Asphalt is everywhere. However, most people don’t notice it until they drive over a pothole or stumble while walking on uneven driveway asphalt.
You want your asphalt resources to be so good they’re almost invisible. The asphalt industry is continuously innovating to bring you better asphalt solutions. New materials, improved paving technologies, and more sustainable techniques are some of the ways the asphalt industry is responding to today’s demands.
Learn more about new developments in asphalt production and paving and the benefits of these asphalt solutions.
Innovations in Asphalt Coatings and Additives
Developments in materials continue to improve the quality and usefulness of asphalt solutions. Asphalt maintenance is easier. Solar-reflective coating and nanotechnology are two ways the asphalt industry continues to innovate.
Asphalt Sealers and Coatings
Asphalt sealers protect the pavement against damage from UV rays, rain, and snow. Traditional coal tar sealers are increasingly recognized as a health and environmental hazard.
Newer asphalt emulsion sealers incorporate styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) and rubber crumb. Rubber crumb comes from recycled tires. Researchers continue to investigate what proportion of these added materials gives the best performance.
Solar-reflective coating reflects sunlight away from the pavement instead of absorbing it. The coating keeps the pavement cooler and reduces the heat-island effect. It protects the pavement from UV rays and damage from high temperatures.
Nanotechnology uses particles at the scale of individual atoms and molecules. Nanomaterials improve the strength, flexibility, and crack resistance of asphalt. They are added to the asphalt binder and improve its performance.
Asphalt nano additives include:
- Nano clay
- Nano silica
- Nano titanium dioxide
Nanomaterials are a current area of research for asphalt repair as well as for the initial application.
Self-healing asphalt repairs small cracks in the pavement without the need for outside intervention. Self healing can happen through mechanisms like additives, infrared heating, induction heating, and microwave heating.
This type of pavement has a longer lifespan. Maintenance costs are lower. The road is safer.
Advances in Asphalt Laying Technology
Digitization, automation, and smart technologies are improving the production and usage of asphalt. They boost efficiency and lower costs without sacrificing quality.
Mobile applications, cloud-based software, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices improve project quality and efficiency. Crews can report progress or problems directly from the work site. Paving contractors can communicate more easily with their crews and their customers.
IoT devices like smart sensors monitor equipment performance. They alert paving contractors to potential issues before they cause a breakdown. This avoids project delays and expensive repairs.
Machine control systems use GPS, lasers, or other technology to guide the equipment. Pavers with steering control and automatic screed width control place the pavement based on a 3D design.
Automation reduces human error and improves accuracy. It helps ensure the project meets specifications and tolerances. It makes completing complex designs easier.
Smart Paver Technology
Intelligent technology integrates technologies like sensors, data analytics, and automation into paving equipment. For example, intelligent compaction (IC) rollers use:
- Integrated measurement system
- Onboard computer reporting system
- GPS-based mapping
- Feedback control
They maintain a color-coded record of plots. The project supervisor can see the location of the roller and how many passes it made. They can also see a measurement of the material stiffness.
These features help IC rollers create a uniform density in the pavement materials. A consistent density is critical for the stability and strength of the asphalt.
Paver-mounted thermal profiling (PMTP) is often used in combination with IC. Sensors are mounted on top of the paver to measure asphalt surface temperature profiles. This real-time data helps avoid temperature segregation, which lowers the quality and performance of the asphalt.
Sustainability in Asphalt Solutions
Sustainability is more and more important to consumers. In the retail sector, sustainable products accounted for 56% of all growth. The asphalt industry has a range of solutions to meet the concerns of these consumers.
Permeable or porous asphalt improves sustainability by reducing runoff. It’s an excellent asphalt solution in areas where drainage is an issue. It reduces the risk of flooding.
Permeable asphalt also improves road safety. It improves skid resistance and reduces road spray.
Porous asphalt has several layers. The top layer is asphalt with fines filtered out to create voids. Water flows quickly through this layer into a top filter course of crushed stone aggregate.
The water then flows into a reservoir course. Filter fabric is the final layer before the soil or subgrade material. The system helps prevent pollutants from getting into the groundwater.
Recycled Asphalt Pavements
Using recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) conserves natural resources. It reduces waste going into landfills. It also lowers project costs.
The latest technology allows for using as much as 100% RAP in construction projects. The actual percentage used may not be that high, however. The amount of recycled material available can vary.
More Sustainable Production
Improved technology is making asphalt production more sustainable. Actively cooling the drum and making the drying process more efficient reduce CO2 emissions. Baghouse filters can significantly reduce dust and VOC emissions without restricting plant operations.
Warm mix asphalt and low temperature asphalt have a lower production and application temperature than conventional asphalt. They use less energy and creates fewer emissions. They can be used in colder weather than conventional asphalt, extending the paving season.
Find the Right Asphalt Solutions
Innovative asphalt solutions give you more options than ever for your pavement. Developments in materials make surfaces more durable and long-lasting. Developments in paver technology improve efficiency and accuracy for your project.
You can trust ACI Asphalt & Concrete for your commercial paving needs. We have more than 30 seasons of expertise in Minnesota and Wisconsin. We understand the unique requirements of your project.
ACI Asphalt & Concrete can handle everything from a small patching job to a complete installation. We stay current with the latest technology. This lets us give you the best paving services at the most competitive prices.
Request a quote from ACI Asphalt & Concrete today to learn how our paving experts can meet your asphalt needs.