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Asphalt Archives - Surface Tech

Looking for Improved Asphalt Solutions? Go to BATT

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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/

Balanced Mix Design — a move forward for asphalt performance testing

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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

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/

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.

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

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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!

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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.

Turn to ACE XP for Extreme Performance Asphalt

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ACE XP Polymer Fiber for asphalt

Contractors have come to depend on ACE XP Polymer Fiber from Surface Tech to make asphalt more durable and long-lasting. How does this high-tech additive deliver on its promise to produce extreme performance asphalt? The key lies in its chemical makeup — it’s composed of aramid polymers.

Aramid polymers contain a set of chemical properties that give them outstanding strength, flexibility and abrasion tolerance. They’re particularly useful in applications where flexing tolerance is important, like armor, airplane wings, ropes, cables, undersea pipelines, and of course asphalt applications.

To create ACE XP, high-strength aramid fibers are bundled and coated with wax to produce an asphalt additive that is simple and dependable to mix with any WMA or HMA in both drum and batch operations.  In fact, this binder use insures proper aramid delivery into the WMA/HMA; and coupled with our precise dosing equipment, delivers consistently intended amounts into every ton of asphalt.

One of the most outstanding performance benefits of ACE XP lies in its micro roots. These tendrils tenaciously anchor themselves into the bitumen of the asphalt, providing 400,000 psi tensile strength. The result is a three-dimensional reinforcement throughout the asphalt and a flexibility that resists rutting during hot summers and cracking through cold winters.

Contractors will also appreciate the fact that ACE XP is a “dry” polymer fiber. Comparatively, it’s less expensive, more reliable, and easier to adopt. The MD3+ dosing system from Surface Tech delivers an easy, foolproof way to add ACE XP to any asphalt mixture.

Yet the ultimate beauty to ACE XP is its scalability and batch-to-batch reliability. Combined with the life-span improvements it provides, it’s a winning way to armor your asphalt for the long haul. That kind of reliability allows contractors to sell and place with confidence, knowing the asphalt they provide will deliver extreme performance based on an excellent polymer.

Surface Tech Representatives to Attend World of Asphalt in Houston

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World of AsphaltRepresentatives from Surface Tech will join thousands of industry professionals at the World of Asphalt convention in Houston from March 6-8.  The World of Asphalt is the leading trade show for the aggregate, asphalt, pavement maintenance, and traffic safety industry sectors.

“We are looking forward to reconnecting personally with many industry colleagues at World of Asphalt and sharing exciting developments from Surface Tech,” said Joe Dennis, VP/CTO of Surface Tech’s Asphalt Division.  “Our ACE Fiber technology continues to deliver impressive results alongside our innovative Quality Control (QC) program’s automated dosing equipment line.”

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.

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

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

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