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Asphalt Mix Archives - Surface Tech

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

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.

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.

ACE XP Paves a Grand Entrance for California’s Marrakesh Country Club

By | ACE XP, Asphalt, Case Studies | No Comments

ace fiberIn the chic Palm Desert region of California, the owners of the historic Marrakesh Country Club faced overwhelming roadway maintenance costs as they grappled with a history of standard mix designs that resulted in rapid weathering and failure.

Experts from California Filtration Specialists (CFS) and Surface Tech immediately realized the many benefits Marrakesh Country Club could realize by using ACE XP.  After analyzing the project pavement design, Surface Tech was able to provide Marrakesh Country Club with a ¼ inch reduction in asphalt thickness, which resulted in significant cost savings.

“ACE XP reinforce the pavement so that it can withstand a harsh environment such as the California desert,” said Joe Dennis, Director, Asphalt Division – Surface Tech.  “The Marrakesh Country Club team was optimistic that ACE XP could provide the exact solution they were in search of – strength, durability, and longer life expectancy.”

The project specified an ACE XP – Fiber Reinforced Asphalt Concrete (FRAC) mix design.  Over 10,000 ton equivalents of ACE XP FRAC were used on the five-week project for the country club’s roadways.
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On Demand Webinar: The Asphalt Revolution

By | ACE XP, Asphalt | No Comments

Nilex Webinar on ACE FiberAs the interest in ACE Fibers and FRAC (Fiber Reinforced Asphalt Concrete) continues to grow, Surface Tech distributor, NILEX, recently hosted a webinar, now available on-demand, entitled The Asphalt Revolution: The Key to Pavement Strength and Extended Service Life, which addresses many FAQs about ACE Fibers.

 During the 45 minute webinar, NILEX provides an overview of the purpose of ACE Fibers, the research and methodology utilized, case study summaries from around the US, and price comparisons with and without ACE Fibers. Read More

Video: Example of ACE Fiber Dosing and Application for Kitsap County, Washington

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Recently Kitsap County, Washington chose ACE Fibers for a 12000 TE asphalt pavement project.

“Continuous dosing results in a very thorough blending of the product,” said Joe Dennis, Managing Partner, BreakThrough Technologies. “Because of this, there are no visible fibers in the mix, no change in laydown operations, no bulging edges, and no fibers or asphalt stick to the drum.”

View the dosing operations and application for Kitsap County here:

About ACE Fibers:

ACE Fibers, a Surface Tech asphalt additive, uses aramid fibers to address the two major distresses affecting asphalt performance today; cracking and rutting. Doing so also dramatically improved the treated roads’ life expectancy.

When ACE Fiber is mixed into asphalt, it disperses over 19 million Aramid fibers throughout each ton of mix to provide 3-dimensional reinforcement that increases the asphalt’s resistance to reflective cracking, rutting, fatigue and increased life expectancy.

And best of all, no specialty contractors are needed for installation. Contractors handle ACE Fiber reinforced asphalt the same way they handle standard asphalt. This underscores ACE’s technology in being easy to adopt.

For more information visit //surface-tech.com/asphalt-ace-fiber/.

The Right Mix Every Time: Effective Quality Assurance at the Producer Level

By | Asphalt | No Comments

Apshalt MixMany asphalt producers understand the benefit that additives such as ACE and AQU Fibers can provide to both their product and bottom line, but are intimidated by the prospect of accurately dosing a small amount of additive into tons of product.

Surface Tech heard this common concern among asphalt producers and developed an effective approach to quality assurance.  This QA program is championed at the plant level, does not require new equipment or changes in the mix design or any plant processes, and can provide project certification (PE stamp) for each mix.

“Asphalt producers have been searching for a dosing QA program that is easily adopted at the producer level and is managed by engineers and other technical experts,” said Steve Santa Cruz, President, Surface Tech. “Through our QA program, producers can reap the proven benefits of additives without assuming unnecessary risk with regards to proper dosing.”

Surface Tech offers options for its QA program.  One option offers onsite assistance at the plant during the mix from technical and engineering staff who will coordinate directly with the plant manager to ensure a quality mix.  Another option is a one-day training to certify the producer’s staff on how to dose themselves with remote assistance.

Aspahlt Mix“When you are looking at mixing 4.2 ounces of fibers into a ton of product, it’s vital that an expert is on hand to ensure success,” said Joe Dennis, Managing Partner, BreakThrough Technologies. “With Surface Tech’s QA program, you can be assured that the technical aspects of dosing will be executed accurately and backed by engineers.”

Surface Tech is able to certify asphalt mixes for ACE and AQU Fibers across all 50 states and throughout all Canadian provinces.  For more information Surface Tech’s QA program, please visit //surface-tech.com/portfolio/ace-fiber-mixing-process/.

 

 

 

 

 

ACE XP Polymer Fiber adds strength to asphalt pavement in all directions. PROVEN IN THE FIELD. DOWNLOAD THE TEST RESULTS.