannerWebinar 1:  Exploring the creation of ASCMs

  • Material composition & engineering properties
    • Impact on concrete
    • Benefits to the concrete and construction industry
    • ASTM C 1709 connection
    • Field testing
    • Status of industry adoption

Click here to Register Now

JUNO XP to challenge brutal Colorado winters

By | Concrete | No Comments

Field test on residential mix paves the way for improved cold weather resistance

Ready-mix providers throughout Colorado face daunting challenges when creating residential concrete placements. Damage caused by freeze-thaw cycles, de-icing salts and excessive use can spell big trouble if the concrete fails to hold up under Colorado’s brutal winters. Homeowners generally hold concrete providers responsible if slabs, driveways, sidewalks and other residential placements don’t last through the first winter without change from shrinkage, cracking or surface deterioration.

JUNO XP’s reputation for increasing toughness and durability convinced one Colorado ready-mix provider to put it to a test. The residential mix specifications, shown in Table 1, required a designed compressive strength of 4,000 psi and 4.5 to 6.5 percent entrained air for freeze-thaw mitigation. It also needed to achieve a slump of four to six inches.

Table 2 details the fresh properties of the mix. Preliminary results show that JUNO XP maintained strength as well as slump and air entrainment properties, even though it reduced the amount of traditional cement in the mix. Moreover, JUNO XP also reduced the ready-mix provider’s cost for the mix, while still meeting specifications for compressive strength of C39 -3, -7, for 28-days. (See Figure 2 for Comparative Strengths.)

“With JUNO XP, we succeeded in setting up a concrete surface that we believe will maintain durability against freeze-thaw and de-icing salt attack,” said Jon Belkowitz, Surface Tech’s chief technical officer for concrete. “JUNO XP also delivered an enhanced concrete finish and improved roadside appeal.” (See Figures 1 and 4 for photo results of shrinkage and moisture loss on the test slabs.)

JUNO XP is an alternative supplementary cementitious material (ASCM) developed by Surface Tech to increase the toughness and durability of concrete, making it stronger and last longer. The Colorado residential test will continue to be monitored over the coming year. Find more information about JUNO XP here. 

Table 1 – Concrete Mix Designs Evaluated

 

Materials

 

3000, EXT, FLT WORK
REF JUNO XP RPL 22% JUNO XP RPL 35%
Lb Per C. Yard

 

HOLCIM Type I-II 432 329 300
Fly Ash F 108 115 101
Juno XP 0 10 17
LGE # 57 / 67 1351 1377 1390
LGE #8 322 348 361
Concrete Sand 1366 1392 1405
Water 245 240 238
(gal Per C. Yard) (29) (29) (28)
Fl Oz Per C. Yard AEA 2.7 2.3 2.1
HRWR 22 18 16

 

Table 2 – Concrete Fresh Properties

 

Materials

4000, EXT, FLT WORK
REF JUNO XP RPL 22% JUNO XP RPL 35%
Unit Weight (pcf) 140.2 139.8 135.6
Air Content (%)  5.1% 5.2% 6.0%
Slump (inches) 4.25 4.50 4.25
Concrete Compressive Strength

Figure 2 – Concrete Compressive Strength

 

Plastic Shrinkage and Cracking from Moisture Loss on the REF Concrete Slab

Figure 1 – Plastic Shrinkage and Cracking from Moisture Loss on the REF Concrete Slab

 

Concrete slab Enhanced with JUNO XP and without Cracks

Figure 4 – Concrete slab Enhanced with JUNO XP and without Cracks

Lehigh Hanson puts JUNO XP to the test

By | Concrete | No Comments

JUNO XP-enhanced concrete
The folks at Lehigh Hanson know a thing or two about cement and ready-mix concrete. So when they learned about JUNO XP and its ability to partially replace traditional cement in ready mix, they were curious. Would JUNO XP concrete be as workable as a traditional mix? Would it provide the same finish characteristics?

JUNO XP®, is an advanced supplementary cementitious materialJustin Hill, Senior Sales Consultant with Lehigh Hanson, decided it was time to test JUNO XP to see if it could meet the challenge.

“We sponsored two separate field trials at our San Diego/Miramar plant,” he said, “one in November 2018 and another in May 2019.”

To maintain objectivity, he hired a third-party contractor that specialized in flatwork. The assignment:  Compare and analyze how well the JUNO XP mix could close the surface.

Five mixes were put to the test and the contractor found that, even with a 20 percent reduction in traditional cement, the JUNO XP-enhanced concrete maintained excellent workability and was easy to finish. Additionally, the JUNO XP-enhanced concrete maintained important hardened properties necessary for any concrete construction application.

“Both results were promising, and we are continuing our discovery,” said Hill.

As he found out, JUNO XP is an advanced supplementary cementitious material (ASCM) that not only yields a workable concrete, but also reduces the cost without sacrificing performance.

Click here for more information on JUNO XP.

JUNO XP for Concrete

A revolutionary ASCM technology

Balanced Mix Design — a move forward for asphalt performance testing

By | Asphalt | No Comments

Asphalt MixAt Surface Tech, our commitment to technology and innovative paving solutions underpins everything we do, so we’re embracing the newer approach to developing better performing asphalt mixes.

It’s called “balanced mix design” or BMD for short. The concept originated in Texas where it’s currently used to evaluate resistance to rutting and cracking. Other highway agencies, including Louisiana and California, have adopted some aspects of BMD, while still other state agencies have started to explore it.

In short, BMD is simply testing the end result mixture by incorporating two or more mechanical tests, such as a rutting test and a cracking test, to gauge how well an asphalt mixture will resist common types of distress. There are two main approaches to designing asphalt mixtures in the US:

1. Volumetric Design with Performance Verification

This involves a Superpave volumetric (only) mix design where samples are made and optimized based on the volume of aggregate, asphalt binder and air. If the mixture doesn’t pass volumetric limits, the mix design process repeats.

2. Performance-Modified Volumetric Mix Design

This Superpave mix design method establishes an initial aggregate blend and asphalt content based on Superpave volumetric design as mentioned above with adjustments permitted to meet performance tests. These performance tests typically check for rutting and cracking and are part of the BMD process. Final design may not meet all traditional Superpave volumetric criteria, but the mixture is designed so that the more improved crack resistant mixture will not rut; thus the term “balanced”

The time is right for the adoption of BMD., Performance tests as part of the mix design procedure can help ensure the pavement meets its desired lifespan at a time when the US pavement infrastructure is in a decline.

Numerous performance tests have been developed over the past decades, including thermal cracking, reflection cracking,  flexural fatigue cracking, , rutting and moisture susceptibility tests. In order to include any of these mixture performance tests in the BMD procedure, the test result criteria must be based on the desired field performance.

It appears the move is on toward the widespread adoption of BMD, and Surface Tech applauds the advancement of any testing that holds the promise to improve asphalt mix properties. However, we also adhere to the philosophy that improvements in asphalt mix design need to be understood scientifically.

BMD applies a scientific approach to mix design by performing tests around rutting and cracking properties so that the mix is more balanced and not prone to immediate cracking (too brittle) or rutting (too soft). And as in all things in life, a balanced approach generally yields the best results.

To learn more about BMD, visit http://www.eng.auburn.edu/research/centers/ncat/newsroom/2017-spring/balanced-mix.html

Concrete ordering and tracking made easy!

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E-tools from Surface Tech benefit both Contractors and RMX/Logistics suppliers

Concrete ordering and trackingTake one look at the user-friendly interface, and you’ll be sold on how e-tools from Surface Tech can make future ready-mix ordering and delivery so effortless.

For Contractors, TRKR and TRKR Mobile provide a direct link to RMX/Logistics suppliers, allowing you to shop mix designs and customize the perfect concrete for your specific project. You can then schedule, pay and track the order from truck start to placement completion. Press Done and relax.

When your order completes, you’ll receive a comprehensive report on a daily or project-end basis that you can e-share with clients or subcontractors. Simply put, TRKR and TRKR Mobile take the guesswork out of ordering.

The software also works well if you’re a ready-mix supplier, because you’ll gain an invaluable logistics tool. It allows you to approve orders and schedule dispatches, including the assignment of drivers.

For your drivers, TRKR Mobile is a dream come true. It provides auto-capture of comprehensive weather conditions that may affect pick-up, delivery or completion of the load on a project-by-project basis. Drivers especially appreciate the auto-routing feature, and the Safety Check List at each point of delivery.

TRKR MobileThey also appreciate the media capture ability, which allows them to grab live or camera roll photos and video, then dictate notes to add to the images. A variety of forms and testing reports can also provide feedback. Best of all, the data captured relays back in real time and is shareable. And like the Contractor, you’ll receive comprehensive progress reports on a daily or project-end basis.

“Contractors and RMX/Logistics now have an online and transparent means to track orders and save all pertinent data to a single project repository that is shareable and will integrate with any software capture system,” said Steve Santa Cruz, Surface Tech president.

To learn more about the comprehensive capabilities of TRKR and TRKR Mobile, visit https://surface-tech.com/etools/trkr/

 

Extreme conditions put JUNO XP to the ultimate test

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JUNO XP Concrete crack testYou want crack resistance? We got it!

Fly ash, slag, silica fume — stand back. You’ve got extreme competition as an alternative supplementary cementitious material (ASCM).

If you’re looking for a product that can partially replace traditional cement in your next project, and you want a finished placement that can go the distance through all types of punishment, look to JUNO XP.

In a recent cracking test, we put JUNO XP to extreme conditions. Imagine 100°F and 32° relative humidity for 48 hours.

“Concrete has to crack under these conditions. It has no choice,” says Jon Belkowitz, PhD, Surface Tech’s Chief Technology Officer for concrete. “But we found JUNO XP dramatically restrained the amount of cracking that occurred.”

In a wide range of applications, JUNO XP is a proven ASCM that can partially substitute traditional cement binders without sacrificing performance. More importantly, JUNO XP can reduce the cost of the mix and it’s easy to adopt. It’s a powder that you easily incorporate into any conventional dispersion system — silo, hopper, supersacks, bags and dissolvable bags. Ease-of-use is one more feature that separates JUNO XP from other new technologies. But the big difference can be seen in performance over time and under a wide range of environmental conditions.

“With JUNO XP, we’re seeing much less or no cracking at all in real-world applications,” said Belkowitz. “In this recent test, we recreated an extremely tough environment, and we saw a dramatic difference between concrete made with JUNO XP and a traditional mix.”

For detailed information on JUNO XP’s Ultimate Cracking Test and other product information, contact us.

Surface Tech + Adventus Material Strategies = A Winning Combination

By | Asphalt, Concrete | No Comments

Asphalt roadAdventus Material Strategies, LLC offers a combination of marketing and technical strategies to the infrastructure industry, drawing on decades of experience and respected industry network. Surface Tech and Adventus have recently formed a business alliance to further the material advancement goals of each company.

As a group, the Adventus team can draw from a deep well of competence for the commercialization of technology in the chemicals, polymers, and road infrastructure segments. The team recognizes the need for new methods and proven technologies to make concrete and asphalt applications stronger and last longer.

The team includes Brian Majeska, principal, with more than 25 years of experience in sales, marketing, technology and innovation in the road chemicals industry. And, Joseph Lorenc, also a principal, with 20 years of knowledge and experience gained in new technologies and expansion of businesses through effective marketing strategies.

“The Adventus team is dedicated to providing new and proven technologies to the asphalt and concrete industries. Their dedication to applying science and technology to achieve breakthrough innovations for our served industries makes them a perfect match for Surface Tech’s core value of providing workable, forward-thinking solutions for infrastructure applications,” said Santa Cruz.

For more information on Adventus Material Strategies, LLC, visit https://adventusmaterialdotcom.wordpress.com/the-team/

JUNO XP — an “insurance policy” for Ultra-High Performance Concrete

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Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) as defined by the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Concrete Terminology and ACI 239 stipulate calls for meeting a compressive strength between 17,000 psi up to 22,000 psi with specified durability, toughness and tensile requirements provided by the inclusion of fibers. However, because of it’s the materials employed high strength, UHPC can be difficult to create and can become brittle and prone to cracking.

Fortunately, recent UHPC testing and real-world applications by Surface Tech are demonstrating that JUNO XP, the company’s proprietary alternative supplementary cementitious material (ASCM), can provide an “insurance policy” against UHPC brittleness and sub-sequent cracking.

“UHPC has so much cement in it you have to go with a low water mix, and that’s where you run into the possibility of cracking at both early and later stages of the concrete,” said Jon Belkowitz, PhD, Surface Tech’s chief technology officer.

JUNO XP has a mechanical impact on fresh concrete that allows for a reduction of cementitious material, while still maintaining the cream needed to allow grey concrete to flow easily into the formwork. Moreover, JUNO XP has also proven it can increase strength and durability.

“It makes UHPC stronger, tougher and last longer at no additional cost,” said Belkowitz, who added the product is showing spectacular results in current UHPC application testing by one of the nation’s premier concrete precasters.

“JUNO XP is decreasing the binder content by 15 to 25 percent without sacrificing fresh or hardened properties.”

Those who specify and work with UPHC should welcome these results and the fact that JUNO XP is easily adoptable and improves standard, higher performance concrete mixes, in addition to UHPC.

“JUNO XP can be considered a ‘toughening agent’ for UHPC,” said Belkowitz, “meaning it can increase the strain on the concrete before failure, or increase the energy under stress. This positively affects the strain curve as opposed to other supplementary materials, which tends to make the concrete more brittle at high strengths.”

As numerous tests and real-world applications continue to demonstrate that JUNO XP delivers a revolutionary advancement in concrete solutions, it leads Belkowitz to issue his best advice:  “Start using Juno XP today! It’s flipping awesome!”

Product advancements and continued innovation take center stage at Surface Tech quarterly meeting

By | Asphalt, Concrete | No Comments

JUNO XP ACE XPAs the Surface Tech team gathered in La Jolla, CA on May 20 -21, presentations and discussions featured a strong emphasis on the development of new platform inclusions to each of the company’s divisions. Company stewards all participated in lengthy sessions devoted to the advancement of current and new product developments as we continue to seek innovative, but secure, solutions for the important industries we serve.

As a leader in innovation for the asphalt and concrete industries, the team first focused on the dry polymer category for asphalt and its aramid product, ACE XP.  Continued testing has proven the use of ACE XP will allow for reduced PG grade in mix designs, while still achieving a higher performance (including anti-cracking) for asphalt pavements.

The team examined how the QC disciplines of ACE XP differentiate it from the competition in both its manufacturing method and its ability to be accurately dosed at the plant.  The resulting plant cleanliness, combined with Surface Tech’s professional approach to interfacing with plant personnel (including safety),  go a long way toward ensuring the customer benefits from the accountable, automated dosing method in terms of producing a pavement that performs for the long haul.

In concrete, the JUNO XP line has been undergoing rigorous C1709 certification since last summer, and testing has proven the product exceeds all expectations in performance characteristics.  JUNO XP delivers cost savings, green benefits and an ease of adoption at all plant set ups.

The Alternative Supplementary Cementitious Materials (ASCM) category is a defined ACI discipline and JUNO XP is an early commercial product showing its true worth in that space.  Aggregate and fly ash quality and availability are strapping the industry, and new ACSM’s are needed more today than ever before.

In the future, look for even more innovative new products to be added to Surface Tech’s platform, including a fly ash replacement product and a colloidal silica product to enhance current market standards in those categories.  Our dedication to testing both in the lab and field continue to be clear evidence to our commitment to provide products that benefit the industry.

 

 

Will more dollars in the mix yield a stronger, longer-lasting surface?

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Get answers you can count on with the new Asphalt Annualized Lifecycle Calculator

 

Two important factors come into play in the design of any asphalt mix: Initial Cost and the Projected Years of Life. Engineers, contractors and pavers all wrestle with decisions on which mix will yield the longest pavement life for the best value in dollars spent. To aid in this endeavor, engineers use an equivalent annualized cost approach called Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA), to aid in the decision.

Phil Blankenship, P.E., has combined his years of experience in the asphalt industry with a wide range of documented results from studies of asphalt pavement to create the Asphalt Annualized Lifecycle Calculator, an online tool that can help determine both lifespan and payoff time frames.

“Tools like this are important to use, because they can evaluate various mixes and lengths of time to see how they compare,” said Blankenship, an independent industry consultant who also serves on the Surface Tech Advisory Committee.

One critical feature of the new calculator is its ability to compute results in terms of today’s dollars (net present value), an important capability to evaluate the time value of the pavement investment . The calculator allows a user to compare  several mixtures and combine each with various additives to see how the estimated value of the mixture will compare in cost to a standard.. The current estimated life of US pavement surfaces averages about nine years before needing replacement. Additionally, the calculator takes into account the salvage value of the pavement to produce results that compare equally across various mix designs in terms of cost.

“The objective for this calculator was to achieve an apples-to-apples comparison,” said Blankenship.

With construction costs rising, it becomes ever more critical to seek out new ways to predict return on investment (ROI). This new calculator shows you what can happen when you test various mixes against their projected lifespans. In short, it’s a try-before-you-buy tool that can save you both money and buy you time.

Click here to test drive the new Asphalt Annualized Lifecycle Calculator.

JUNO XP

ASCM — an acronym for the future of concrete

By | Case Study - Concrete, Concrete | No Comments

JUNO XP

Acronyms. They’re everywhere. Each industry has plenty, and even our text language is well populated with LOL, OMG and a long list of others. So you may groan a bit when you see a new one, but ASCM for the concrete industry is one you’ll definitely want to know and remember.

Alternative supplementary cementitious materials (ASCM) are making waves within the industry, and for good reasons. One, they can partially replace traditional cement in a wide range of concrete mixes. This is good news for the environment, because the production of traditional cement requires enormous amounts of energy and releases CO2 into the air.

JUNO XPTwo, ASCMs have the capability to deliver important improvements to concrete mixtures. They can increase strength and lifespan, improve workability in placement and require less water, while still delivering the creaminess required for most concrete mixes.

Third, to the delight of many, ASCMs can reduce the cost of concrete. And when you combine the cost savings benefit with added strength that provides improved resistance to abrasion, salts and acidic environments, it’s no wonder attention to ASCMs has grown over the past few years.

ASCMS such as silica and fly ash have been around for a while. But these materials do not address all of the shortcomings of Portland cement in certain applications and environments.

That’s why Surface Tech developed JUNO XP, an advanced mineral admixture that can partially substitute traditional cement. It can be used in standard concretes and in specialty applications without sacrificing performance.

The core technology found in Surface Tech’s JUNO XP is a revolutionary building material using cutting-edge advancements in mineralogy and nanotechnology combined with a graduated fiber matrix to reduce material cost.

Best of all, adding JUNO XP to your mix is easy. You can add it at any point in the production process—at the plant, on the job site, or wherever it fits your need.

So now that you know about ACSM, all you really need to remember is JUNO XP. For more information on how JUNO XP can lower cost and improve performance in projects like soil stabilization, controlled density fill (CDF) and rip-rap, visit https://www.surface-tech.com/portfolio/juno/. To find out how you can achieve savings of up to 30 percent on your next project, contact us.

Taylor County Airport

ACE XP Polymer Fiber helps a new pavement design achieve a higher standard in crack prevention

By | ACE XP, Asphalt, Case Studies | No Comments
Taylor County Airport

Taylor County Airport in Kentucky (Photo by Palmer Engineering)

A custom asphalt mix design utilizing ACE XP polymer fibers has given a general aviation airport the long-term solution it sought for a nagging pavement cracking problem. Initial results show the custom design, which combined both a binder layer and a surface layer reinforced with ACE XP, will exceed expectations by greatly reducing cracking potential.

The six-year-old runway pavement at Taylor County Airport in Kentucky was failing. Airport authorities called on Palmer Engineering to provide a desperately needed 15-year-plus solution to the pavement’s micro-cracking problem. Working with Haydon Materials, the team turned to an expert with long-standing experience in designing crack-resistant asphalt pavements.

custom asphalt mix design utilizing ACE XP polymer fibers“Haydon Materials brought in Phil Blankenship from Blankenship Asphalt Tech & Training,” said Joe Dennis, Surface Tech’s chief technology officer for asphalt.

“The airport authorities were concerned that numerous cracks in the existing pavement could lead to failure, a common failure in airport pavements as aging occurs can create FOD — Flying Object Debris — causing a danger to the aircraft and potentially the traveling public.”

No milling was done on the runway pavement prior to re-paving. This meant the existing cracks would be exposed to the bottom of the  binder layer and would ultimately  reflect upward through the new pavement. The solution called for an inordinately crack resistant and resilient binder layer that either needed to be custom-designed, or an expensive two-dimensional geosynthetic rolled interlayer product.

“As a member of Surface-Tech’s Technical Advisory Committee, Phil is well versed on the capabilities of ACE XP, and he set about designing a completely new binder layer asphalt mix using it.”

Blankenship was able to deliver a design that Haydon could produce in its plant and pave with existing paving equipment. Using ACE XP in the new binder layer design gave Haydon Materials an effective crack resistant solution, while maintaining cost control for this demanding application.

The customized ACE XP mix achieved a new level of flexibility for the binder layer. The new binder layer design — a finely graded, highly asphalted crack resistant mixture — greatly reduced the potential for cracks to reflect upward from the base through the new pavement.

An  ACE XP reinforced surface mix was also designed utilizing a higher-than-normal asphalt content to provide even greater crack resistance than a typical FAA asphalt mix design,

“The development of this unique combination of mix designs for the binder and surface layer is an exciting advancement for the paving industry that holds great promise for dramatically improving crack prevention,” said Dennis.

“With this new approach, contractors can also control the quality in both production and installation, as the new mix design is simply incorporated into the contractor’s production processes, thus eliminating third party contractors to install the 2-dimentional geosynthetic rolled interlayer product.”

For more information on ACE XP  crack resistant designs, contact us.

custom asphalt mix design utilizing ACE XP polymer fibers

New and improved MD3+

By | Asphalt | No Comments

More accurate than ever  — just in time for the asphalt season

MD3+ dosing system for asphaltLast July, Surface Tech introduced the MD3+, the latest version of its Micro Doser system that can handle both 19mm or 38mm sizes of ACE XP polymer fibers. This year, the MD3+ comes with added improvements to the computer interface, which tracks the total weight used and average dosage rate right on the home screen to ensure the accurate dosing of 4.2 ounces of ACE XP into each ton of produced asphalt.

“We are proud to announce that we’ve succeeded in making some programming enhancements that improve the dosing accuracy even more —MD3+ can now dose to within 2 percent of the dosage rate. This is well under Surface Tech’s suggested 5 percent in our product and dosage specifications,” said Joe Dennis, vice president & chief technical officer.

Additionally, Surface Tech has ramped up the availability of the MD3+. The company will be stocking a fleet of more than 20  MD3+ systems strategically around the country and making them available just in time for the spring asphalt season.

To find out how to add the MD3+ and Surface Tech’s revolutionary ACE XP polymer fibers to your next asphalt project, Contact Surface Tech today. We make asphalt stronger than steel, with a life cycle that can go the distance.

Technical review of Indirect Tensile Strength testing advises caution in relying on results

By | Asphalt | No Comments

ACE XP Polymer Fiber
Alternative tests, plus a balanced mix design, can improve predictions of asphalt performance

The indirect tensile strength (ITS) test has been utilized for more than 40 years as a definitive method for predicting the performance of asphalt mixtures. But the test, at 25°C, can render misleading results, according to a recently released technical brief by Phil Blankenship, P.E.

indirect tensile strength (ITS) test“While the indirect tensile strength test at 25°C is sensitive to changes in mixture properties such as air voids, asphalt binder content, binder grade, aggregate properties (angularity, texture, etc.), the resulting indirect tensile strength does not always equate to positive field results,” he writes. “In other words, high tensile strength alone does not always relate to improved cracking resistance.”

The author discusses various developments taken over the past 10 to 15 years in ITS testing to achieve more predictive results for top down cracking. However, differences in testing temperatures and loading rates may not, in reality, conform to ASTM D 6931 standards.

Blankenship presents data from various experiments that show a weak correlation between strength (at 25° C) and ALF cycles to failure. Various results of other tests also show that indirect tensile strength testing alone (at 25°C) can be misleading.

Instead, Blankenship advises that other cracking tests produce good correlations to field performance, and the types of tests and standards are provided within the paper. The author further explores taking a “balanced mix design” approach, or performance-based testing.

To explore the various testing methods for yourself, click here.

AAPT Annual Meeting a good forum for emerging asphalt technologies

By | Asphalt | No Comments

Surface Tech’s asphalt advisor Phil Blankenship to take the President’s role in 2020

Phil BlankenshipFor more than 90 years, the worldwide membership of the Association of Asphalt Paving Technologies has provided a centralized forum for disseminating the latest developments in asphalt paving technology. The organization’s recent annual meeting provided an excellent opportunity for Joe Dennis, Surface Tech’s chief technology officer, and Phil Blankenship, P.E., asphalt advisor to Surface Tech, to explain in depth how ACE XP Polymer Fiber differs from other non-polymer fibers.

“As we all know, no good idea sits idle, and that was largely the response we saw as many of the professionals in attendance gained a better understanding of the capabilities of ACE XP,” said Dennis. “Once the differences are clear, we saw the interest in ACE XP rise dramatically.”

A stellar line-up of presentations on a variety of research projects and material advances filled the three-day event, along with plenty of opportunities to network. Presentations included a wide range of topics, including the impacts of climate change on asphalt, 3-D paving, advances in stress testing, numerical modeling and much more.

“The AAPT Annual Meeting was well attended by a large number of highly educated professionals in our industry,” said Blankenship, who will take on the role of the organization’s president in 2020. “I expect the AAPT to continue to be a significant source of information and technological advancements well into the future.”

To view YouTube videos of the various presentations, visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjWgLqZUstRB_G_zl9gLqLw

IDEAL-CT & Hamburg Wheel Tracker meet the need for crack/rut balanced performance testing in asphalt mixes

By | Asphalt | No Comments

ACE XP shows 30% to 50% improvements in both tests

 Indirect Tensile Cracking Test at Intermediate Temperature (IDEAL-CT)

Figure 1. Indirect Tensile Cracking Test at Intermediate Temperature (IDEAL-CT)

Asphalt pavements need to be stiff enough to minimize rutting, but resilient enough to bend without breaking to prevent cracking. The trend over the last 20 years has been one-sided — fixing the ruts at the expense of the cracks. Many in the industry have begun to recognize the need for a “balanced approach” to developing pavement designs that will perform well in resisting both rutting and cracking.

There are seven key existing performance or index tests for asphalt cracking (see Table 1). These tests vary in complexity and cost, and as a result, the asphalt industry has not traditionally performed cracking performance tests on every project.

Hamburg Wheel Tracker (HWT) Test

Figure 2. Hamburg Wheel Tracker (HWT) Test

For rut testing, the Hamburg Wheel Tracker (HWT) test tends to be the most widely used method. However, many agencies and specifiers, including DOTs, are moving toward adopting performance-based specifications where both mix designs and daily production will need to meet certain minimums in both cracking and rutting parameters in order to be considered.

A new and promising cracking test has recently been developed by Dr. Fujie Zhou and his colleagues at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. The Indirect Tensile Cracking Test at Intermediate Temperature (IDEAL-CT) is a reduced cost method that provides consistent results to predict field performance in cracking. This test, along with HWT, can be used daily to ensure that asphalt mixes meet both rutting and cracking performance criteria in a balanced manner.

For example, tests utilizing the HWT and IDEAL-CT methods on ACE XP asphalt mixes can be seen in Figures 1 & 2. The results compare mixes with and without ACE XP and show clear performance advantages with ACE XP in both rutting and cracking sample results.

Bottom line: In balanced performance testing, ACE XP Polymer Fiber yields an improvement of 30% to 50% in both rutting and cracking performance. To learn more about ACE XP or how to achieve a balanced approach to testing using the IDEAL-CT method, contact us.

Asphalt crack testing

Fig. 1 - Hamburg Wheel Tracker (HWT) Test Example:

Fig. 1 – Hamburg Wheel Tracker (HWT) Test Example

 

IDEAL-CT Crack Test

Fig. 2 – IDEAL-CT Crack Test Example:

94th Annual AAPT Annual Meeting — we’ll see you there!

By | Asphalt | No Comments

AAPT Annual MeetingThe AAPT annual meeting is just a few weeks away, and our Chef Technical Officer Joe Dennis will be on hand to share the latest updates on ACE XP Polymer Fiber —a product that can make asphalt stronger than steel. The schedule includes several technical presentations on asphalt binders, strength testing techniques and mix designs, plus some social opportunities.

We especially encourage everyone to attend the Leading Edge Workshop on Monday, March 4, at 9:45 a.m. Phil Blankenship, P.E., a leader in the asphalt industry, will preside over the session of Automation in the Paving Industry. This session features two cutting-edge topics of: 3-D Paving: Advances and Limitations and Automation in Testing from the Lab to the Field.  This session will be livestreamed on Youtube.

The line-up of presentations looks both comprehensive and potentially groundbreaking. Check it out here, and plan to join us as we convene in Fort Worth March 3 through 6. To plan a meet-up, contact us.

JUNO XP surpasses major milestone in Stage 4 testing toward achieving 1709 ASTM certification

By | Concrete | No Comments

JUNO XP - alternative supplemental cementious material

For years, contractors have utilized several common types of supplemental cementitious materials (SCM), including fly ash, slag cement, calcined clays, and silica fume to partially replace traditional Portland cement in concrete mixes. The use of these materials has been supported by significant research and testing, as well as long-term performance monitoring.

Now the same rigorous testing procedures are being applied to JUNO XP, Surface Tech’s alternative supplemental cementious material (ASCM), and the reports from Stage 4 testing show JUNO XP produced “fantastic results,” according to Jon Belkowitz, PhD, chief technology officer for cement.

“The 90-day strength test results show JUNO XP is awesome! Throughout the 90-day set of results, the strength and durability of the JUNO XP-enhanced concrete proved out above the 1709 ASTM references.”

The innovative technology behind JUNO XP generates a hardened matrix that increases cementitious efficiency (see Compress Strength graph), and the resistance to physical attack (see Underwater abrasion graph).

Testing on JUNO XP covers a one-year time period, and by achieving excellent results at the 90-day milestone, the product will now enter the field-testing phase.

Standards for the evaluation of materials for 1709 ASTM certification can be found at https://www.astm.org/Standards/C1709.htm

Compress Strength graph

Underwater abrasion graph

Surface Tech at WOA — connect with us!

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Innovation drives us to deliver asphalt that’s stronger than steel

World of AsphaltThe 2019 World of Asphalt expo provides opportunities for our industry to share ideas and learn best practices, as well as discover new products and services. It’s a perfect opportunity to investigate Surface Tech’s highly innovative, state-of-the-art ACE XP Polymer Fiber product. To learn how it can deliver outstanding benefits to your next asphalt project, we invite you to connect with Joe Dennis, our vice president & chief technical officer, to find out about an informative networking opportunity with industry specifiers and producers on Tuesday February 12th after WOA hours at the Yard House.

ACE XP is a dry form polymer, making it less expensive, more reliable and easier to adopt than wet polymers. Surface Tech custom-designed its MD3+ machine dosing system to ensure an easy, metered process to introduce ACE XP into any asphalt mixture. The MD3+ requires only compressed air and a 110-volt electric source to operate and will dose both ¾ (19mm) and 1.5-inch (38mm) fibers in U.S. and Metric tonnage rates.

JUNO XP alternative supplemental cementitious material (ASCM)

Colorado Ready Mixed Concrete Provider finds JUNO XP weathers Rocky Mountain climate

By | Case Study - Concrete, Concrete | No Comments

JUNO XP alternative supplemental cementitious material (ASCM)For challenging winter weather, look no further than Colorado. During the cold months, concrete pavement must withstand an unending cycle of freeze-thaw and a constant barrage of de-icing salts. When a Colorado-based concrete provider  sought a new solution to this age-old problem, they turned to Surface Tech.

JUNO XP ConcreteWith fly ash in short supply, the concrete provider needed an alternative supplemental cementitious material (ASCM) that would meet ASTM C 672 specifications for a high-end residential driveway. The specs called for a high compressive strength and an ASCM that would ensure a dense hydrated concrete matrix. It was an ideal test for JUNO XP, Surface Tech’s pioneering ASCM product.

Using Surface Tech’s Rapid Deployment technology, JUNO XP was easily added to the mix with no issues or delays in the standard process. Concrete finishers remarked on the ease of finishing despite the reduction in paste content. The mix also retained fresh properties, compressive strength and resiliency when tested from samples fabricated during laboratory and field trials. Best of all, the test delivered significant cost savings without sacrificing fresh or hardened properties. Moreover, a third party testing laboratory confirmed that the JUNO XP concrete maintained the strength and shrinkage required by the engineering specifications.

The concrete provider in Colorado — and others like it across North America — have consistently found that JUNO XP-enhanced concrete will maintain performance, lead to cost savings and create an environment for a greener concrete mix design. Click here to learn more about the revolutionary capabilities of JUNO XP.

Discover Surface Tech at the TRB Annual Meeting at Booth #1133

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Innovative products that deliver better, stronger, longer-lasting building materials 

Transportation Research Board (TRB) 98th Annual MeetingIt’s almost here! The Transportation Research Board (TRB) 98th Annual Meeting will convene next week in Washington, DC.  We’ll be there, and we invite everyone to drop by our booth to learn how Surface Tech products can deliver significant benefits to your next concrete or asphalt project.

Our innovative ACE XP polymer fiber solution can make asphalt stronger than steel. JUNO XP, our alternative supplementary cementitious material (ASCM), utilizes cutting-edge advancements in mineralogy and pozzolans to improve the performance of concrete at a microscopic level. Stop by and learn more.

You can also discover more about our products by attending Surface Tech’s TRB Live! Theater. Be sure to mark our presentations on your meeting calendar:

Monday, January 14th – 9:30 a.m.
What is an ASCM and why do we care?
Jon Belkowitz, PhD, Chief Technology Officer, Surface Tech
advanced supplementary cementitious materialPortland cement concrete already incorporates a wide range of supplementary cementitious materials, including fly ash from coal combustion, and silica. However, these materials do not address all of the shortcomings of Portland cement in certain applications and environments. Alternative supplementary cementitious materials hold the promise of increasing the strength of concrete, requiring less water in the mix, improving workability and producing a concrete that’s less brittle. Surface Tech has been at the forefront of alternative binder technology since 2016. Come learn about JUNO XP. We are seeing spectacular potential for this product as an alternative supplementary cementitious material. We’ll explain how it can reduce cost and increase strength of traditional concrete in your next project.

 


Tuesday, January 15th
 12:30 p.m.
The ideal asphalt cracking performance test — what is it?
Joe Dennis, Vice President & Chief Technical Officer, Surface Tech
Phil Blankenship, PE, BLANKENSHIP ASPHALT TECH AND TRAINING, PLLC
ACE XP Polymer FiberASCE recently gave U.S. roadways a dismal “grade D+.” One main reason for this poor performance is the premature cracking of asphalt pavements. This presentation will review a variety of cracking performance tests currently available, providing the strengths and weaknesses of each — including a review of the newest crack performance test called the IDEAL CT crack test. Since the availability of asphalt crack improving modifier options is limited, the presentation will also provide an overview of the capabilities of aramid polymer fibers to decrease this premature cracking of asphalt pavements.

 

Here’s a New Year’s resolution that will pay off BIG for your business

By | Asphalt, Concrete | No Comments

construction with concrete asphalt

As a contractor, you want to provide solutions that will keep your customers coming back. Whether it’s asphalt pavement or a concrete installation, you win when the mix performs well during installation and results in a finished project that clients will appreciate for many years.

Here’s our best advice for 2019:  Resolve to find better, more advanced material solutions that will improve your mix quality, lower your costs, increase ease-of-use and produce a stronger end result that will serve your customers so well that they’ll turn to you again and again — and also recommend you to others.

At Surface Tech, we focus solely on researching and developing the material technologies that enable contractors to deliver asphalt and concrete solutions that can stand the test of time. Naturally, we have two suggested products that will allow you to keep your new year’s resolution.

With ACE XP polymer fiber, contractors can promise — and deliver — asphalt that’s stronger than steel. Unlike other fiber reinforcement products, ACE XP utilizes aramid fibers that provide 400,000 psi tensile strength and micro roots that spread tenaciously throughout the bitumen of the asphalt. The result is a surface that resists rutting and cracking in all kinds of weather and under bruising traffic conditions.

JUNO XP is a revolutionary alternative supplementary cementitious material (ASCM); a new technology that delivers outstanding cost savings without sacrificing performance in standard concrete mix designs. As a partial substitute for traditional concrete binders, this advanced material increases the strength-bearing microstructure of concrete to achieve outstanding toughness and durability.

If you want to know more about the revolutionary material advancements provided by ACE XP and JUNO XP, contact us today. It could result in the best New Year’s resolution you will make for your business— and your customers.

What is an ASCM and Why Do We Care?

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Chief Technical Officer Jon Belkowitz, PhD to present at Concrete Expo in 2019

Jon Belkowitz, PhDSurface Tech’s Chief Technical Officer Jon Belkowitz, PhD, will present an overview of Alternative Supplementary Cementitious Materials (ASCM) at Concrete Expo on Jan. 31, 2019 in South Bend, IN. He will provide an overview of ASCM, including how these materials manipulate the microstructure of concrete. Belkowitz has conducted extensive research into ASCM, and part of his presentation will review ongoing concrete research projects.

Interest in ASCM has grown in recent years as supplies of fly ash have decreased. Many producers have also begun to seek out alternatives to these materials in a quest to improve mix workability and hardening properties. Add to these motivations an overall growing concern for the environmental impacts of traditional cement production, and you begin to see why producers are looking for reliable alternative cementitious materials.

At his presentation, you will learn how ASCM-enhanced concrete performs in both workability and hardening stages, as well as the means and methods of employing these products in concrete manufacturing. His presentation will also detail how ASCM can produce civil infrastructure that is both stronger and last longer.

Learn more about the ASCM offered by Surface Tech.

 

What do bowstrings, hockey sticks and skis have in common with asphalt?

By | Asphalt | No Comments

ACE XP aramid polymer fiber additiveAll require strength, flexibility and abrasion tolerance to achieve high performance. The common ingredient that delivers those winning traits is aramid fibers. These polymer synthetic fibers provide advantages that make them ideal for a wide range of products. So it’s not surprising that more than 60,000 tons of aramid fibers are produced annually, and demand continues to grow as new applications emerge.

Years ago, Surface Tech recognized the superior advantages that aramid fibers, particularly para-aramid fibers, could provide to asphalt applications. The company began offering the ACE XP aramid polymer fiber additive after years of painstaking research and multi-geographical testing. Back then, the challenge was to find a way to harness millions of tiny fibers into a final product that could be easily managed. By combining para-aramid with a wax treatment, Surface Tech achieved its goal of creating an additive that successfully reinforces and properly doses the entire matrix of asphalt.

The wax binds the polymer fibers to allow for an easy, reliable method for feeding into the asphalt mix. Once added, the wax melts and is fully soluble within the mix to release the polymer fibers in a uniform distribution. This unique delivery process produces the highest performing blend of Fiber Reinforced Asphalt Concrete (FRAC) on the market, and any asphalt project can benefit from ACE XP.

If you want an asphalt surface that resists cracking and rutting and dramatically extends the life of your pavement, call us. With para-aramid fibers, you’ll get asphalt that’s stronger than steel, and only from ACE XP — the Number One choice for strength, flexibility and abrasion tolerance.