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Theory and practice



Theory and practice

Copyright Atlas Copco Road Construction Equipment, Sweden 2014

Production Happiend Reklambyr, Sweden
Photo Atlas Copco, iStockphoto, Dreamstime, Fotolia
We reserve the right to change specifications without notice. Photos and illustrations do
not always show standard versions of machines. The information is a general description
only, all information is supplied without liability.


This handbook presents a general overview of soil and asphalt materials, and
suitable methods and equipment for their compaction. It also deals with asphalt paving
as well as cold milling techniques and equipment. The principle purpose of the book is
to assist that important group of authority employees, contractors and consultants who
are concerned with compaction, paving and milling. It should also be useful to students
and others looking for an introduction to these subjects.

Dynapac has been at the forefront

of vibratory compaction and
paving technology for many years.
Its growth as an international
organization has been based on the
solid foundation of its research and
technical expertise. This experience, now gathered under the banner
of its Technology and Application
Center (TAC), has provided the
company with the knowledge and
tools to design and manufacture
compaction equipment, paving
machines and milling machines
that not only ensure that a job
is done satisfactorily, but also,

significantly, that the equipment

remains on the job.
Through the TAC, Atlas Copco
has developed CompBase, a unique
tool to predict the most suitable
choice of equipment for a given
job with given specifications. In
effect, it is a bank of compaction
and equipment-related data, based
on full-scale tests carried out under
controlled conditions on Dynapac
compaction equipment working on
various soil types. The test material
comprises hundreds of thousands
of measurements. For given
conditions, CompBase suggests


the optimum type of equipment

and the suitable number of
machines required. In practice,
the CompBase predictions have
proved to be very useful with
a high degree of accuracy.
The TAC has developed an
equivalent program for asphalt
paving applications, PaveComp,
which helps asphalt contractors and
others involved in the surfacing
business to select not only the right
machines for a given lay-down rate
and given type of asphalt bitumen
mix but also the best combination
of paver and roller train to achieve

the specified density cost efficiently

and using the best asphalt surfacing
Dynapac offers the market a
complete range of vibratory rollers
from the largest asphalt tandem
rollers in the world to smaller
repair work rollers. Vibratory single
drum rollers are available for all
soil applications. The roller range
also comprises static smooth drum
rollers and pneumatic tyred rollers.
Atlas Copco compaction equipment is supplemented by a range of
tracked and wheeled asphalt pavers,
material feeders and planers. The

pavers are available with a full

range of screeds designed to handle
all paving applications.
Atlas Copco has compaction,
paving and milling equipment
manufacturing facilities in Sweden,
Germany, Brazil, China and India.
The Atlas Copco products are sold
through Customer Centers and
distributors in all major areas of
the world.
The Atlas Copco world-wide
network runs a global parts and
service back-up to maintain product
integrity over a long productive



Applications for compaction and paving techniques

Soil compaction
Type of soil


Compaction methods


Compaction equipment


Compaction properties of different soils


Special applications


Specifications and filed control methods


Field control methods


Asphalt paving, compaction and milling

Asphalt paving and compaction


Quality and functional requirements for asphalt pavements


Type of surfacing


Mixed asphalt components


Mix design proportioning


Properties of asphalt mixes


Manufacturing process and transportation


Asphalt pavers


Paving operations


Asphalt compaction


Rolling procedures


Choice of asphalt compactors


Specifications and field control


Cold milling applications


What to look for in ...

... a vibratory roller


... a static smooth drum roller


... a pneumatic tyred roller (PTR)


... cold milling equipment


... asphalt paving equipment




Compaction is defined as the process of increasing the density and load-bearing
properties of a material through the application of either static or dynamic external
forces. It is required in many areas of the construction industry. The following pages
describe in brief the most common applications roads, streets, motorways, airfields,
earth dams, railway embankments and foundations for buildings. Other applications
include parking areas, storage yards, sports areas, industrial and residential areas,
harbour constructions, reservoirs and canal linings.

In the construction field, the load

bearing properties and stability of
rock fill, soil, asphalt and concrete,
their impermeability and their
ability to withstand loads are all
correlated to the adequacy of the
compaction of the material. To
illustrate the importance of compaction, a one-percent increase
in density normally corresponds
to at least a 1015% increase in
bearing capacity.
Although compaction may only
account for some 14% of the total
construction costs, its role in the
quality and life span of a finished
project is immeasurable. If compaction is inadequate or incorrectly
performed, settlement and other

failures are likely to occur with

resultant high rehabilitation and/or
maintenance costs.
In a number of the above applications, principally roads, airfields
and parking and storage areas,
the life span of the construction is
also dependent on the quality of
the surfacing. For asphalt concrete
the degree of compaction is decisive to strength, wearing resistance,
impermeability and durability.
In addition, correct surface evenness, uniform layer thickness
and the correct grades and crossslopes are all necessary for a long,
low-maintenance service life.
As a consequence, the perfor
mance of the paving equipment


is in many aspects crucial to the

quality of the finished surfacing.

Soil and asphalt


The design of a soil structure has

to take into account a number of
factors such as loading, environmental conditions, material available
as well as climate. The loads may
vary depending on the type of
structure, but the main aim is to
distribute them down through the
structure. The most common types
of load are traffic, buildings and
water pressure.
In a road, for example, the load
is distributed through the different
layers. The greatest load distri-


bution is to be found in the upper

layer and this diminishes the deeper
you get into the road. The various
layers have to bear the weight of
the layer above as well as the traffic
Any structure has an effect on
and is affected by its environment,
and this must be taken into consi
deration during the construction
phase. Today, contractors try to
recycle material which is on-site
to reduce the pressure on quarries as well as the need to exploit
virgin sites. As far as possible, they
will choose local material as fill
material and to produce the asphalt.
Bringing in material from outside
not only has repercussions on costs
but also on the environment. Sometimes it is unavoidable to transport
material when, for example, the
asphalt mix needs to have special
The effect of the climate must
also be taken into consideration
during the actual construction
period and the service life of the
structure. In cold climates, conside
ration must be given to frost and
the risk of low temperature cracking in asphalt. In hot climates, due

consideration should be given to

the stability of the asphalt layers to
minimize the risk of deformation.
In all these conditions, compaction has a major significance on the
function of the structure, its service
life and the maintenance costs.
There are many types of road from
small secondary country roads to
large multi-lane motorways. The
main criterion placed on a road is
that it should be able to transport
people and goods in a safe, rapid,
economic and comfortable manner.
In order to fulfil this, certain
demands are placed on where the
roads are built, their surface evenness and surface friction.
A road is built on an embankment or in a cut and is made up of
a number of layers embankment,
base course, binder course and
wearing course. (See diagram.)
Sometimes there is a need for
cement-reinforced base course to
enhance the load bearing capacity
of the road.



Material description, see p. 11.



In many parts of the world, rail
ways are still the major form of
transport for goods and passengers.
The transport of heavy materials
such as ore, coal and other minerals
places great stress on the railway
Railways are built according to
the same principles as a road except
for the bound upper layers. The
ballast bed on top serves to keep
the sleepers in place. Bitumen
bound top layer ar also used to
keep the sleepers in place. For
the construction of high speed
railways, considerably stricter
requirements are being imposed
on embankments and ballast beds.
Runways, taxiing areas and aprons
are all exposed to heavy loads in
airport complexes. They are built
up in the same way as roads but the
specifications are more stringent.
In addition to this, under no circum
stances may the surface break up so
that loose stones can end up in the
airplane engines.



Foundations for
buildings and or/bridges
Foundations are essentially built in
the same way as roads up to the base
course. Layer thickness can differ
depending on the nature of the load
the structure is expected to carry.

Foundations for
buildings, bridges etc.




Earth dams

Canals have to be designed and
built to withstand enormous water
pressure. In addition, they have to
be water tight so that they dont
leak and they have to be able offer
protection from the risk of erosion
caused by the flowing water.
The bottom of the canal is levelled off and compacted. A filter layer
comprising sand and gravel is then
put in place and, on top of that,
a sealing layer of fine soil, cement
or asphalt. There is always a certain
amount of leakage through the seal
ant and the filter ensures that the
sealant does not get washed away.
If fine soil is used as the sealing
layer, it must be covered by an
erosion resistant layer. It is highly
important that the various layers
are correctly compacted to avoid
cracks in the sealing layer.
Earth dams
There are certain similarities
between the functional properties
of canals and earth dams but they
are built in different ways.
An earth dam has a core of
impermeable material, for example,
fine soil or asphalt. On either side of
the core there is a filter and, outside

that, a shoulder. The impermeable

core and filter fulfil the same function as the sealing layer and filter
in a canal, while the shoulder keeps
the various layers in place. The dam
wall surface is exposed to enormous
water pressure some dams are
more than 100 m high. The shoulder also offers protection against
erosion. An alternative construction
allows for a layer of concrete or
asphalt upstream instead of using
an impermeable core.
The core comprises an imperm
eable soil (silt and clay) or asphalt.
It is important to use soil with

similar properties and that no lamination (layering) takes place during

The filter consists of sand
and gravel and serves to keep the
core material in place as the water
forces its way through the core. It
is unavoidable that water will seep
through the core but it is important
to keep the rate low.
The shoulder can consist of
practically any type of fill material
but rock fill is the most common.
It is important that the surfaces
up and downstream are protected
against erosion.
Asphalt wearing course
Asphalt binder course
Asphalt base course
Base course
Shoulder/Erosion protection
Natural ground




Soils may be divided into a number of different
categories depending on their composition,
geological history and physical properties.

Grain-size distribution
Grain-size distribution is of great
importance for the mechanical
properties for a soil and for the
selection of compaction equipment.
The grain-size distribution is
determined by a sieve test and
a sedimentation test if necessary.
Ocular analysis can also be used
to categorize coarse-grained soil.
Sieve test
The dried soil sample is passed
through a number of standard
sieves which differ in mesh size.
The amount of material remaining
on each sieve is calculated as a
percentage of the total weight of
the sample. The figures are plotted
on a graph in a cumulative curve
showing the grain-size distribution
of the material.


Sedimentation test
A sedimentation test should
be performed if the amount of
fines exceeds a certain level, for
example, 15%. In a sedimentation
test the soil sample (approximately
4060 grams) is mixed with water
and chemicals. After careful mixing, the density of the solution is
measured using a hydrometer after
1, 2, 4, etc. minutes. Afterwards
the grain-size distribution can be
calculated and plotted.
Soil is categorized into different
fractions according to grain size
as follows (from the smallest to
the largest): clay, silt, sand, gravel,
cobbles and boulders. The different
fractions rarely occur individually in nature. They usually occur
in combinations of two or more
different fractions, for example
sandy gravel, silty sand, silty clay,
sandy-silty clay, etc.


Sieve test


Gradation of Sand and Gravel

Gradation is an important factor for
load bearing properties and for the
compaction and is determined from
the grain-size distribution curve.

Cu =


Cu=d60/d10 where d60 and d10 are

the particle diameters corresponding to values of 60 and 10 percent

on the grain-size distribution curve.

If Cu is less than 6 the soil is
considered uniformly graded and
if Cu is greater than 15 the soil is
considered well-graded. In between
these two, the soil is medium-graded.
The limits differ from one classification system to another.
In well-graded material, repre
sented by a curve covering a full
range of grain-sizes, the voids left
by the large particles are filled by

the smaller ones. This results in

a dense structure and good load
bearing properties.
A curve showing grains of more
or less the same size indicates a
uniformly graded material. In this
case, there are no smaller particles
to fill the voids. Consequently, it
is harder to achieve high density
and load bearing properties in
uniformly graded material than
in well-graded material.

Well-graded material

Uniformly graded material




Consistency is important in a fine-grained soil.
The consistency of any fine-grained (plastic)
soil may be soft, firm, or hard depending on the
amount of water. As the soil changes consistency,
so do its mechanical properties.
There are certain limits of soil consistency
which are the basis for differentiation among
highly plastic, slightly plastic and non-plastic
material. These limits are designated Liquid Limit
(LL), Plastic Limit (PL) and Shrinkage Limit (SL).
Plasticity Index (PI) is defined as the difference
between liquid and plastic limit.
The liquid limit is defined as the water content
at which the soil just begins to flow when lightly
jarred 25 times in a standard cup.
The plastic limit is defined as the water content
at which soil can be rolled into a strand without
breaking until it is only 3 mm in diameter.
The shrinkage limit is defined as the water content at which the soil does not shrink any longer
when being dried. The soil also changes colour and
becomes lighter as the water content decreases.
A soil with a low plasticity index is very sensi
tive to changes in the water content. If the water
content increases, the load bearing properties of
the soil decreases.







Origin of soils

The composition of a soil and the way that it was formed

affect its suitability for use as a construction material. Soils
can be split into two main categories: mineral and organic.
Soil structures use only mineral soils. Organic soils such as
earth and peat are not suitable or even allowed as they are
constantly decomposing and their load bearing properties
is low and unpredictable.
Mineral soils are formed through weathering and natural
mechanical effect. They can also be formed artificially by
blasting and crushing. Their durability depends on the mineral composition and the way in which the rock was formed.
There are three types of formation: igneous, sedimentary
and metamorphic.
Igneous rock
Igneous rock types are formed from the cooling process
of magma, a natural solution of high-temperature, rockforming constituents under high pressure. Magma contains
a large amount of water vapor and other gases and is always
underground. Liquid rock that reaches the surface and loses
its water and gases becomes lava. In general magma that
is formed about 10 km below the earths surface contains
large amounts of silica and is rich in sodium, potassium
and aluminium and tends to form granitic rocks. Magma
originating between 10 and 40 km below the surface tends
to form gabbroid rocks while, deeper down, it tends to form
peridotitic rocks.




Sedimentary rock
In time, rock, when exposed to the
atmosphere, will be broken up or
dissolved by weathering and erosion. The material is re-deposited
by wind, water and glaciers and
builds into sedimentary rocks.
The fragmented material, moving
as loose particles, settles out by
weight, smaller particles travel
longer distances. The most distinctive characteristic of sedimentary
rock is its layering or stratification. The most abundant types
of sedimentary rock are shale,
sandstone and limestone. The
material ranges from very soft
to being as hard as some of the
igneous rock types.

or sedimentary rock caused by heat

and pressure. The transition from
one stage to another is gradual. As
a result of this, all intermediate stages are represented. Eventually the
metamorphism may be thorough
enough to destroy all evidence
of the original state. Metamorphic
rock is usually harder than the original rock type. Gneiss is a typical

Metamorphic rock
Metamorphic rock is formed by
the changes in texture of igneous

Grain shape
The shape of the grain has a certain influence on the compactability and load bearing capacity of the
soil in question. The grain shape
is related to the way in which the
rock was formed and how it has
been affected over the years. Grain
shape can be divided into six categories ranging from well rounded
to very angular.

Classification of soil types

Mineral soil types are generally
classified by grain-size fractions.
The determination of the range
of grain-sizes in the material is the
basis for the classification of the
soil. Grain-size classification systems vary from country to country.
The classification of cohesive soils
also involves determining their
One of the most common
grain-size classification systems
is the Unified Soil Classification

System (USCS) established in

USA, which categorizes soils in 15
groups identified by name and letter
symbols. The AASHTO Classification System (American Association
of Highway and Transportation
Officials) intended for road con
struction was also developed in the
USA. The grain-size classification
systems used in different European
countries are the same except when
it comes to the classification of
larger particles.
Soils can also be generally

Well-rounded grains are found

in soils that have been formed by
the affect of wind and weather.
The particles grind against each
other under the influence of water
and wind. This type of soil is most
commonly found in river deposits,
lake sediment, dunes, loess and
glacifluvial deposits.
Angular grains are formed by
mechanical influence on the rock
by glaciers. Moraine is typical
example of soils with this grain
type, although the whole range
of grain shapes can be present.
Very angular grains are artifici
ally manufactured by the blasting
and special crushing processes.

classified in larger groups, for

example, as coarse-grained or finegrained, granular or non-granular
and cohesive or non-cohesive soils.
There are no general rules that
govern the permitted maximum
content of fines in coarse-grained
and granular types of soils. Values
vary between 1550% depending
on the classification system. A coarse grained soil is generally regarded
as free-draining if it contains a
maximum of 510% fines (silt and




Resistance to compaction
There are four types of resistance
to compaction in soil and rockfill:
friction, cohesion, apparent cohesion and particle mass.
Friction is caused by the interaction
between the particles and is the main
resistance in a coarse-grained soil.
Internal friction in a soil is a result of the forces acting
at the contact points between the individual particles.

Cohesion is caused by molecular

forces between the smallest particles and constitutes the main source
of resistance in a fine-grained soil.
Apparent cohesion is caused
by the capillary forces of the water
in the soil and occurs more or less
in all soils. If water is added, the
water will finally also act as a lubricant between the soil particles.
Particle Mass. Heavy particles
require compaction of heavy equipment in order to be able to relocate
to a denser state.

Cohesion appears in clay as a result of the molecular

forces acting between the miniscule particles. The stronger the
cohesion, the greater the compaction effort required.

Apparent cohesion is caused by the capillary forces created in

the water that partially fills the void in the soil. The apparent
cohesion holds the particles together with elastic ties. The
smaller the particles the greater the apparent cohesion.

Most soils attain their highest dry

density at a certain optimum water
content for a given compaction
effort. In simple terms, a soil with
water content below the optimum
requires more compaction effort to
reach the same density as soil at optimum water content, whereas a wet
soil is soft and easier to compact.
The highest dry density is obtained
at the optimum water content,
between the wet and dry states. The
most common method for determining this state is the Proctor test.
Clean sand and gravel, as well
as other free-draining coarse materials, are less sensitive to variations
in water content, and can attain
maximum density in a completely
dry or in a water-saturated state as
long as the internal resistance to
compaction is overcome during
the compaction process.

In some literature water content is expressed as

moisture content. This book has chosen to use water




Laboratory compaction tests

The optimum water content can
be determined in a laboratory
compaction test. There are two
basic types of laboratory compaction test. One employs a standard
weight falling onto a soil sample in
a mold; the other is a standardized
vibro-compaction test.
The most common method is
the Proctor test which relies on a
falling weight. The Proctor test is
recognized as the most common
laboratory method for determining
the relationship between density
and water content. The test establi
shes the optimum water content for
a soil as well as the reference density. The density is expressed as dry
density, which is the ratio between
the weight of the dried soil particles
and the volume of the sample.
Proctor test
A sample of the soil to be tested is
placed in a cylindrical mould and
compacted with a falling weight.
Maximum particle size is limited
to one-tenth of the diameter of the
mould. If there is a low percentage
of large particles, the maximum
particle size is limited to one-fifth
of the diameter of the mould.
The size of the mould is 4 (102
mm), and 6 (153 mm) for larger
The Proctor test can be carried
out in one of the variants known
as Standard and Modified Proctor.
The compaction effort is 4,5 times
greater for Modified Proctor than

The Standard Proctor test uses a

5,5 lb (approx. 2,5 kg) rammer with
a fall height of 12 (305 mm). The soil
sample is compacted in three separate

The Modified Proctor uses a 10 lb

(approx. 4,5 kg) rammer with a fall
height of 18 (457 mm). The soil sample
is compacted in five separate layers.




Compaction equipment for soil materials is based on three main principles:
static load, vibration and impact. Different factors influence the selection
of compaction method and the compaction result:
type of soil
water content
layer thickness
stiffness of underlying layer

Static compaction
Static compactors were the first
real mechanical compaction
machines. Static compaction
equipment uses the dead weight
of the machine to apply pressure
to a particular surface and compress the underlying particles.
The only way to vary the pressure
exerted on the surface is to alter
the weight or the contact area of
the equipment. Static equipment
will normally achieve adequate
compaction on thin layers. Time,
a function of the speed of the static compactor and the number of
passes, also affects the final result.
Conventional types of static compactors include static three-wheel
rollers, static tandem rollers and
pneumatic tyred rollers (PTR).
Vibratory compaction
Vibratory compactors deliver
a rapid succession of impacts
against the underlying surface from




Static compaction

Vibratory compaction

where the vibrations, or pressure

waves, are transmitted through the
material to set the soil particles in
motion. This reduces or practically
eliminates the internal friction, and
facilitates the rearrangement of
the particles into positions which
increase the density. The simul
taneous increase in the number of
contact points between the particles
leads to increased load-bearing
Vibration is most effective
friction soils. Even though it has
less effect on cohesive soils, it
still improves the efficiency when
these types of soil are compacted.
Vibratory compaction achieves
higher densities and better depth
effect than static compaction on
all materials, and final density can
be attained with fewer passes. All
of which explains why vibratory
equipment is more efficient and
economical than heavy static equipment in almost all situations.

Vibratory compaction causes loosening of the uppermost surface of

a layer. The depth of the surface
loosening depends on the soil type,
its gradation and the water content.
On a coarse-grained, uniformly
graded soil compacted on high
amplitude; there will be a more
pronounced loosening effect. The
loose soil on the surface is compacted as the next layer is placed on
top of it and compacted.
Impact compaction
Impact compaction relies on a high
impact force. It generates a greater
force on the surface than a static
compactor. The force of the impact
produces a pressure wave in the
soil which generates high pressure
at depth as well. Tampers and
tamping rollers work on the impact
In certain cases, rollers with triangular, rectangular or pentagonal
drums may be used with relative

Impact compaction

good depth effect. As this type of

compactor will leave a non-compacted area between each impact,
many passes are required to ensure
uniform compaction.
Impact rollers must be operated
at significantly higher speeds than
static or vibratory compactors to
realize their full effect. They are
most economic on large areas.
The importance of the stiffness of
the surface underneath
The compaction effect is influenced
by the stiffness of the underlying
ground. Compaction cannot be fully
achieved if the underlying surface
yields. It is often impossible to achi
eve a high degree of compaction
in a fill resting on an underlying
layer with low bearing capacity,
for example, a fine-grained soil
with high water content.




Choice of compaction equipment must take into consideration the type of soil,
the layer thickness, compaction specifications and the size of the job.
The most important consideration is the ability of the machine to fulfil
the compaction specifications in a cost-effective manner. You do not
select the largest roller for a small job such as a driveway. Conversely
you wouldnt choose a small single drum roller for a dam job,
other than as a complement to other equipment.
There are a number of machine types in current use
for soil compaction. The most common ones, and their
generally accepted designations, are presented below.

Vibratory tandem rollers p

Normally with vibration and drive on both drums. Mainly designed for asphalt compaction but sometimes also used for compaction of base course, sand and gravel.
Weight range: 118 tons.
The most important compaction parameters are the static linear load, amplitude,
frequency and the speed. A higher static linear load gives a better compaction effect
and the amplitude controls the compaction depth. The frequency should match the
amplitude chosen for the current layer thickness. The speed should not exceed 6 km/h
otherwise there will be a noticeable decrease in the compaction effect.
Most suitable on thin to medium layer thicknesses on coarse-grained soils.




Self-propelled single-drum vibratory rollers p

With one vibrating drum and pneumatic drive wheels. Used on rock fill and
soil. Special pad-foot versions are very effective on clay. Weight range: 427 tons.
The most important compaction parameters are static linear load, amplitude, frequency and speed. A high static linear load gives a better compaction effect. The amplitude
helps determine the compaction depth. The frequency should correspond to the amplitude and the material to be compacted. The speed should not exceed
6 km/h otherwise there will be a noticeable decrease in the compaction effect.
Suitable on all kind of soils in relatively thick layers. On rock fill, only the heaviest
rollers are suitable.

Pneumatic tyred rollers p

Normally with 711 pneumatic tyres. Front and rear
tyres overlap. The compaction effort can be varied by
ballasting with water, sand or special cast-iron weights.
Weight range: 1035 tons.
The most important compaction parameters are
the wheel load and speed. A higher wheel load gives a
better compaction effect. The speed should not exceed
6 km/h otherwise there will be a noticeable decrease in
the compaction effect. Most suitable on thin layers.

Static three-wheel rollers p

Two driving steel drums and a steering drum with rigid frame, or
three-wheel drive and an articulated frame. The compaction effort can
be varied by ballasting. Weight range: 815 tons.
The most important compaction parameter is the static linear load
and the speed. A higher static linear load gives a better compaction
effect. The speed should not exceed 6 km/h otherwise there will be a
noticeable decrease in the compaction effect.
Most suitable on thin layers of coarse-grained soils such and sand
or gravel.

Static tamping rollers

Four pad-foot drums. Articulated steering. Run at faster speeds than
vibratory rollers. Used for impact compaction. Effective on cohesive soils.
Weight range: 1535 tons.
The most important compaction parameters are the wheel load, width
of wheel, shape of pads and the speed. A higher wheel load
gives a better compaction effect. The speed should exceed
10 km/h otherwise there will be a noticeable decrease in the
compaction effect.
Most suitable on thin layers and large surfaces.




The choice of compaction equipment must
take into account a number of factors.
These factors include:
type of work and size of work-site
type of soil and water content
layer thickness
stiffness of underlying layer
compaction specifications
capacity requirements
climatic conditions
The following section looks at different
types of soils and their compaction



Rock fill (Boulders and Cobbles)

Rock fill includes boulders and cobbles which vary

in size from a chickens egg up to around 1,5 meters
(5 ft). Rock fill, blasted rock, crushed rock or natural
material. Boulders and cobbles are the dominant fraction although small fractions may also occur.
The maximum stone size and gradation of rock
fill is determined by the type and quality of the rock
and the rock blasting procedure. Primary rock such as
basalt, gneiss and granite, have a high strength, and
blasted rock fill with a size of up to 1.01,5 m has a
small amount of fines. When rock fill consist of lime
or sand stone, the maximum stone size is smaller and
the amount of fines can be such that considerable settlement will occur if the fill is not properly compacted.
The maximum particle size permitted is normally
two-thirds of the layer thickness but, from a compaction point of view, it is advantageous if the maximum
boulder size does not exceed one-third of the layer
thickness. This reduces the risk of rock crushing
during compaction.








Vibratory equipment has proven

to be the most suitable and costeffective method for compaction.
Static and impact compaction are
not really well suited to rock fill.
Impact compaction can be used
if a heavy falling weight is used.
However, heavy falling weights
increase the risk of crushing.
Medium-heavy and heavy vibratory compaction equipment is required for rock fill in order to relocate
the large boulders and achieve the
necessary density and stability.
The risk of crushing the rocks
must be observed and may influence the choice of roller size, ampli
tude and the number of passes.
Rock fill compaction exerts
extreme loads on the compaction
equipment which is why it is important to select machines that are
specially designed for this purpose.

Gravel and Sand

Gravel and sand range in size from

a chickens egg down to 0,063 mm
or in some cases 0,075 mm. They
can include fractions of other soil
types which will affect their compaction properties.
The compaction properties of
gravel and sand are influenced
by the water content; compaction
is most effective at the optimum
water content.
If the fines content is less than
510%, the soil is classified as
free-draining. In free-draining
gravel and sand, excess water is

drained out during compaction. This

means that the compaction work
can continue also when it is raining
or then the surface is flooded.
If the soil is not free-draining,
problems are likely to occur if
attempts are made to compact the
material above the optimum water
content. The soil will become
elastic and springy. It may be impossible to achieve the compaction
requirements as the soil becomes
water saturated at a lower density
than the one specified.
When sand and gravel are
uniformly graded it is difficult to
obtain high density close to the surface (top 1015 cm) owing to the
low shear strength of the material.
The material tends to get pressed
up behind the roller drum and the
surface therefore attains compara
tively low density. This has no
great significance in practice. When
compacting in layers, the loose top
surface is compacted as the next
layer is rolled.
The surface loosening should
be considered when carrying out
compaction tests.
As a rule, all types and sizes of
machines can be used for compaction of gravel and sand. The choice
will depend on compaction and
capacity requirements. Medium to
heavy vibratory rollers will achieve
compaction on thick layers whereas
smaller roller is more suitable
for limited layer thicknesses and


Silt varies in grain size from

0,063 mm down to 0,002 mm,
although these limits may vary
slightly according to soil classifi
cation system. It can include fractions of other soil types which will
affect its compaction properties.
In pure silt or silt that is mixed
with coarse-grained fractions, there
is little cohesion. With higher clay
content, cohesion will increase.
As with all fine-grained soils,
the compaction of silt is heavily
dependent on water content. For
good compaction effect the water
content should not diverge too
much from the optimum.
At optimum water content,
silt is relatively easy to compact.
At high water content and under
the influence of vibration or traffic,
silt is transformed into a more or
less fluid state.
Vibratory equipment is the
most effective for silt. Layer
thickness can be almost the same
as for gravel and sand if the clay
content is not too high. If the clay
content is higher than 5% (but
less than 15%) large machines
and thinner layers are required
to overcome the cohesion in the
material. In such cases, a pad-foot
drum may give better results than
a smooth drum. In addition, vibratory plates and smooth drum rollers may have traction problems
especially when the water content
is a little higher.




Soil volumes
Soils have different densities depending on whether they are
in situ, loose or compacted. The compacted layer thickness is always
stated in the design of new structures.
Soil volume can be defined under different conditions
in natural state (in situ)
loose state (un-compacted)

Compaction properties of soil

A summary of the compaction properties of
fine-grained and coarse-grained soils.
Coarse-grained materials
Relatively easy to compact, especially
by vibration. High bearing capacity.
Free-draining soils are not susceptible
to soaking and frost.



Fine-grained materials
Water content, and thus weather
conditions, are important to compaction results. To be compacted in
relatively thin layers.


The table below gives the relative volumes of different soil types.

Clay consists of the smallest

particles from around 0,002 mm
and downward. The particles are so
small that they cannot be discerned
by the human eye. A clay content
of 15% is sufficient for the soil to
display the properties of clay where
cohesion and apparent cohesion
are the main resistance factors.
The effect of cohesion depends
on the clay content, the grain size
and shape as well as the mineral
composition of the clay. It can vary
widely between two different clays
with the same grain distribution
curve but different grain shapes
and mineral composition.
The water content has a great
effect on the compaction resistance of the material. Compaction is
easiest at or above the optimum
water content.
Clay requires a relatively high
compaction effort (compared with
coarse-grained soils). Vibratory
pad-foot rollers are very suitable
for compaction of clay at water
contents below the optimum. They
can transmit the high pressures and
shear forces needed to compact his
material at or below the optimum
water content. Here the compressive strength is the highest. Layer
thicknesses are normally restricted
to 1540 cm depending on the
machine size.




(not blasted)




1,0 m3

1,0 m3

1,0 m3

1,0 m3

1,0 m3

1,75 m3

1,2 m3

1,2 m3

1,3 m3

1,5 m3

1,4 m3

0,9 m3

0,9 m3

0,85 m3

0,85 m3


Maximum permissible content of fines in free-draining soils: 510%


Rock fill

High speed tamping rollers are

also suitable for compaction of
clay. They are very economical on
large clay fills. In such cases the
clay is placed in 1520 cm layers.
Clay with a water content above
the optimum has less compressive
strength and can be compacted
using vibratory smooth drums or
with pneumatic tyred rollers.

Lime stabilization

Cohesive soils are not possible to

compact when the water content is
high. Stabilization of the material
using lime is one way of improving
the compactablity and the stability of
the material. Lime is spread on the
surface and mixed into the material
using a rotary soil stabilizer. The lime
binds part of the water and in time it
also creates a chemical binding that
substantially increases the strength
of the clay. Vibratory pad-foot rollers
are often the best choice for compaction of stabilized materials.

Sub-base and
base course

Sub-base and base course are selected materials and should be within
specified limits of a gradation curve.
The main fraction consists of gravel. In certain countries relatively
high amounts of fines are allowed
in the sub-base, but it then loses its
free-draining properties.


Sub-bases and base courses

normally have high compaction
specifications and require a higher
compaction effort than fill material
for the same layer thickness.
Vibratory equipment is the most
effective on sub-base and base
course. Impact compaction is not
In some cases, where the base
course is thin (less than 1015 cm)
static rollers can be used. They
are especially suitable if material
loosening is to be avoided. A base
course should always be finished
off with a couple of static passes
before surfacing work can begin.


Sub-base and base courses can

sometime consist of granular materials mixed with cement, fly-ash or
even bitumen. This is done in order
to increase the load bearing properties of the material. Stabilized
base course material is often placed
using a paver in order to achieve
the best possible evenness.

Sub-base and base course


There are a number of applications (see below) that require a special approach and methods and where general
guidelines for compaction do not apply.

Slope compaction can be
required for the construction
of dams and canals. Dams with
an impervious upstream surface of
asphalt or cement concrete are one
example where good slope compaction is especially desirable.
A self-propelled single-drum
vibratory roller is the most suitable
type of machine for slope compaction. Whether the roller needs to
be winch-aided or not depends on
the incline. When compacting, the
vibration should be switched on
for the upward journey and off for

the downward
one. If the roller
is winched a strong
mesh should be used to
protect the operator and a
safety wire should be attached to
the machine. Always use a roll over
protection system (ROPS). Prior
to using machines on slopes check
with the manufacturer that the
machines can operate continuously
on the incline in question.
Dry compaction
Normally all types of soil are compacted most efficiently at optimum
water content. However, in some
areas such as arid or semi-arid
areas, it may be impractical or too
costly to water the soil. In such
cases gravel and sand can be compacted in a dry state (water content
It is important to take into
account the saline content of the
soil since a high content may be
detrimental to the load bearing
properties of the material. Dry
compaction has been applied

with good results, on relatively

thick layers, in road and airfield
constructions in desert areas.
Soil stabilization
Stabilization increases the strength
of a structure. It can be used on
very loose soils as well as on base
courses to help withstand very
heavy load situations.
In loose soils, such as clay,
stabilization may be chemical or
mechanical. In chemical stabilization, lime, cement and/or fly ash
is mixed with the soil. Other chemicals can also be used. In mechanical stabilization a coarse-grained
soil is added. The stabilizing agent
is mixed with the soil and compaction takes place as soon as possible
and when there is no risk of the
compaction equipment sinking into
the soil.
Cement is often used to stabilize
base courses. Once the cement has
been added, the material should
be compacted within one hour as
the cement and water start to react




Roller Compacted Concrete

In contrast to cement stabilized
base courses, roller compacted
concrete (RCC) is earth-moist
concrete with a 56% water content
that is pre-mixed, transported to the
site and laid using standard hauling
and spreading equipment. It is then
compacted with vibratory rollers.
RCC is used in concrete dams
as a fill and in industrial and port
areas where heavy vehicles travel
and maneuver at low speed. Asphalt is not suitable for this kind of
In dam construction the concrete has low cement content (47%)
and is normally spread in layers of
2030 cm.
Other suitable applications include paving in tunnels and mines.
Test areas
At the start of a road construction
project, test strips are often set up
to establish suitable compaction
procedures which meet compaction
On large compaction jobs, for
example the construction of a dam,
a full scale compaction test may be
carried out employing a number of

different types of roller to establish

the best compaction practice.
One way of setting up a test is
to lay down a strip where the layer
thickness increases from virtually
zero to the thickest required. The
specified measurements can be
made on the different thicknesses
as the compaction process proceeds. In this way, the maximum
layer thickness can be determined
for the job in question.
Ground vibrations
A vibratory roller in operation
generates pressure and shear waves
as well as surface waves. These
surface waves are of primary concern for structures on or near the
surface of the soil.
An approximate and general
rule has been established stating
that ground vibrations that do not
exceed 10mm/s do not cause any
damage to building with foundations on soil. Considerably higher
safety limits, around 50 mm/s,
applies to blasting operations. It
is also worth noting that a simultaneous measurement of ground
vibrations in a building structure
and the surrounding ground shows
a significant difference in wave
velocity. A velocity of 10 mm/s
in the ground corresponds to
25 mm/s in the actual structure.

Practical research has led to the

following recommended safety
distances resulting in a wave velocity not exceeding 5 mm/s in the
building foundation.

Please note that the below information is to be seen as a general

recommendation and that Atlas
Copco does not accept any responsibility to any actual damage that
may occur even if these recommendations are followed.
As all materials behave differently it is recommended that vibration
monitoring equipment is installed
in any building where structural
damage must be avoided.

Safety distances for vibratory rollers (including a safety factor of 2)

Self-propelled vibratory roller with pneumatic drive wheels (high amplitude)
Safety distance in meters = 3 times the drum module weight (in tons)
Vibratory tandem rollers (high amplitude setting)
Safety distance in meters = 2 times the drum module weight.

Common setup for a test area

on site. Maximum acceptable
layer thickness and the suitable number of passes can be




There are three types of main specification, which sometimes can
be combined method, end result and function.

Irrespective of the type of specifi

cation, there is a call from governments, governmental agencies,
private owner-operators as well as
contractors themselves for effective
quality assurance methods.

leeway in the choice of equipment,

and lend themselves to the most
economical method of achieving
specified densities. Often, vibratory
equipment enables the contractor to
work to the best margins.

Method specifications
Method specifications stipulate
detailed rules for type of equipment
to be used, number of roller passes,
roller speed, layer thickness, type
of soil and water content of the soil.
The contractor is required to follow
these rules in the compaction work.

Functional specifications
A third type of specification is
known as the function specification where specified functions, for
example the settlement, evenness
and friction, have to be fulfilled
for a certain contractual period.
The contractor is free to use the
materials, layer thicknesses and
equipment of his choice as long as
a specified quality can be achieved.
This type of contract is often linked
to a Build-Own/Operate-Transfer,
BOT, contract where the contractor
assumes operation of the highway
or other structure for a certain time
including maintenance and other
work before transferring it back
to the local road authority.

End-result specifications
End-results are specified for the
majority of the compaction work
involved in the construction of roads, railways, dams and foundations
world-wide. The specification may
include minimum densities or minimum load bearing properties. The
trend towards end-result specifications is universal. They offer more



Material and layer thickness
Machine type and size
Machine settings and number of
The contractor must sign off on that
the stipulated method was followed.


Compaction result
Control method
The compaction method is decided
by the contractor. The end result must be
tested and reported to the project owner
for approval.


Traffic volumes
Expected life time
Minimum acceptable road quality
(for example evenness, friction,
rut depth etc)
The contractor designs and builds
the road to meet the functional
requirements, maintenance responsibility
is also included in the contract.





There are a number of methods of controlling specifications on soil in the
field. These include density tests, load bearing tests, levelling tests, and
others, all of which are spot measurements. Another method is the
roller-mounted compaction meter linked to a documentation system that
continuously controls the compaction process and the results.




Replacement method
The sand replacement and water
balloon methods are used as
replacement methods. A small hole
is dug in the soil. The contents are
weighed and the volume of the
hole is determined by filling it with
calibrated dry sand or with the
water balloon.

Tube sampling
For fine-grained soils, especially
clay, a tube is pressed down into
the material to remove a core
sample for density tests.

Nuclear gauge method

A nuclear density gauge provides
an immediate indication of the
density of the compacted layer.
It also measures the water content.
It works on the principle that radi
ation from a radioactive isotope
through a material is attenuated
in proportion to its density. Best
results are obtained in homogeneous soils.

Static plate load test

Static plate load test is performed
on the surface of the compacted
material. By measuring the defor
mation under the plate (with a
known area and load) it is possible
to calculate the modulus of elasti
city of the compacted soil.
The load bearing properties of
the underlying layers will have an
influence on the measurement. The
degree of influence depends on the
thickness of the compacted layer.

Penetration test
There are several types of pene
tration tests which represent an
attempt to quantify the behavior
of a soil. One of the most common
is the California Bearing Ratio
(CBR) test.
The CBR test is an arbitrary
test. It does not attempt to measure
directly any of the fundamental
properties of the soil sample. In
essence, it consists of driving a
standard cylindrical plunger into
the soil sample at a standard rate
of penetration and measuring the
resistance to penetration offered
by the soil. This resistance is then
compared with certain standard
results. The ratio of the result for
the soil to the standard result is
reported as the CBR.
The California Bearing Ratio
test is mostly used on fine-grained

Falling-weight test
Falling-weight test units are an effective and rapid way of measuring
the load bearing properties of the
surface of the construction layers
on site. The test can normally be
handled by one operator. The unit
measures the surface deflection
caused by a falling weight and from
that calculates a dynamic modulus
of elasticity. There are both light
and heavy falling weights.

Levelling of
surface settlement
This method is mostly used on rock
fill, cobbles and boulders. The level
of a number of reference points is
checked with a levelling instrument
before and after compaction. It does
not provide a direct measurement
of the density.

Proof rolling
This is a test where a very heavy
pneumatic-tyred roller is run over
the compacted surface and the indentation may not exceed a certain




Continuous compaction control (CCC)

Many highway and other specifying agencies ask for documented
proof that a contract has been completed as specified over the entire
surface in question and not only at a number of random sampling
spots. The demand for Quality Assurance has led to the development
of sophisticated documentation (control and monitoring) systems that
plot and record the result from a compaction meter using the roller as
a measuring device.
The instantaneous and continuous registration of the entire compacted surface provides major benefits compared with conventional
control methods which may disrupt and delay the compaction work.
Conventional testing methods for soil compaction may in some
cases result in costs which are greater than for the compaction job
The compaction meter has proven to be a very cost-effective
control method. The use of the compaction meter and documentation
system, in combination with a limited number of density/load-bearing
tests, is included in specifications in a number of countries mainly for
coarse-grained soils.
The documentation of the compaction results gives all stakeholders valuable information regarding the quality and uniformity
Even if the use of a compaction meter not is included in the specifications, it will help operators to identify weak spots which need
more roller passes, and, in general, to optimize the number of passes
to avoid over-rolling.

Compaction meter and

documentation systems
Principle and function
A roller-mounted compaction
meter consists of an accelerometer
mounted on the vibrating drum.
The accelerometer readings are
sent to processor and the readings
are presented to the operator on
the control panel of the roller. The
signals from the accelerometer are
converted to values that indicate
a measure of the stiffness of the
ground. The system records conditions at certain depths. The actual
depth depends on the size of the
roller and amplitude selected.
A computer documents and
presents the measured values on
a screen which can be placed in
view of the roller operator. The


documentation system enables the

entire area that has been rolled to
be presented on the screen. Use of
colour and other graphics make it
immediately apparent which areas
require additional compaction.
A GNSS receiver provides
accurate positioning and speed
information to the on-board system.
The documented result can then
be transferred to the office for final
analysis and storage.
The compaction meter (with or with
out the documentation system) is
most suitable on coarse-grained soil
and rock fills. A soft, un-compacted
soil gives little response while a hard,
well compacted soil will give a better
response. The stiffness increases in
proportion to the bearing capacity.


CCC can be used and specified as

one or more of the four different
methods described below.
Weak area analysis
The CCC values are used to define
one or more areas where the soil
stiffness is the lowest. These areas
are the subjected to directed testing.
If the areas pass the test this means
the rest of the area is okay.


Calibrated target value

The CCC values are calibrated to
create a correlation to the accep
tance control method, typically
static plate load tests. Using this
correlation a corresponding CCC
value is determined and used as
the target value for the area.

Pass count
Using the CCC system to count
and document the number of passes
made helps the operator achieve
even compaction results and provides documentation that the job was
done according to the specification.

The CCC values increase with
every compaction pass, a higher
increase for the first passes and a
lower increase for the later passes.
Once then increase from one pass
to the next is below a certain level
there is very little more compaction

to be achieved. This is one measure

that can be used to determine when
the compaction is finished.
It is also possible to use several
methods in combination, this is one
Target number of passes: 6
Weak area analysis: 2 areas
Progress: Maximum 5%

The operator runs six vibratory

passes with the roller. When this
is completed, change view to look
at the compaction meter value and
locate the two weakest areas. Check
if the compaction increase from the
previous pass is less than 5%. If it is
more than five percent it is still possible to increase the stiffness on these areas, compaction is not finished
here. Make more passes and review
where the weak areas are to be found
now. Check the increase percentage;
if it less than five percent from the
previous pass this means that the roller that is being used cannot achieve
more compaction.
It is then suitable to run acceptance testing on these areas. If the
test fails it is most likely a material
problem as the machine is not able
to achieve a higher stiffness.
A successful procedure used in
road and airfield constructions has
been to first register the compaction
meter values over the compacted
areas, and then perform static load
bearing tests in a limited number
of points, selected where the
lowest compaction meter values
were measured. This procedure
should give a good certainty that
a prescribed load bearing capacity

is attained over the entire area of,

for example a base course.
On fine-grained soils the bearing capacity is, to a high degree,
related to the water content. As
the compaction meter indicates the
load bearing properties, no direct
relationship exists between the
compaction meter value and the
soil density. The compaction meter
can therefore not be used to directly
guide the compaction work as on
coarse-grained soil. Information
given by the compaction meter on
the level and uniformity of the load
bearing properties may, however be
of great value.
A useful application of the
compaction meter is to detect soft
and weak spots of fine-grained
soils with high water content. Such
spots are found in fill materials as
well as in natural ground. Rollers
equipped with compaction meters
have therefore, with good results,
been used to survey the ground
surfaces on which road and railway
embankments shall be built. Even
if the use of a compaction meter is
not included in the specifications, it
will help operators to identify areas
which need more roller passes, and,
in general, to optimize the number
of passes to avoid over-rolling.




A road traffic system is multifaceted. It comprises roads,
the people who use those roads and vehicles.
How well the system functions as a whole depends on
the individual components characteristics, how
they interact, and the impact of outside factors
such as climate, light conditions, etc.

Road surfacing has a decisive impact on traffic.
The type of wearing course and the condition it is
in affect the behaviour of the vehicles using the road
and, thereby, road safety. They also affect the cost of
travelling as well as the environment.
The majority of all paved roads are surfaced with
asphalt. Concrete is also used but is, in general, less
common, although there are some countries where
concrete is the preferred material. Asphalt is used in
the wearing, binder and base courses.

Asphalt refers to a mixture of bitumen binder with mineral aggregate and filler.





The image has been manipulated to highlight the three separate layers.

The wearing course (1) provides an even,

weather-resistant and high-friction running
surface which can withstand abrasive forces.
It makes the road safe and the ride comfortable. In combination with the other layers in
the pavement, the wearing course helps to
distribute the traffic loads to avoid excessive
loading of the entire pavement.
The binder course (2) fulfils the same load
distributing function and provides an even,
level surface to carry the wearing course.

The base course (3) is the main component

which provides the strength and load
distributing properties of the pavement. On
roads with light traffic, it is usually made
from graded crushed stone. On more heavily
trafficked roads, a fully bituminous road base
or cement stabilised granular base may be
employed to achieve the required strength
and durability.

material and the thickness of each layer in

the pavement are critical to good service life.
Correct design requires knowledge of the
materials different properties and the
expected load and intensity of the traffic.
In addition, it must take into account local
climatic conditions as well as the economic

In the design of the pavement (the part of a

road above the embankment) the choice of





An asphalt surfacing is normally built to last for
a certain period of time, for example 20 years.
Its durability will depend on the quality of the
components, the mix design, and the manufacturing process from asphalt mixing to final








The quality of an asphalt surfacing can be

measured against a number of properties.
The most important include:
Resistance to plastic deformation,
which can be expressed as stability
Traffic and temperature related fatigue
Load distribution
Sensitivity to water

1. Evenness
If a road is to function satisfactorily over a given
period of time, the surface has to be even.
Unevenness reduces traffic speed and prolongs
journeys. It reduces riding quality and increases
vehicle and tyre wear. It also increases the
impact effect of vehicles on the road, which in
turn accelerates road wear and thus shortens
the service life. Transversal unevenness refers
to rutting as a result of wear on the wearing
course or deformation in one or more of the
underlying layers. A measure of this is often
the depths of the ruts. Longitudinal unevenness
refers to lengthways unevenness of the road
or road section. Different methods are used to
measure its occurrence, such as the International Roughness Index (IRI).


The choice of surfacing

and its qualities depend on
the weight and intensity of
traffic as well as the climatic
conditions that the road is
expected to be subjected to
within the given period.

If the surfacing is to function as
intended, the various ingredients
binder, aggregate and filler need
to be selected carefully with a view
to optimising the final mix. Good
quality material and good design
are not enough to guarantee a long
service life. Just as vital are the
way the material is manufactured
and the way it is laid down and
compacted. The benefits of firstclass material can quickly disappear if the quality in one of the
stages in the production chain fails
to come up to standard.

The three main components in an

asphalt mix are binder, aggregate
and filler. In many cases, the binder
will also contain additives. In practice, there are two main types of
asphalt, mixed asphalt and surface

2a. Texture

improves road safety through better skid resistance and enhances the feeling of safety.

Texture refers to the surface roughness.

Texture is broken down into varying
degrees: macro- (0.550 mm) and microtexture (<0.5 mm). Micro texture indicates
the roughness of the stone in the layer. Macro and micro textures both have an effect
on tyre wear the smoother the texture
the less the wear. The macro texture has a
significant influence on
tyre noise and the friction between tyre and
road surface.

2b. Friction
Friction is measured as the quotient of
a vertical and horizontal force of a wheel
using a standardised formula. Good friction

Mixed asphalt

Although there is a wide variation

of mixed asphalt there is no generally acknowledged classification
system. The most common way to
categorise them is by mix temperature: Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA),

Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) and

Cold Mix Asphalt (CMA). HMA
as well as WMA is a mixture of
heated aggregate, bitumen and
filler. It is manufactured in batch
or drum mix plants at high temperatures i.e. 130180 C (HMA).
The penetration value of the
bitumen is determined by outside
factors such as climate and traffic.
Hot climates and heavy traffic
require a high penetration value,
for example. The binder can be
modified with different additives
such as polymers.


as well as the risk of aqua planing.

Load bearing capacity

3. Retroreflection
Retroreflection is a measure of the brightness of the surface. High retroreflection
enhances visibility in darkness which permits
higher speeds and shorter journey times.
Better visibility should lead to better safety
at night, but the ability to travel at higher
speeds may counteract this.

4. Porosity
Porosity is the ability of the surface to
drain out water. A porous surface also
reduces tyre noise. Less water on the road
significantly reduces the dirt and water spray

The load bearing capacity of a road has

a marked influence on the roads service life.
A reduced load bearing capability can force
heavy traffic to choose other routes (often

Abrasion resistance
The roads abrasion resistance is not simply
interesting for its service life. If the wear off
from the surface is large, the dust that is
worn off may cause pollution in the vicinity
of the road.




Cold Mix Asphalt (CMA)

CMA is produced using cold
aggregates and a pre-heated binder
(7585C). It is used as base, binder
and/or wearing course for roads
with a low traffic volume.
Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA)
WMA is produced at a lower temperature than HMA, 100140 C.
A lower temperature means that less
energy is consumed in producing
the asphalt. Less energy used mean
lower emissions from the production. The application for WMA is
basically the same as for HMA.
Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA)
HMA is produced as Dense asphalt
concrete for use as a base, binder or
wearing course or as Stone Mastic
asphalt (SMA) or Porous asphalt for
use as wearing course. The aggregate in a dense mix or an asphalt
base has a dense gradation while
SMA and Porous Asphalt are both
open graded.
Dense Asphalt displays good
ageing resistance thanks to its low
air-void content. Dense asphalt is
suitable for all asphalt pavement
applications. It is less abrasion
resistant and stable than SMA.
The main characteristics of SMA
are the gap in the fine end of the
curve, a high content of coarse
aggregate and the high filler con-

tent. The coarse material builds a

skeleton of aggregate in the mix.
The binder content in SMA is
somewhat higher than in Dense
Asphalt which in turn has higher
binder content than Porous Asphalt.
Fibres are sometimes used as a
carrier for the binder to ensure
sufficient high binder content in
SMA and Porous Asphalt.
The air void content in Dense
Asphalt and SMA is usually 25%
(Asphalt Base: 47%), while in
Porous Asphalt it is considerably
higher at around 1520%.
SMA is well suited for wearing
courses on high volume roads
owing to the high stone content
which provides good resistance
against abrasion as well as good
As the name implies, Porous (or
drainage) asphalt has good draining
properties. This reduces the risk
of water spray and aquaplaning. It
has good retro-reflective properties
in darkness and rain and tyre noise
is lower than on other types of
surfacing. These benefits diminish
relatively quickly as the pores in the
surface get clogged with other particles and dirt. Owing to its structure,
Porous Asphalt is more susceptible
to climatic effects. This can have a
negative effect on the water resistance and the ageing properties of the
binder and shorten the service life.

Surface treatment

Surface treatment is the process

of laying binder and aggregate
separately. Examples of coating
include surface sealing, penetration
macadam and slurry seal.
Surface sealing
Surface sealing prevents water
from penetrating the road. The
amount of binder is important for
a long service life of the surface
treatment. The aggregate needs
to be uniform in size and washed
to remove the fines to ensure good
Penetration macadam
Penetration macadam is sometimes
used as a base and wearing course.
It comprises a layer of aggregate
over which a layer of bituminous
binder is spread. If the binder is
a bitumen emulsion, the viscosity
and dispersion properties should
be such that the binder does not
penetrate more than 50% of the
aggregates layer thickness.
Slurry seal
Slurry seal involves spreading a
binder and then laying sand on top.
Pre-manufactured emulsion slurry
can also be used. Slurry seal is used
to fill cracks and other cavities to
prevent water penetrating the road

Dense asphalt concrete

Porous asphalt

Stone mastic asphalt

Hot Mix Asphalt.



Surface sealing.


Asphalt normally consists of three material components, the binder, the
aggregate and the filler. Some surfacing material includes additives such as
adhesives, polymers, fibres and recycled material.


Cutback and emulsion

Cutback is a mixture of bitumen
and solvent, for example naphtha,
while emulsion is a mix of bitumen,
an emulsifier and water. They both
enhance the fluid properties of a
mix at low temperatures. When the

solvent or water evaporates, the

bitumen retains its original properties. The properties of the binder in
the road are mainly determined by
the constituent bitumen. The use of
cutback is on the decline, owing to
environmental concerns, while the
use of emulsion is increasing. The
most common areas of application
include, surface treatment, CMA,
tack-coating, slurry sealing and
Specifications and test methods
for bitumen
In most countries bitumen is
classified according to viscosity
or penetration. Ageing properties
are determined by the measurement
of one or several parameters before
and after ageing in the laboratory
according to stipulated methods.

Stiffness modulus (MPa)

The binder in an asphalt mix is
referred to as bituminous, i.e. it
contains bitumen in some form.
Bitumen is a thermo-plastic material which means that it becomes
softer and more fluid when heated
and hardens when cooled. The
process is repeatable.
It can also be described as a
visco-elastic material which means
that its stiffness is a function of
temperature as well as loading
time. From the figure below you
can see that the stiffness at a given
loading time decreases when the
temperature increases. The figure
also shows that at a given temperature stiffness decreases as the
loading time increases.
When the bitumen is mixed with

aggregate, it must be sufficiently

viscous to cover the surface of the
aggregate. However, it cannot be
too fluid as the binder will drain off
from the surface of the aggregate
during storage or transportation.
The viscosity must also facilitate
the paving and compaction process.
The binder should provide stability
to avoid excessive deformation, but
it must be flexible enough to avoid
the risk of cracking. The adhesive
qualities of the binder determine
how much aggregate loosens from
the surface (ravelling).

mm x 10

time (S)

Bitumen stiffness as a function of temperature and loading time for a

100 Pen bitumen.

Specifications and test methods for bitumen Determination of penetration.




This modified Bitumen Test Data

Chart shows the maximum and
minimum mixing and compaction temperatures for a 100 pen
bitumen with the softening point
of 50 C.

Bitumen Test Data Chart

The Bitumen Test Data Chart (BTDC) is used to
predict the temperature/viscosity relationship of the
bitumen over a wide range of temperatures, and is very
useful to ensure the appropriate viscosity for any grade
of bitumen. The BTDC consists of a horizontal temperature scale and two vertical scales for penetration
and viscosity. The temperature scale is linear while the
penetration scale is logarithmic. The viscosity scale has
been designed so that penetration classified bitumen
with normal temperature susceptibility or penetration
index will give straight-line relationships.
There are optimum bitumen viscosities for the
manufacturing and compaction of bituminous mixes.
Excessive viscosity during mixing, results in the aggregate not being coated properly while if the viscosity is
too low, the bitumen will easily coat the aggregate but
may subsequently drain off the aggregate. If the viscosity is too low during compaction, the mix will be extremely soft and workable. This may result in shoving
or transversal movement of the mix. High viscosity
will significantly reduce the workability of the mix
and consequently make it more difficult to compact.
Performance Grade (PG)
The United States uses Superpave to specify asphalt
materials. Asphalt binders are specified according to
a performance based specification. The temperature of
the pavement in which the binder is going to be used
determines the choice of binder. Performance graded
bitumen is classified according to the highest and
lowest pavement temperature at which the bitumen
must have the ability to avoid rutting and low-temperature cracking. For example, a PG 6422 (sixty-four
minus twenty-two) is designed to prevent rutting on
a hot summer day where the temperature is +64 C
20 mm below the surface and to counteract low temperature cracking in the winter at -22 C at the surface.




Aggregate is a general term for all the mineral consti

tuents of an asphalt mix. It includes crushed stone,
gravel, sand, slag and fines. In asphalt, the weight
of the aggregate accounts for about 85% of the total
weight of the mix. The quality of the aggregate is
dependent on both the origin of the aggregates as well
as the production method (natural or crushed material).
The properties of an aggregate that directly or indirectly influence the functional properties of the surface are
grain-size distribution, porosity, grain shape, durability,
abrasion resistance, polish resistance and resistance to
weathering. A number of these are interrelated.
Particle properties
The most important physical properties of a mineral are
strength and shape. The quality of a rock material can
be partially improved in the production stage. In principle, each crushing stage can improve the materials
mechanical properties. Shaping, for example, increases
the abrasion resistance of the aggregate as well as the
stability of the mix in a wearing course and therefore
prolongs the service life of the road.
Grain-size distribution
Grain-size distribution is the basic property of an aggre
gate. The grain-size distribution of a given sample is
determined by a sieve test where the dried sample is
passed through a number of standard sieves which


differ in screen size. The grain-size

distribution is described graphically
in the form of a gradation curve.
The grain-size distribution determines the type of mix. Varying the
grain-size distribution for a given
mix type will influence the functional properties of the asphalt.
The filler is used to fill the voids
between the coarser particles and
to stiffen the binder. It thereby
contributes to the stability of the
asphalt mix. The filler (particles
<0,074 mm) may be obtained from
the dust collecting system at an
asphalt plant or specially produced
by crushing. Special fillers such
as slaked lime and cement are
sometimes used to reduce the risk
of stripping.
The increase in traffic in many
countries has led to the need for
high quality roads. The development of newer and better materials
is one solution to the problem, and
a large number of additives have
been proposed for asphalt mixes.
They can be generally classified
into two groups. The first comprises commercial products designed
to improve the function of the
asphalt. They include polymers,
adhesives, ageing inhibitors, softeners, stability enhancers (natural
asphalt, oxidation catalysts) and
fibres to carry the binder. A number
of polymers elastomers and plastomers have been used to modify
bitumen to improve service life and
the road surface function. They can
be used to enhance stability at high
temperatures or improve cracking
resistance at low temperatures,
for example. The second group
comprises various types of recycled
products such as granulated rubber
or fly ash.



Tendency to tender mix

unstable surfacings

Tendency to harsh mix

stable surfacings

Natural aggregate

Crushed aggregate

Low stone content

High stone content

Small maximum stone size

Large maximum stone size

Low filler content

High filler content

Tender mixes often contain natural (rounded)

aggregate with a small amount of filler.
They tend to be soft and require careful
compaction to avoid lateral displacement
and surface cracks. They tend to produce
unstable surfacings.

Harsh mixes are a result of the use of crushed aggregate containing a high percentage
of coarse material and a sufficient amount
of filler. Resistance to compaction is strong,
and they require a large compaction effort to
reach specified density. They tend to produce
stable surfacings.




Gyratory compaction of asphalt sample.

Marshall compaction of asphalt sample.

Correct mix design is essential to a durable road.

Design involves the choice of material (binder, aggregate, filler and

additives) with properties suited
to the final required results and the
mixing of these ingredients in the
correct proportions. Outside factors
such as climate and traffic intensity
and volumes must also be taken
into consideration. The temperature span determines the choice of
bitumen. The types of aggregate
and binder must relate to the traffic
load. The greater the intensity,
the higher these requirements are.


The type and volume of traffic

has a strong bearing on choice of
aggregate and binder as well as
the design of the mix. Weight, axle
configurations and tyre pressures
should also be considered.
Once the choice of ingredients
has been made, the aggregate
with the required gradation curve
must be produced, A number of
aggregate samples are mixed with
different amounts of the selected
binder to give a variation of binder
content within given limits. One of


the samples should be the binder

content recommended in the high
way authoritys own technical
specifications. The binder content
of the other samples should be in
suitable intervals above and below
this nominal content. The mixes are
then compacted using a Gyratory
compactor or Marshall apparatus.
The compacted samples are then
analysed for air void content,
strength, etc. and the optimal mix
is chosen.


Mix proportions of two different

asphalt mixes with a maximum
aggregate size of 16 mm. On the
left is a dense asphalt concrete and
on the right a stone mastic asphalt
(SMA). Note the high content of
large aggregate in the SMA.
Dense asphalt concrete.

Stone mastic asphalt (SMA).


Internal friction


Asphalt and soil have a lot in common; however, a major distinction between them lies in
the adhesive properties of the bitumen used to bind the particles in an asphalt mix.
Asphalt mixes show wide variations
in composition and properties. Their
properties and compactability are
primarily a function of:
Internal friction
Viscous resistance/temperature

Internal friction
The first of these, internal friction,
is determined mainly by the aggregate properties, and is more apparent in a well-graded mix than in an

open-graded one. A mix containing

natural round aggregate, where the
particles can move past each other
relatively easily under compaction,
has less internal friction than a mix
with angular, crushed aggregate.
The mix with crushed aggregate
consequently needs a higher com
paction effort and also gives an
asphalt surfacing of higher strength
and stability. High stone content
and large maximum stone size are
other factors that result in stable

Adhesion is what makes the binder
attach itself to the aggregate.
Viscous resistance
Viscous resistance is a function of
the viscosity of the bitumen and the
actual temperature of the mix. The
viscous resistance works against
the rearrangement of the particles
under compaction, and the lower
the temperature the greater this
resistance is.




Asphalt mixes are normally
manufactured in either continuous
or batch-type asphalt works. The
asphalt plant can be mobile or stationary. Capacity normally varies
between about 100 and 300 tonnes
per hour in batch plants while continuous asphalt plants are used for
the production of larger volumes of
the same type of mix. Here capacity
varies between 50 and 600 tonnes
per hour.
Naturally, the constituent
components of an asphalt mix all
have a decisive influence on the
final quality of the mix. As more
than 90% of the mix comprises
aggregate, the quality of the mix is


highly dependent on the quality of

the aggregate which is a function
of the crushing process. It is also
important to handle the aggregate
in the correct manner to avoid
deterioration of the gradation curve
and exposure to moisture. A dry,
well-graded aggregate is the foundation of a good asphalt mix.
In modern plants, the proportioning of the aggregate is largely
governed by automatic process
controllers according to pre-programmed recipes. The aggregate
is dried and heated in dryer drums.
In the actual manufacturing process, bitumen and filler are added
to the aggregate to form the mix.
There are different types of filler


according to the desired properties

of the mix. Amines are added to
improve adhesives qualities, fibres
are used to allow higher volumes of
bitumen, while polymers improve
the binder properties.
The constituents are mixed
according to a set pattern in the
mixer to achieve a homogenous
asphalt mix. Mixing time will vary
according to mix and type of mixer.
It is important to final quality that
the time is neither too short nor too
long. Once ready the mix is transported to insulated and/or heated
storage silos to reduce the cool off
effect. Measures also have to be
taken to ensure that the asphalt mix
does not oxidise or segregate.


Using a material feeder increases the overall paving capacity while at the same
time avoiding contact between truck and paver. More homogeneous mix temperature and better evenness can be expected. Constant speed and quality of the
paved material also improve the compaction result.

Transportation of the mix from
the asphalt plant to the site goes
through three stages before it is laid
down on the road surface: loading
at the asphalt plant, transport to the
site and tipping into the hopper of
the paver. To avoid disruption the
transportation must be well planned
and carried out correctly.
During loading it is important
to minimise the risk for segregation.
Loading must be quick and the load
should be distributed as evenly as
possible over the whole trailer. A
steep-sided pile will cause the mix
to segregate. The transport to the
site must be well-planned. If a paver
has to stop to wait for a new load,
the quality of the surfaced road will
suffer. It can lead to unevenness and
reduced compaction both of which
may shorten the service life of the
road. On the other hand, a convoy
of waiting lorries should be avoided
at the site. The asphalt mix may
cool off while waiting, which may
lead to unsatisfactory compaction

results or having to discard the mix.

The unloading of the asphalt mass
requires skill to avoid segregation
and to avoid stoppages.
A large quantity of asphalt
mix retains the heat for a longer
period than a smaller amount. If it
is placed on an insulated truck and
covered properly, the chance of delivering at the correct temperature
increases significantly. A rounded
bed on the truck or trailer is also
an advantage as the cold corners
on a regular truck can be avoided.
There are various mathematical formulae for working out the
cost of transport of asphalt mix.
The overriding aim of any such
calculation must naturally be to
achieve cost-effective transport and
maintain the quality of the asphalt

wearing course on a previously

paved road. Tack coating is an important stage in road surfacing, and
is often specified in road-building
Correctly applied, tack coating
prevents peeling and corrugation
caused by traffic. It is also essential
for load bearing properties that the
layers bind well together. The improved adhesion afforded by tack
coating means there will be fewer
tendencies towards displacement
of the mix or crack formation when

Tack coating
Tack coating is the use of an asphalt emulsion or cutback to glue
or bind together two surface layers
for instance when adding a new




The task of an asphalt paver is to produce an even surface layer with homogeneous
pre-compaction in order to give sufficient mix stability for the roller to start the compaction
process. It also has to provide a homogeneous texture.

The performance of the paver is

the most important factor when it
comes to achieving these requirements. All modern asphalt pavers
consist of two main units: the
tractor and the floating screed.
Tractor unit
The tractor unit is driven by either
pneumatic-tyred wheels or crawler
tracks. Wheeled pavers are easy
to transport. Their high travelling
speeds allow them to move about
the work site rapidly and to move
easily between different sites on
public roads.
The good traction of tracked pavers makes them suitable for use on
unbound surfaces and when laying
unbound or cement stabilized base
materials. Tracked pavers are also
required when laying extra wide
sections and on steep inclinations.


Material flow
The asphalt mix is discharged into
the receiving hopper of the paver as
it pushes the rear tyres of the haul
truck. The mix is carried from the
hopper to the rear of the machine
by twin or single slat conveyors,
and then on to the auger (screw
conveyor) which distributes the mix
laterally over the entire working
width of the screed. The height of
the auger is adjustable to allow for
different layer thicknesses.
The material flow is regulated
by the speed of the slat conveyor
and the auger.

The conveyor speed must be

correlated to the forward speed
of the paver and the height of the
material which is spread out ahead
of the screed. This height has to be
kept as constant as possible.



A smooth material flow throughout the paver from the hopper (1), through the conveyors
(2), past the auger (3) and to the screed (4) is essential to good paving results.



Screed unit
The screed levels and pre-compacts
the asphalt mix to a specified
thickness, grade, cross-slope and
crown profile. The self-levelling
floating screed is attached to the
tractor by side arms at tow-points
located on either side of the tractor
near its central point. Here, the
vertical movements caused by
any surface unevenness are at a
minimum. This allows the screed to
produce an even surface even if the
underlying base is somewhat irregular. As each, successive asphalt
layer is placed on top of the other;
irregularities become less and less
The tow points are set to give
the required thickness of the mat.
Their position may then be continuously finely adjusted by electronic systems. A grade controller
automatically maintains the surface
level against a reference surface
such as a control ski or a string line,
while a slope controller is used to
maintain the transverse inclination
of the screed.
Angle of attack
The angle between the bottom plate
of the screed and the surface being
paved is known as the angle of
attack. This varies from screed to
screed according to screed weight,
the contact area of the bottom plate
and the shape of the leading edge
of the screed. The layer thickness
and type of material also influences
the required angle of attack
The desired surface evenness
is obtained if all the forces acting
on the screed are in equilibrium.
Only then will the screed maintain
a constant angle of attack resulting
in an even layer thickness.

The angle of attack may be

increased or decreased by raising or lowering the tow point
level. Any movement of the
tow points upsets the equilibrium and results in a rise or
fall of the screed. Once the
screed has attained the new
level, the angle of attack is
restored, and the forces revert
to a state of equilibrium.

1 Tow point on the tractor, adjustable in height.

2 Traction force pulling the screed forward.
3 Resistance from the head of material and the
friction between the screed bottom plates and the
paved material.
4 Screed mass acting on the material.
5 Lifting force generated by the angle of attack and
the forward movement of the screed.
6 Angle of attack generating lifting force and
pre-compaction of the paved material.




The angle between the bottom plate of the screed and the surface being paved is
known as the angle of attack. Any change in the level of the tow points results in a
corresponding adjustment of this angle. The desired surface evenness is obtained if
all the forces acting on the screed are in equilibrium.




Heating of the screed

bottom plates
Screeds are heated with diesel-fired
or propane gas burners or electricity
to prevent the bottom plate sticking
up the hot mix which could cause
drag marks on the surface.
Fixed or variable paving width
The most common type of screed
is the telescopic screed which has
a hydraulically variable working
width. The telescopic screed allows
the operator to vary the working
width at the flick of a switch. This
is very convenient in urban areas
and other places where the paving
width varies. A fixed screed is
the most economical and suitable
choice for applications where the
paving width is constant for longer
periods. Increasing or decreasing
the paving width on a fixed screed
requires a few hours of mechanical
work to attach/detach and adjust
the extension boxes.
Compaction systems
in screeds
The main parameter affecting the
screeds ability to pre-compact the
asphalt mix is its weight. A heavier
screed will be able to reach a higher
pre-compaction than a lighter one.
Additional systems such as tampers
and vibration generators are often
attached to improve the flow of
material below the screed.

The choice of a tamping and/or

vibrating screed depends on the
application as well as the mix type,
maximum stone size, layer thickness as well as local preferences
and specifications.

courses, special high-compaction

screeds have been developed.
These screeds are extra heavy
and equipped with an additional
compaction bar at the rear of the

The tamping mechanism uses a
vertical, high-amplitude tamper bar
that moves at low frequencies. The
main purpose of the tamper is to
facilitate the flow of material below
the screed plate. The tamping unit
is followed by a static or vibrating
bottom plate (screed plate). The
width of the tamper and the tamping frequency limits the maximum
paving speed. Drag marks can be
the result of the paving speed is
too high in relation to the tamper

Choice of screed
and tractor unit

The screed plate is equipped with
a vibration generating system.
The vibrations reduce the friction
between screed plate and asphalt
mix, letting the screed float more
easily over the material. The vibrations will also cause some of the bitumen to rise to the asphalt surface,
providing additional lubrication and
enhancing the surface texture.
High compaction screeds
For special applications such as
cement-stabilised layers and base

Fixed or variable paving width



The choice of paving unit starts

with the screed. It has to be able
to lay at the desired width. Choice
of screed also depends of type of
asphalt mix and layer thickness.
The choice of tractor will depend
on what screed that was chosen.
The tractor unit must be powerful
enough to tow and support the
screed at the specified widths. It
must also be able to cope with
the required lay down capacity or
tonnage available per hour. Choice
of wheels or tracks will depend on
the foundation type as well as the
paving width.
Even if the underlying surface
is somewhat uneven, modern
electronic levelling systems automatically adjust the mat thickness
to assure the correct cross-slope
and grade, and maintain a level
surface. The use of such systems
does not take away the demand
for proper preparation of the
underlying surface. The better
the evenness of the existing surface
the better the evenness will be on
the new layer as well.

Tamper bar

Bottom plate

Secondary compactor


Any stoppages in the operation
will result in a pavement of inferior
quality and a shorter life-time.
The paver speed should be kept
constant and should correlate
with the available mix tonnage
(determined by the asphalt plant
capacity and the number of available trucks).
To achieve specified results,
a number of points need to be
taken into consideration. First the
required paving width has to be
set and the screed must be heated
to prevent the mix sticking to the
bottom plate.
The tow points need to be set
to the height that corresponds to
the desired mat thickness. If necessary, the screed must be adjusted
to allow for a crown profile.
The height of the auger is also
crucial to the outcome. If it is set
too low it will interfere with the
material flow under the screed
which will result in an open texture
and cause the mat to tear or create
an uneven surface. If it is too high,
the mix might not reach the outer
edges of the screed, too much mix
will sit in the auger channel and
this will make it more difficulty
to move the paver forward. Too
much material also means it will
move slowly and may cool down
too much before going under the
Ideally, the distance between
the mat surface and the lower
edge of the auger flights should
be equivalent to roughly five times
the maximum stone size.
There are a number of factors
that need to be controlled during
a paving operation. They include:
Head of material (in front of the
Paving speed
Actual layer thickness

Careful planning of mix supply

and transportation
is crucial to maintaining
a non-stop paving operation.

Surface evenness
Paving width
Laying temperature
Mix segregation

Head of material
The head of material (the amount
of material spread out in front
of the screed) should be constant
over the entire working width.
It has a decisive influence on the
vertical position of the screed. As
mentioned earlier, the levelling
action of a screed relies on a state
of equilibrium between all the
forces acting on it. Any change
in these forces causes the screed

to move up or down accordingly.

If the head of material gets too
high the resistance to forward
travel increases, and, in an attempt
to overcome this resistance, the
screed starts to rise. A ridge will
then appear in the mat or the layer
thickness will increase. Excessive
material also accelerates the wear
on the augers. If, on the other hand,
the head of material is too low, the
screed settles because there is not
enough material to support it. An
automatic system that monitors and
controls the material flow through
the conveyors and auger as well as
the screed level will significantly
reduce these effects.

How the head of material affects the height of the screed

Head of material too high.

The screed rises.

Head of material too low.

The screed settles.

Head of material correct.

With a correct and constant
head of material, the sum
of all forces acting on the
screed is in equilibrium,
and the screed is able to
maintain the desired level.




Paving speed
The paver speed should be as con
stant as possible since variations
in speed will result in an uneven
surface. An automatic system to
pre-set and maintain speeds under
varying load conditions is recommended.
Stoppages are also a problem.
They may not only blemish the surface, they also result in temperature
segregation. Every time the paver
stops the screed tends to sink into
the mat. The material in the auger
box ahead of the screed and the
mix just behind the paver, which
are inaccessible to the rollers then
cool down, while the mix below
the screed remains hot. When the
paver starts again the screed will
lift slightly to overcome the cooler
material ahead of the screed leaving
a ridge in the mat.
If the paver is forced to stop,
the screed can be locked in position
using a screed stop system which
works off the hydraulic lift cylinders. This prevents the screed from
sinking into the mat and reduces
the problems associated with paver


Common paving speeds range from

2 up to 20 m/min depending on mix
type and equipment performance.
There is a minimum speed to keep
the screed floating. If the paving
speed drops below this minimum
level, the screed will settle. The
layer will then be too thin. Speeds
should be kept at around 24 m/min
to achieve high densities when
using high-compaction screeds.
Layer thickness and
surface evenness
In order to achieve the specified
evenness, normally expressed as
a maximum permissible deviation
in height measured over a certain
distance, the layer thickness may
vary to account for irregularities
in the underlying surface.
Where necessary, electronic
levelling devices such as grade and/
or slope controllers should be used.
These systems automatically adjust
the mat thickness to maintain a
level surface. If the paver is being
operated manually, the crew must
avoid frequent corrections of the
height of the screed.


Photo of high class asphalt surface.


Overlap (23 cm)

paved by the paver

The paving and compaction procedures employed for longitudinal
and transversal joints are important
to the overall quality and appearance of an asphalt surfacing.
When laying an asphalt lane
beside an existing lane the height
of the screed above the surface
must be carefully adjusted to allow
for the compaction effect of the following roller, i.e. the un-compacted
layer should be some 1520%
thicker. An automatic grade controller working off the adjacent lane is
very useful for joint matching.
The side overlap of the joint
should be about 25 to 50 mm.
There should be as little raking of

the joints as possible, so laying

must be precise.
To create a smooth transverse
joint, the paver screed should be
placed on top of the previously
placed mat just in front of the joint.
As the forces on the screed need to
be in equilibrium when the paver
resumes its work, only enough
asphalt to cover the auger shaft is
brought in before the paver moves
forward. In order to ensure a good
bond at joints, tack coating should
be applied to the exposed surface.
Type of mix and
laying temperature
Stiff mixes require heavy screeds,
whereas less stable mixes require
relatively light ones. Stiff mixes
tend to lift the screed above the
required level while tender mixes
very often do not have the resistance to adequately support the weight
of the screed.
The load of the screed on tender
mixes can be reduced with the help
of a screed unload system which
transfers the weight of the screed
to the tractor. This not only allows
heavy screeds to be used on tender

Segregation of the mix can occur across the mat, at its edges and at the centre. It is
one of the most common causes of damage to asphalt surfacings.

mixes: it also improves traction,

and helps to obtain an even surface
and uniform degree of compaction.
Another factor that affects the
outcome of a paving operation is
the laying temperature of the mix.
Variations in temperature cause
variations in surface evenness and
the compaction effect of the screed.
As asphalt mix becomes more
resistant to compaction as it cools
down. The tractor unit must be
able to provide the traction force to
overcome this resistance. The laying of cold mixes therefore requires
pavers with good traction and
relatively heavy screeds. Furthermore, a cold mat may tear as the
flowability of the asphalt decreases
with temperature.
Mix segregation
Mix segregation is primarily the
segregation of larger aggregates
in an asphalt mix, and is one of the
most common causes of damage to
an asphalt surfacing.
Segregation may occur early in
the truck-loading stage at the asphalt plant, especially if the mix is
poured too slowly into the truck. It
is always difficult to avoid a certain
stone concentration along the sides
of the truck bed. Once the asphalt is
segregated, it may remain so right
through the paver and, at worst,
result in a non-uniform surface.
Segregation at the edges of the
lanes may be caused by stone segregation along the sides on the truck
and incorrect mix distribution in
front of the screed. For example, if
the material level is too high, it will
slope towards the outer edges where
stones can segregate. The height
setting of the auger is another important factor in this respect.
The segregated strip in the
middle of the lane is caused by
the auger drive unit located at the
centre of the augers. Auger drives
at the outer ends of the shafts will
prevent this occurring.
Transversal segregation zones
normally arise from the segregation
of materials at the front and back
ends of the truck or from improper
truck change procedures.




There are a number of types of roller for asphalt compaction in current use.
These include vibratory, static and pneumatic tyred rollers. The actual choice of machine
depends on the type and size of the job, and is often related to local preferences.

The compaction effort of a static

steel wheel roller is primarily
dependent on its static weight but
is also influenced by the drum
Pneumatic tyred rollers rely
on static weight and tyre pressures
for their compaction effort. They
are often used in combination with
static smooth-drum or vibratory
rollers for finish rolling to remove
drum marks, and for surface sea
ling. These benefits are primarily
related to finishing rolling rather
than compaction.
Vibratory rollers combine the
static load of the drum with dynamic loads. The vibration largely
reduces the internal friction in
the mix and improves compaction
effect even when used with com
paratively low static linear loads.


A vibratory asphalt roller always

has a higher capacity (expressed
in tons of asphalt laid per hour)
than a static roller of the same
weight. On harsh mixes this
difference is even more

Static three-wheel rollers p

Modern types of three-wheel rollers have three large driven drums and articulated steering,
as opposed to conventional models which have two driving steel drums and a smaller
steering drum. The compaction effect can be varied by ballasting with water.
Weight range: 815 tons



Vibratory tandem rollers p

Normally with vibration and drive on both drums. Articulated or pivot steering.
Weight range: 118tons

Combination (Combi) rollers p

Pneumatic tyred rollers p
Normally with 711 pneumatic tyres. The compaction
effect can be varied by ballasting usually with water or
sand. Changing the tyre pressure changes to contact
area which also affects the compaction effect.
Weight range: 1035 tons

One vibrating drum and one axle with pneumatic tyres.

Articulated or pivot steering.
Weight range: 415 tons

Single drum asphalt compactors

One vibrating drum and smooth pneumatic tyres on rear axle. Articulated frame.
Weight :10 tones




Roller compaction of asphalt mixes can be divided into three stages,
Initial rolling, Main compaction and Finish rolling.

The compactability of a hot mix

asphalt is dependent on its temperature. The normal lay-down temperature is 130 to 160C. Within this
range the mix is soft and plastic. As
the temperature drops the viscosity
and the resistance to compaction
both increase.
In general, compaction rolling
should start as soon as possible
after lay-down. With a vibratory
roller, the compaction normally
can start with vibrating passes. On
tender and unstable mixes, it may
be more suitable to start with two
static passes which should be made
at low rolling speed, 12 km/h.
The roller should follow as close
as possible behind the paver so that
the compaction can take place as
soon as possible after paving. The
compaction must be finished before
the mix has cooled down. However,
if the roller is repeatedly run over
the same area at very short intervals
when the mix temperature is high,


the surface may crack and it may

result in a drop in density.
The main purpose of finish
rolling (which is effective down to
around 60C) is to remove roller
marks and other surface blemishes.
It also improves the texture of the
surface. Finish rolling may also
increase density especially if the
mat is comparatively hot.
Many countries use pneumatic
tyred rollers to seal the surface although traffic has a sealing effect on
the asphalt surfacing on streets and
roads. As there is no such traffic on
runways, pneumatic tyred rollers
are often specified for finish rolling.
On thin layers, and in unfavourable conditions, the time available
for compaction may be as little
as five minutes. Under the same
conditions, a thick layer will retain
its temperature for up to several
hours. The need for fast, effective
compaction is therefore greater on
thin layers than on thick ones.




Temperature, C



Temperature, C
The cooling pattern of asphalt is determined
by layer thickness, ambient temperature,
ground temperature and weather conditions.
Thin asphalt layers cool more rapidly than
thick ones. They therefore may require fast
and effective compaction.


A vibratory tandem roller will

achieve uniform compaction over
an entire paving area by following
a correct rolling pattern.

To start with all joints must be

compacted: first the transversal
ones, then the longitudinal
ones. The pattern is made up
of parallel rolling lanes divided
into rolling zones some 3050 m
long. Actual zone length is determined by the speed of the paver
and time available for rolling
before the mix cools down.

The first lane is started at the lowest edge of

the asphalt surface. Passes are made forward
and backward in the same track. Track changes
must always be made on a compacted area to
avoid marking the mat.

As a rule, the roller must keep as

close to the paver as possible. In
all rolling patterns it is important
to try to maintain a constant
rolling zone length. Landmarks or
cones are helpful in this respect.




Roller input
The number and size of rollers
required on a job is determined
by the lay down rate expressed in
square metres per hour. To arrive
at this figure a number of elements
have to be taken into consideration.
A number of elements must be taken
into consideration to arrive at this
Every paving job can be mea
sured by the tonnage of hot mix
to be laid down per hour. On large
jobs the tonnage figure is usually
governed by the capacity of the
asphalt plant. Mix tonnage, the paving width, and the layer thickness
together determine the speed of the
paver. The speed multiplied with
the paving width will give you the
lay down rate in square meters per
hour. This then serves as a basis for
the required roller input. Allowances should be made for temporary
peaks in mix supply.
Suitable rolling speeds range
from 2 to 6 km/h. Low speeds are

used on thick layers and when high

degrees of compaction are specified. The number of roller passes
depends on a number of factors,
primarily, the compaction properties of the mix and the specified
degree of compaction. Static linear
load and vibration characteristics
also have a decisive influence.
Thin layers with a high stone
content are best compacted with a
combination of high frequency and
low amplitude to reduce the risk of
aggregate crushing. Stable mixes
and thick layers are best compacted
at high amplitude.
It is advisable to run a test strip
to determine a suitable rolling procedure to reach the specified degree
of compaction. A density gauge is
a great asset as the density values
can be read off immediately.
A professional roller manufacturer should be able to supply
you with recommendations on
roller selection, settings and rolling

Rolling pattern
The paved width is divided into
roller lanes. The number of lanes
depends on the drum width and
paving width. The drum width
should be related to the paving
width so that, for example, three
parallel roller lanes are sufficient
to cover the paving width and that
excessive overlap is avoided.
Lane changes should be made
on a previously compacted surface
to avoid marks on the mat. In
addition, the roller should never be
allowed to stand still on a hot mix.
Joint compaction
Efficient joint compaction is im
portant to pavement quality. As
illustrated, there are two main
alternatives to ensure adequate
joint compaction.

Transversal joint. Start by rolling along the joint with about 10 cm (4) of the drum on the hot asphalt. Move more of the drum over on
the hot mix for every pass. If the space is limited due to obstructions or traffic, try rolling at an angle to the joint.




Harsh mixes
The increase in traffic loads has led
to the need for more stable asphalt
surfacings. As a consequence,
harsh asphalt mixes, containing
high viscosity bitumen and crushed
aggregate with high stone content,
are now becoming more
and more common. Their high
mechanical resistance to compaction requires efficient compaction
methods. In this respect, vibratory
rollers are the best choice to meet
specified densities.
Tender mixes
Soft tender mixes are prone to
lateral displacement during compaction which may result in small
transversal surface cracks (3 to 5
mm deep). They can normally be
closed by suitable finish rolling
or by subsequent traffic action. If
longitudinal cracks appear they
are often deep and very difficult
to close completely. The rolling
of tender mixes requires special
measures. Often they must be

allowed to cool down before rolling

starts. This means that the roller has
to operate relatively far behind the
paver, and in many cases it may be
best to work with long lanes (100 m
or more). In order to stabilise the
mix it is often suitable to start the
compaction with two passes in a
static mode or using a pneumatic
tyred roller (PTR). A large drum
diameter and a slow approach also
help to prevent shoving or cracks.
It is often a suitable to select a low
amplitude and high frequency on
these mixes. A PTR is suitable for
finishing the surface.
Thin layers
Thin layers normally result in fast
paving speeds and high surface
capacities; but they may put a strain
on the rolling capacity if allowances have not been made. The roller
must never increase its speed in
order to keep up with the paver;
there is a risk that density will not
be achieved. In order to achieve
sufficient compaction, the number

of machines has to be increased.

To avoid crushing the aggregate,
low amplitude and a high frequency
should be used.
In addition, thin layers cool rapidly which is why the rollers must
be able to attain specified densities
fast and efficiently.
Thick layers
It is possible to achieve high den
sities on asphalt layers up to 15 cm
thick. However, rolling on very
thick surfaces may create surface
undulations. On thick layers rolling
should start at some distance from
the edge of the lane. The roller
passes should then be made successively closer to the edge to prevent
the edge from being displaced. A
large drum diameter together with
a high amplitude setting is very
suitable on these applications.
The high amplitude will guarantee
that good compaction is achieved
throughout the layer.

The main difficulties working with harsh mixes are in overcoming the resistance to
compaction, which is a result of the internal friction of the aggregate. Therefore, high
compaction effort should be appliednormally using vibratory rollers.

Tender mixes are very plastic in their hot state and may be pressed out under the drum during
rolling resulting in hairline cracks and the risk of lateral mix displacement.
Adequate compaction may be reached if the mix is allowed to cool somewhat.




When selecting a roller or combination of rollers consideration should
be given not only to the ability of the machine to reach the specified
density but also to the economics involved in doing so.

In general, it can be said that the

probability of a vibratory roller
reaching target density is usually
better than that of a static machine.
This probability increases as layers
get thicker, as density requirements
become more stringent and when
mixes become harsher.
On tender mixes and when relatively low degrees of compaction are
specified, for example, conventional
static steel wheel rollers alone or in
combination with pneumatic tyred
rollers have the same probability of
reaching compaction as a vibratory
roller. On the other hand, on harsh
mixes requiring a high degree of
compaction the probability of success will definitely favour vibratory
A vibratory roller can handle both


compaction and finish rolling. During

the compaction stage it should
achieve final compaction. On small
jobs the roller can then switch to
static operation to finish the surface.
On larger jobs, the finish rolling is
performed by a static smooth drum
roller or a pneumatic tyred one.
As vibratory rollers have a higher
production rate than their static counterparts, they are especially economical on large pavement constructions.
Small vibratory tandem rollers
have now cornered a large part of the
market for small asphalt surfacings.
Roller manufacturers should have
the appropriate tools to support you
in selecting the right roller for the
job. He should also be able to give
recommendations on roller settings
and expected capacity.


Vibratory roller

Static roller

Pneumatic roller


In an end result specification, an authority sets a minimum degree of
compaction which is then checked by laboratory and field tests.
End result specifications are the most common for large projects.

A method specification lists the

type and size of rollers to be used
as well as the machine settings and
number of passes required.
End result specifications are
often applied for asphalt pavement
constructions. The density require
ments normally fall in the range
97100% degree of compaction
(50 or 75 blows on the asphalt
sample). Requirements can also be
stated as a maximum permissible
air void content.
Asphalt contracts often include
penalty clauses which stipulate
fines to be deducted from payment
if the contractor fails to meet specified densities.
The normal method for field
density control is to remove a
core sample with a diamond drill.

Density and air void content are

determined on the sample cores in
a laboratory. Density gauges can
be used for rapid density testing
on site. As mentioned earlier, they
are very practical when establishing
suitable rolling procedures at the
start of a job. The final approval of
the density level is, however, generally based on core drilling.
Function specifications normally
involve the entire road design, not
only the bituminous layers. However,
special requirements can be connected to the function of these layers,
for instance: maximum rut depth
after a defined period of time, surface
evenness requirements. Other quality
controls of asphalt surfacings include checking the surface evenness,
texture depth and skid resistance.

Continuous Compaction
Control-quality and productivity improvement.
A continuous compaction control
system with GNSS positioning and
infra-red temperature meters help
make rolling operations more efficient. At the same time it is a tool
that helps the operator achieve higher and more homogeneous compaction. By visualizing the actual
number of passes, it is possible to
reduce the risk of under-compaction due to operator errors. This
also minimizes inefficiencies due
to excessive passes that can lead
to over-compaction.




Cold milling is an integrated part of the construction
cycle of any road. Asphalt
milling is used to remove
an old and worn wearing
course or the entire asphalt
pavement. It can also be
used to improve the surface
friction or remove ruts on a
wearing course that is otherwise in good condition.

Joints for a new overlay can be

prepared and down driven manholes
can be cut free so that they can be
pulled up to the correct level again.
A narrow trench for laying down,
for instance, fibre-optic cables can
also be cut. Different machines are
used for the different applications
depending on capacity requirements,
size of the job site, manoeuvrability
etc. The material that is removed
is, to a large extent, recycled as
unbound gravel base course. It can
also be added as a part of virgin
asphalt mixes produced in various
types of asphalt plants.

A worn out pavement is removed

using cold milling equipment, the material is transported to an asphalt plant
where it is recycled and forms a part
of the new asphalt. This new asphalt
is paved and compacted to create a
new wearing course.



Cold milling process

How it works
The rotating milling drum is
equipped with a large number of
replaceable cutting bits. The milling
drum breaks up and removes the
material from the upper section of
the pavement. The drum is pressed
down by lowering the entire planer
chassis until it reaches the desired
cutting depth, the planer then starts
its forward motion, effectively
removing the asphalt pavement
to the desired depth. The drum
is configured to work against
the direction of travel, so-called
up-cutting. This is the safest
way to operate as a down-cutting drum may jump onto the
pavement and propel the machine
forward in an un-controlled way.
The working depth is controlled
by rising or lowering the drum/
chassis assembly; this can be
controlled manually or assisted
by an electronic levelling system.
The power to rotate the drum is
transmitted from the engine either
by v-belts (direct drive) or by a
system of hydraulic pumps, hoses,
valves and hydraulic motors. The
direct drive has the best efficiency
and an automatic load sensing belt
tensioner helps protect the engine
if the drum hits any hard objects,
whereas hydrostatic drive system
has the advantage of being almost
maintenance free.


Why it is done
Adding a new layer of asphalt on
top of an old and distressed one is
only a temporary fix. Cracks will
migrate through the new material
and destroy it in a short time. The
adhesion between the layers will
also suffer unless the cracked pave
ment is removed. Curb height is
another issue; adding new wearing
courses will effectively leave no
curb height after a while.
On bridges there is a weight
restriction, adding a new wearing
course means that 100150 kg/m
of asphalt would be added to the
existing weight. This could jeopardize the stability of the bridge. The
solution to these issues is to use a
planer to remove the old asphalt
and to replace it with a new layer.
Asphalt paving requires an even
surface to provide a uniform layer
thickness. Old asphalt wearing
courses can be rutted and have
incorrect cross slope. This can all
be corrected using a cold planer to
remove the uneven layer.
Compact cold planers are
also used to prepare a surface for
paving, cutting close to curb stones,
around man-holes and gutters etc.
The drum is the true area of production for a cold planer, the width

and the tooth configuration decides

which application is suitable. Normal spacing for the teeth is 15 mm
for removal of material (Coarse,
half lane milling) and drum widths
vary from 350 mm to 2200 mm.
For fine milling such as friction
improvement or removal of traffic
markings, a closer spacing is
used. It is typically one half of the
standard bit spacing. Drums with a
spacing of 34 mm are named micro milling drums. In case of a fine
spaced milling drum, the cutting
depth is limited due to the reduced
power per bit. Fine and micro
milling drums are also available
with two bits or more one line.
This allows the operator to double
the working speed without getting
a fishbone structure on the milling
surface. Lately, eco drums have
become more and more popular.
Here, the tool spacing ranges from
1525 mm meaning the number
of bits per drum is reduced. The
reason for this is to reduce the cost
of running the machine. The drawback is that this kind of drum can
only be used in soft asphalt conditions; it also has the disadvantage
that the surface is very rough.
The bits or teeth are subjected
to massive wear and the life time
can vary from under one hour
to a few days depending on the

application, production rate etc.

A bit consists of a tungsten carbide tip, a steel body, a rotating
washer for reduced wear and a
pre-pressed retainer for fast and
easy mounting. Road milling bits
have a standardized shank size of
20 mm and the different brands are
normally interchangeable. Special
bits like mini-bits with different
shank sizes are available. Easily
replaceable teeth and, in some
cases, holders are vital to obtain a
high productivity as these can be
damaged by objects in the ground.
Street iron such as man-hole
covers etc. are among the greatest
dangers here. This is especially
dangerous if they were paved over
and are not noticed until hit by the
milling drum.
Bit holders are differentiated in
two groups: The welded-on block,
which is mainly used for compact
planers or for fine spaced milling
drums. The other type is the quick
exchange holder system with a
welded base and a replaceable
sleeve that is used for larger cold
planers. The helical pattern of holders and teeth help move the millings towards the discharge point.
By means of the kicker paddles
the reclaimed asphalt pavement is
thrown out of the cutter box onto
the conveyor.


Cutting bit

Edge cutter

Tool holder

Picture of a milling
drum with named
parts and arrows
showing the build-up
of the drum.




High capacity/large jobs

High capacity/large jobs
The high capacity jobs require large
production machines, always equip
ped with an electronic levelling
system. These jobs have a typical
working width from 1,02,2 meters
and a cutting depth of 0320 mm.
The planer is followed by a
road sweeper and sometime high
pressure cleaners to ensure a dust
free surface. Tack coating and
laying of the new wearing course
follows on the cleaned surface.
This means that the process must
flow continuously and with good
results. The method is described
as mill and fill and is typically
used during night-time work on
otherwise busy roads. Proper
levelling and control of the milling
depth as well as the logistics on
the site is critical on these jobs.
1 cm of excessive removal of
material over 10 km means that an
additional 490 tons of asphalt must
be paved to reach the correct level.
This would represent a significant
amount of money.


Patch work/city work

These applications are almost as
demanding as the high production jobs. Good manoeuvrability,
balance and weight is required to
finalize the jobs quickly in order to
minimize traffic disturbance. These
machines are also often operated
in confined areas requiring them
to be manoeuvrable and operator
friendly. Manhole covers and sewer
grates create a challenging working
environment for these machines.
Good lighting, low noise level and
good all-round visibility is highly
important as a lot of the work is
carried out at night. Typical cutting
widths range from 350 mm to 1m
and the cutting depth is normally in
the range of 58 cm, although state
of the art planer models can be
utilized for deeper cut jobs as well.
In preparation of a new overlay
on top of the existing wearing
course the joints must be prepared,
both for the start and at the end of
the paved lane. All intersections
must also be prepared by milling


a wedge to create a strong joint.

Cleaning up after a high capacity
machine includes milling around
man-hole covers, sewer grates
etc. This is carried out mostly by
machines with working widths
ranging from 350500 mm, but
also a 1000 mm machine with rear
conveyor is highly manoeuvrable
and can almost turn on the spot
to be effective in milling round
man-hole covers etc. The most suitable machines for joints/cleaning
and patch/city work are grouped as
compact cold planers
Special applications
The removal of the top surface
with a fine spaced cutting drum
is referred to as fine milling. This
includes removal of shallow ruts in
an asphalt or concrete pavement,
correction of a slope for better
water drainage, the removal of
painted road markings as well as
friction improvement of otherwise good wearing courses. Since
no material will be placed on the
milled surface it is important that
this is even and uniform enough to


traffic right away. A regular milling

drum with 15 mm bit spacing will
not be able to produce the desired
surface quality. This application
requires changing to a fine milling
drum with narrower tooth spacing,
typically around the half of the
regular tool spacing or less depending on the job requirements. These
jobs are not very demanding from
a productivity stand point, however
accurate levelling and grade/slope
control is required to avoid cutting
too deep.
Levelling systems
Due to its usage and the corresponding job requirements levelling of
compact cold planers is most often
done manually. This means that the
operator is lowering or raising the
rear legs hydraulically by activating
a switch. Control of the cutting
depth is done by monitoring the
numbers on a scale. The operator is
responsible for a sufficient levelling
result. In case of higher demands for
surface evenness or just for easier
working, compact cold planers
can be equipped with an electronic
levelling system. This controls the
actual cutting depth or slope value
according to pre-set figures.
Sometimes a non-contacting
ultra-sonic ski is used for levelling
off a curb or a string line. Most often larger cold planers are equipped
with an advanced levelling system
for accurate working results. Two
grade sensors on either side is the
minimum requirement. In addition
to this, a slope sensor can be used if
only a single sided grade reference
is available. For better averaging,
several sensors are connected per
side to a long averaging beam. This
system provides good accuracy for
fine-milling operations. MillimeterGNSS or laser levelling systems are
niches for special milling operation
for e.g. on race courses, airports or
large parking areas.

Special applications

Patch work/city work


Levelling systems





It is difficult to evaluate the performance of rollers without field tests.
These should preferably carried out on different materials and under different
conditions. This section, however, defines and discusses the parameters and
data which may be employed to evaluate and compare rollers from a
The ISO8811 standard establishes the guidelines as to which technical
data and parameters are suitable for specifying vibratory rollers.
Vibratory roller specifications are therefore structured and comparable if
presented according to the standard.





Vibratory rollers evolved from the original static rollers,
which generated compaction by static weight only.
The comparison of two vibratory rollers is a difficult task;
in fact, it is impossible to perform from a specification
sheet only. However, different parameters have an
impact on a rollers effect. So it is important to have
a thorough understanding of the parameters involved.

Compaction performance
Static linear load
Amplitude (fixed or variable)

Compaction performance is norm

ally what sets different rollers apart.
In this respect, compaction effort
plays a major role: the higher the
compaction effort, the greater depth
effect and the fewer the number of
passes required. Compaction effort
is influence:
static linear load
The ratio between static
and vibrating mass
Drum diameter
Other factors include rolling speed,
and the number of vibrating drums.
Centrifugal force is not a decisive
factor for compaction performance.
Static linear load
For a smooth-drum vibratory roller,
the static linear load is the static
weight of the roller on the ground
divided by the rolling width of the
drum expressed in kg/cm or kN/m.
The static load is the weight of
the drum assembly plus the parts of
the frame carried by the drum (drum
module weight). The ISO8811 stan-

dard includes the weight of the operator as well as full fuel and half-full
water tanks in the static operating
weight. A significant increase in
the static linear load increases the
compaction effort, and reduces the
number of passes required.
The total weight of a self-propelled single-drum vibratory roller does
not give a direct indication of the
compaction effect. Comparisons based on total weight can therefore be
misleading. A true picture emerges
only by comparing the static linear
loads of the vibrating drum modules.
Frequency and amplitude
Frequency is the number of drum
impacts per time unit measured in
Hz (vibrations per second) or vpm
(vibrations per minute).
Amplitude is the maximum
movement of the drum from the
axis, and is usually expressed in
mm. This means that the total drum
movement corresponds to twice the
nominal amplitude. The influence
of frequency and amplitude on the
compaction effect has been the subject of discussion for many years.
Laboratory and field tests indicate
that frequencies between 25 and
40 Hz (1,500 and 2,400 vpm) have
maximum compaction effect on
soil. A change in frequency within
this range will not significantly
affect compaction effort.

However, a change in amplitude has

a pronounced effect on compaction
and depth effect. High amplitudes
are especially important on materials which require a high compaction
effort, such as coarse rock fill and
dry clay soils. Vibratory rollers
designed to compact large volumes
of soil and rock fill, boulders and
cobles in thick layers should have
an high amplitude in the range of
1,52,1 mm.

The static linear load is the weight of the drum

assembly plus the parts of the frame carried by
the drum (drum module weight).

Frequency is the number of drum impacts

per time unit measured in Hz or vibrations
per minute. Amplitude is the maximum
movement of the drum from the axis and is
usually expressed in mm.




Degree of
Low amplitude

High amplitude

The normal relationships between compaction effect, frequency and amplitude
on soil. Amplitude has a significant effect
whereas frequency may vary within a
given optimum range.

On asphalt, frequencies between

45 and 70 Hz (2,700 and 4200 vpm)
have been found to produce the
best results. Suitable amplitudes for
asphalt should not exceed one mm.
High frequencies result in
small impact spacing (the distance
between each drum impact) which
helps to prevent surface rippling.
Impact spacing is a function of frequency and speed: low frequency at
high speed gives wide impact spacing while high frequency at low
speeds gives close impact spacing.
Amplitude settings
It is a great advantage to be able to
alter the vibratory force and depth
effect of the roller. The best way of
doing this is by altering the amplitude. With adjustable amplitude

settings, the compaction effort can

be adjusted to suit different types of
material and layer thickness. Some
rollers have the ability to change
the amplitude automatically during
the compaction process and adapt
it to the requirements of the underlying surface.
Adjustable amplitude is essential in asphalt compaction. When
working on a tender mix or with
thin lifts, best results are achieved
from a low amplitude setting. This
also reduces the risk of crushing
weak aggregate. Conversely, harsh
mixes and thick layers require
relatively high amplitudes. Adjustable amplitude settings result in
a variable compaction effort. On
soils, the operator can change the
amplitude to suit different layer
thickness. On asphalt, adjustable
amplitude can be used to adapt the
roller to the different compaction
needs of harsh and tender mixes
and changes in layer thickness.
When compacting thick layers
to a high density, it is best to start
at a high amplitude. As the material
increases in density the drum often
starts to double-jump. This does
not increase the density even if
the number of passes are increased
and, even worse, the material may
be crushed and the machine may
be damaged. The double-jumping
can be prevented, and the density
will increase by reverting to low

Automatic vibration control

Modern asphalt rollers should be
equipped with an automatic vibra
tion control which cuts out vibra
tions at speeds below a certain limit.
This prevents vibrations acting
on the surface when the roller is
stationary or when it slows down
to change direction of travel.
Rolling speed
Rolling speed has a definite influence on compaction effect. To a certain extent, high rolling speeds can
be compensated for by an increase
in the number of passes. However,
optimum speeds for soil compaction lie in the 36 km/h range. The
compaction of thick layers of soil
and rock fill to high degrees of
compaction requires speeds in the
lower part of the range. Optimum
speeds are somewhat higher for
asphalt than for soil. Constant
speed is important in obtaining
a uniform degree of compaction,
and a speedometer on the roller is
a help in this respect. Speed control
is especially important in asphalt
Number of vibrating drums
Two vibrating drums reduce the
number of passes required, thereby
increasing the roller capacity. With
only one vibrating drum, the roller
will require about 80% more passes
than with a vibrating tandem roller
of the same size. However, varia
tions do exist depending on the type
of material to be compacted
Frame/Drum weight ratio
The frame must be heavy enough to
press the drum to the ground when
vibrating, however If the frame is
too heavy, it will reduce the effect
of the vibrations. The drum weight
should be one third to half the
weight of the frame.

A vibratory tandem roller can have one or two vibrating drums. In general double vibrating
drums increase capacity by about 80%, as the roller does not have to make so many




A roller with a drum width of 1500 mm covers paving widths from 3,5 up
to 4,2 m with three parallel lanes. Using a roller with 1700 mm drum width is,
in this case, uneconomical as it will still require three parallel lanes.
The overlap will increase and the efficiency will go down. Roller size must
match both the compaction requirement s and the expected paving width in
order to assure the compaction quality as well as the operational efficiency.


mum drum width to cover the asphalt paver width using a minimum
number of parallel rolling lanes.

It is incorrect to assume that a

higher centrifugal force results in
a higher compaction effort. Total
applied force (TAF) used to be
regarded as a good yardstick for the
measurement of compaction effort
in the early days of vibratory compaction. It is the sum of the static
weight and centrifugal force, and,
as with centrifugal force, it is easy
to draw the wrong conclusions.

Drum diameter
A large diameter reduces rolling
resistance. This can be especially
important in preventing shoving
of asphalt mats, and in minimising
hair-line cracks when rolling tender,
unstable asphalt mixes. A large
drum diameter is preferable.

Drum width
Drum diameter
Drum shell thickness

Drum width
In soil compaction, the drum width
generally determines surface area
capacity. A wider drum results in
a greater surface coverage per pass.
However, the same does not apply
to asphalt compaction, where the
width of the asphalt paver also has
to be taken into account. In asphalt
surfacing work, the drum width of
the roller needs to be correlated to
the paving width. There is an opti-

Drum shell thickness

The drum of a roller is subject
to wear. The compaction of finegrained material causes less wear
than the compaction of coarse rock
fill. Very abrasive types of rocks
may cause exceptional wear.
The drum shell thickness
and quality of the steel therefore
determine the lifetime as well as
the ability of the drum to withstand
Drum shell finish is also decisive. For soil compaction, current
drum shell bending technologies
result in sufficiently round and
even drums. For asphalt rollers
the demands are higher. Therefore,
these drums are normally machined. The result is a drum that will
produce smooth and even asphalt

Split drums
A split drum design allows the two
drum halves to operate at different
speeds. This reduces scuffing of
the asphalt mat when operating
on sharp curves. If a roller does
not have split drums, the operator
should follow the standard accepted
rolling procedures on curves to
ensure the job is done properly. Be
careful not to use split-drum rollers
on soil applications. Rolling on stiff
soils creates a forging effect on the
drum shell. This will eventually
widen the drum and bridge the
gap between the two drum halves,
destroying the intended purpose
and benefits of a split drum.

Sharp turns along the curve may result

in tearing the surface when compacting
asphalt. This can be avoided by rolling in
two or more directions.




Soil rollers
Operating weight
Tractor module weight
Drum module weight
Tyre size
Asphalt rollers
Operating weight
Front drum module weight
Rear drum module weight

The ability of a roller to run up a slope is

termed gradeability. Figures for grade
ability of different machines should be
related to comparable procedures and
conditions. In leaflets and literature theoretical gradeability is stated in accordance
with ISO8811.

Many factors influence traction,

the following being especially
applicable to soil compactors:

risk of the drum or wheels spinning

and there by consuming all the
hydraulic power.

Drum drive
Drum drive improves traction
because it permits the entire weight
of the roller to be used to develop
the tractive effort. It is particularly suitable on thick layers and
difficult materials, for example
uniformly graded dry sand (dry
It may also help gradeability,
i.e. the ability of the roller to work
on inclines. Adding a flow-divider
for the wheel and drum-drive
hydraulics will also help improve
Traction control and anti-spin
systems further improve the traction by reducing or eliminating the

Drum diameter
and static linear load
A large drum diameter and low static linear load results in a low angle
of approach to the material being
compacted and the larger the drum
diameter and the lower the static
linear load, the lower the angle of
approach. Consequently there is
less resistance to rolling.
Weight distribution between the
tractor and drum module
Without drum drive, a fifty-fifty
split between the weight of front
and rear modules indicates satisfactory traction. The heavier the
tractor module is in relation to

The angle of approach influences

the resistance to rolling. If the drum
is small and heavy it will exert a
horizontal force which
in turn produces a higher
rolling resistance which
may increase the need
for engine power.



the drum module, the better the

traction. Traction can be improved
by ballasting the tyres with water
or by opting for a model with
drum drive (a standard feature on
a number of soil compactors with
heavy drums).
The size and tread of the tyres
The section width, section depth
and rim diameter of the tyres
on rollers with pneumatic drive
wheels are all decisive to the grip
the tyres exert on the underlying
surface. Diamond tread tyres provide sufficient grip for the majority
of the applications at hand. Tractor
type tread tyres are available when
additional traction is required.
Drive transmission
The power and torque of the hydra
ulic motor, choice of gear ratio
and axle characteristics (planetary
drive, no-spin differential) are
correlated to the ability of a roller
to cope with inclines.
Anti-spin systems improve the
traction by monitoring and avoiding spinning wheels or drums.
Power is transferred to the drum
or wheel with the best traction.


Turning radius inner
Turning radius outer
Wheel base
Lateral minimum overhang
Curb clearance
Speed range

With a small turning radius, the

machine is relatively easy to
handle in confined spaces. Minimal
overhang improves the capability
of the roller in tight quarter work.
High ground and curb clearance
allows the machine to steer clear of
obstacles. A 010 km/h speed range
is adequate to cover all normal
applications. High transport speed
can be an advantage when moving
rollers on a large job-site. Low reverse speed is of no importance for
transport but can affect compaction
capacity as passes are normally
made in forward and reverse. Good
all-round visibility is essential to
manoeuvrability as rollers work in
both forward and reverse modes.
It is vital that the driver has a clear
view of the drum edges, even with
the drum at maximum offset. Some
tandem rollers have the possibility
to offset the drums up to 1200 mm
to facilitate rolling alongside kerb
stones and around curves. This
gives an option to shift the centre
of gravity in order to be able to
work on weak shoulders. It also
increases the surface capacity when
performing finish rolling.

also with offset drums, is one of

the advantages with this concept
Fixed frame with pivot steering

A fixed frame roller can steer the

front and rear drum individually
or in combination to re-create the
tracking of an articulated roller.
This concept allows for a large
offset distance, however, the drum
edge visibility is then sacrificed.
Fixed frame roller are also shorter
than the articulated ones making
for better manoeuvrability and
easier transportation.


An asphalt roller must have a satis

factory water sprinkling system
to prevent pick-up on the drums.
Modern asphalt rollers have a

pump-driven system, as opposed

to gravity fed systems which may
malfunction especially when the
roller is working on inclines.
Plastic tanks and hoses prevent
corrosion to the system. Due to
the difficulty of finding clean
sprinkler-water on some job-sites,
it is very important to have a well
working filtering system. The system should consist of at least two
and preferably three filters: tank
inlet, in-line filter at the pump and
at each nozzle. It is also desirable
to have a back-up system with an
extra sprinkler pump and additional
sprinkler bars. The tank volume
should be large enough for a normal
eight hour working day. Sprinkler
timer is a very useful feature to help
reducing the water usage.

Frame concepts
Tandem rollers are typically built
according to one of the two dominating frame concepts:
Articulated steering, with or
without optional pivot steering

The articulated roller provides good

tracking of the two drums with a
central articulation joint. With addi
tional pivot steering it is possible
to create an offset between the
drums. Good drum edge visibility,




A well-sorted, comfortable
operator station simplifies
the operators job and
thus contributes to better
roller performance.

Emission rating
Make and model
Rated power at ......
Fuel tank capacity

Naturally, the engine has to have

a large enough output to allow
the roller to function properly. In
addition, it must have adequate
reserve power to counter any drop
in power as the engine wears over
the years, as well as a reserve for
working at high altitudes.
Fuel tank capacity should permit work for at least one working
shift. The noise level should be low
to give the operator and those close
to the machine a better environment in which to work. Low emission
engines reduce the environmental
impact. Additional systems that
constantly control the engine RPM
in accordance with the power
required by the machine and automatically reduces engine RPM to
idle when the machine is standing
can significantly reduce the fuel
consumption. Emission regulations govern the level of emission
control the engine must relate to.
This depends on the market where
the machine is to be used.
After treatment systems for
the higher emission control stages
(EU/EPA) require low or ultra-low
sulphur diesel (below 15 ppm
sulphur). This requirement limits
the markets where such machines
can be used.


Shipping weight
Overall width
Overall length
Overall height

Overall length, width and height

plus shipping weight have a direct
bearing on transportation. Local
haulage restrictions also have to
be taken into consideration. A total
machine height below three meters
significantly reduces transportation
cost on many markets. The choice
of trucks is far greater for lower


The following information is

rarely mentioned in specification
pamphlets, and will require a more
detailed talk with a manufacturers


Operator comfort
The more comfortable an operator
is, the better the performance.
The operator station must promote
comfort. The platform should be
well insulated against vibrations
to prevent excess fatigue and the
ambient noise levels should not
disturb the well-being or concentration of the operator. Good allround visibility is essential to be
able to perform the job safely.
In addition, all controls should
be positioned within easy reach
of the seat, and the operator panel
should be logically sorted and easy
to read. Tachometers/hour meters,
voltmeters, fuel and temperature
gauges all contribute to making life
easier. A movable swivel seat, integrated with the most vital controls
improves driver ergonometric as
it allows him/her to place the seat
where it gives the best overview
of the area to be rolled.


Safety is vital not only for the operator but for those working close to
the roller as well.
The brake system must be active
on both drums in asphalt rollers and
on both drum and drive-wheels on
a single drum roller. This should
also be backed up by an emergency
system, both hand applied or automatically applied as the hydraulic
pressure drops. A parking brake is
also required.
Most accidents happen when
the operator is getting on or off the
roller, so attention should be paid
to non-slip platforms, safety rails
around the operator area, and the
provision of secure footholds up
to the platform. ROPS (Roll-Over
Protection Systems) or safety cabs
with built in ROPS protection
must be on the list of optional
equipment to enhance operator
safety. For many markets this is
a requirement.
Stoppages in large earth-moving or
asphalt surfacing operations are extremely costly. Machine availability
is therefore crucial.

A roller that operates with very

few stoppages due to breakdowns
should prove to be an economical
investment. The acquisition price
is in no way decisive to the overall
economy of the machine, a fact that
should never be overlooked when
buying a roller.
High machine availability is a
decisive factor in determining the
profitability of a roller. It depends
not only on quality engineering but
also on good serviceability, which
itself is a function of easy accessibility to all vital components and an
efficient spare parts service to make
sure that the machine stays up and
running as much as possible.
Service and maintenance
instructions, operators instructions
and workshop manuals should be
available in major languages.
Easy daily maintenance is
essential on any machine: ready
access to lubrication points, filters,
etc. will make life easier for an
operator and help ensure that the
job gets done. It is an advantage
if the roller has as few lubrication
points as possible.

ROPS that include a seat-belt provide protection for the operator in the event of a
roll-over. Combined with a Falling Object Protection System (FOPS) it also shields
the operator from falling debris when operating in a trench. Reverse alarms help
increase safety when reversing.

It is a great benefit if the roller can
operate over a wide range of field
conditions, for example on different
types of soil, terrain, and at high
altitudes. A rollers ability to do so
will be of great value to the user.
The adaptability of the equipment may also be a decisive factor
in the economy. For example,
vibratory tandem rollers are attractive because they are suitable for
both asphalt and base and sub-base
Self-propelled vibratory rollers
which can be switched from smooth
to pad-foot drums are also at a
premium. With an interchangeable
drum, all the compaction work
can be done by one unit. This cuts
acquisition costs and will also help
keep down maintenance and spare
parts expenditure. Pad foot shells
reduce the amplitude on smooth
drum soil compactors, but can
be an acceptable compromise for
converting a smooth drum roller to
a pad foot version for shorter times.

As a rule easy access means easy

maintenance which in turn means less





Static smooth drum rollers were the first type of
mechanical equipment used
for soil and asphalt compaction. They are often used together with pneumatic tired
and/or vibratory rollers.

There are two main types of static

smooth drum roller: the threewheel version and the two-wheel
tandem version. The conventional
three-wheel model has two large
driven rear drums and a smaller
front drum that steers the roller.
Modern three-wheel rollers have
three large driven drums of equal
diameter as well as articulated
This section defines the data
used to compare static smooth
drum rollers. It also serves as a
basic guide to what to look for
when selecting a roller of this type.


drum width) The compaction effect

also depends on the drum diameter
and is further discussed later in this
Static linear load
On conventional 1015 ton static
three-wheel rollers, the static
linear load of the rear drums varies
between 50 and 80 kg/cm. For
asphalt compaction, the static
linear load should exceed 50 kg/
cm. The static linear load of the
front drum is some 30% lower than
that of the rear drums. Therefore,
the rear drums must pass over the
entire surface to achieve uniform
compaction. With modern types
of static three-wheel rollers (with
equally large diameter drums and
articulated steering), the three
drums have the same static linear
load when the roller is correctly
ballasted. This enables the roller
to achieve uniform compaction
across the entire roller width and
therefore follow simpler rolling
patterns. With a rolling width of
2,1 m, the roller can cover a width
up to 4 m (allowing for overlap) in
two parallel passes. The three large
driven drums ensure a smooth and
efficient rolling action.

Static linear load
Drum diameter

The compaction effort of a static

smooth drum roller is primarily a
function of static linear load (i.e.,
the weight of the roller divided by



The drum diameter of conventional

static tandem rollers varies between
1,2 and 1,5 m while drum widths
range from 1,1 to 1,4 m. Their static linear loads are somewhat lower
than those of static three-wheel
rollers of the same total weight.

Articulated static rollers with equal static

linear load on all drums. This assures
uniform compaction over the entire rolling

Rigid frame three-wheel static roller.

Rigid frame tandem roller (also known as

a deadweight roller).

Drums of equal
diameter provide
uniform compaction
effort across the
entire machine width,
which conventional
three-wheel rollers
do not.


A 1012 ton static roller normally requires 23 tons of
ballast. Water is the most convenient type of ballast.
The main ballast is normally placed in the drums and
thereby lowers the centre of gravity.
Drum overlap
There should be an overlap of at least 50 mm, and
drums should overlap when turning.

Articulated centrepivot steering ensures

proper drum overlap
and equal force over
the entire rolling width
even when turning or
changing lanes.

Drum diameter
The larger the diameter of the drum, the lower the
rolling resistance and angle of approach to the material
being compacted. In general, when the static linear load
exceeds 50 kg/cm, it is desirable if the drum diameter
is 1,500 mm or more.
Drum arc and pressure
The drum arc is the area in contact with the drum at
a given penetration depth. This factor must be taken
into account when determining the compaction effect
and a rollers suitability on, for example, a tender
(unstable) mix. These mixes are prone to excessive
movement and cracks during rolling.
A small contact area gives a large contact pressure; however, if a roller with a small drum diameter
causes a bow wave and surface cracks. A roller with
larger drums will give better rolling performance and
compaction effect. In general, the greater the drum
diameter and contact area the more suitable the roller
is on unstable mixes.

A conventional type of static roller is

liable to rut the asphalt surface.




Dual controls allow the operator to select the most confortable position for good all-round visibility.

The curves in the chart show that contact

pressure is lower at deeper penetration and
increases as the drum rides out of the material as compaction increases. Larger diameter
drums have a lower contact
pressure than small diameter drums at
the same penetration, however, despite this;
they may achieve better compaction effect
than a smaller diameter drum.
(See previous explanation in this section.)

As a rule, static smooth drum rollers achieve best compaction within
the speed range 3 to 6 km/h. Dual
speed hydraulic motors will provide for extra speed when moving
around the site.
Drum design
The edge of the drums should be
chamfered to reduce the risk of
drum marks on the asphalt mat, and
the drums must be equipped with
scrapers to allow the roller to work
on a wide range of materials.

A chamfered drum
edge will reduce drum-marks
on the asphalt


Some manufacturers of static

three-wheel rollers with articulated steering offer such options as
flexible front drums, and split rear
drums. Flexible front drums allow
the drums to tilt or flex 12 degrees
from the upright position which can
be advantageous when compacting
the road crown.
Split drums are used to eliminate pushing the material when
turning on sharp bends. However,
the operator can modify his rolling
pattern to eliminate the need for
such an option.
Sprinkler system
The roller must have an effective
sprinkler system to wet the drums
to avoid pick up when compacting
asphalt. Modern asphalt rollers
have pump-driven sprinklers. An
efficient system of filters (filling,
pump and nozzle filters) will
prevent stoppages due to blocked
Drive system
Hydrostatic drive gives the operator
full and easy control over speed,
stopping and change of direction.
With hydrostatic drive on all
drums the roller has good traction.
It makes the roller more versatile
and allows it to be used on unstable
asphalt mixes; it also eliminates
tendencies to shoving and lateral


Brake system
The brakes must be sufficiently
powerful to operate safely even
when the roller is fully ballasted.
Fail-safe systems backed up by an
emergency system are essential to
operator and worksite safety.

Operator comfort
The design of the machine should
allow for maximum operator safety,
comfort and visibility. Dual controls or swivel seat allow the operator to select the most comfortable
position for best safety, visibility
and, ultimately, productivity.
It is essential that the roller is
supported by a reliable mainten
ance service. It is best to check that
a full back-up service is available
where the roller is intended to be
used. This will ensure minimum
downtime should periodic servicing
or repair needs arise.
Regular checks of wear parts
and substances (i.e. water, oil, etc.)
should be conducted. Maintenance
must be easy to perform. Easily
accessible maintenance points and
long service intervals are important.






Towed pneumatic tyred rollers have been used for many
years. In the early days, rollers up to 200 tons were not only
used for compaction but also for identifying weak spots
(proof rolling).
These towed versions have almost disappeared with the
evolution of vibratory rollers for soil compaction; therefore
this section only deals with self-propelled PTRs.
It by no means covers all there is to know, for example,
about tyre technology; but rather it discusses fundamental
compaction technology when using PTRs, and the basic
points to consider when selecting such a roller.

Compaction performance
Wheel load
Tyre ground contact pressure
Tyre contact area

The compaction effect of a PTR is

primarily determined by two parameters: wheel load and the ground
contact pressure of the tyre, which
is correlated to the tyre inflation
pressure. (See next page.)
On thick layers large tyre with
a large contact area has a better


compaction effect than a smaller

tyre with the same ground contact
pressure. This is especially important in soil compaction.
Wheel load
The number of wheels directly
affects the wheel load. Pneumatic
tyred rollers in the medium heavy
class normally have seven or nine
wheels and a maximum wheel load
of over 3,000 kg which is sufficient
for most types of compaction.
Authorities often specify the
number of wheels and the minimum wheel load.


Wheel load can be calculated by

using the simple formula:
Total weight + ballast
Number of wheels

= Wheel load

Large amounts of ballast are normally needed to reach the required
operating weight. There are a
number of different ways to ballast
a PTR, for example iron bars,
sand and water. Scrap iron is used
as a permanent ballast. However,
it is time-consuming to load and
remove. In some cases iron bars
are fitted under the roller, but this
adds to the expense. Modern PTRs
have modular ballast systems
where weight can be conveniently
added. This simplifies ballasting
procedures and makes it easier
to keep track of the actual ballast
Normally 5 to 8 m are required
but as with iron bars loading and
unloading can be time-consuming.
On the other hand, sand is easier
to dispose of when the machine is
to be transported without ballast.
Sand also tends to dry out, so it has
to be checked from time to time to
ensure it is still wet.


General ground contact

pressure pattern
1. Standard diagonal type tyre
Particles are likely to move laterally.
Pressure range 0,30,9 MPa.
2. Radial tyre
More evenly distributed with variable
3. Wide-base tyre
Wide-base tyres cause less lateral
movement of the particles than
standard tyres. Pressure 0,4 MPa.

Ground contact pressure chart (CP2100/2700)

The main parts of a tyre


Tire inflation pressure (kPa)

240 350 480 620 720 830

Wheel load (kg)


Ground contact pressure (kPa)

200 240 270 300 330 340
220 260 300 330 350
240 280 340 380 400
250 310 360 410 440 480
260 330 390 440 480
270 330 410 460 490 540



Tire inflation pressure (psi)

50 70 90 105 120


Wheel load (lbs)


Ground contact pressure (psi)

29 35 39 44 47 49
31 38 44 48 51 55
35 41 49 55 58 62
37 45 52 60 64 69
38 47 57 64 70 75
39 48 59 66 71 78

Although easy to handle, the drawback of water is its low volumetric
weight. In addition, the ballast
tanks must be watertight. In some
cases a PTR equipped with a pump
and nozzles may be used for water
spreading. The pump, which is
electrically driven, fills and discharges the water.


Bead wire

This section deals with some

of the geometry of a tyre and a
tyres compaction characteristics.
There are three main types of tyre:

diagonal tyres, radial tyres and

low-profile, full flotation tyres
(which also include widebase
tyres). All major manufacturers of
industrial tyres produce diagonal
and radial types, whereas only a
couple offer widebase versions.
Diagonal and radial tyres are more
versatile and can be used at different pressures from 0,30,9 MPa
depending on the ply. They are
suitable for both soil and asphalt
compaction. However, a radial
tyre has a more even pressure
pattern than a diagonal tyre. This
reduces the risk of tyre marks in


Ply (number of layers)

the asphalt surface. Wide-base

tyres are used at a fixed pressure
of 0,4 MPa. They are suitable for
surface sealing and finish rolling
on asphalt. They are also used on
stabilised soil but are less suitable
on soil as they do not have the
same depth effect as diagonal and
radial tyres. The contact pattern
and pressure distribution for these
types of tyres are shown above.
As the pressure of a diagonal or
radial tyre can be varied, there will
be changes in the contact pattern.




Tyre overlap is important on a PTR, the

rear wheel cover the gaps left by the front
wheel. The result in full area coverage
with one pass of the roller.


Ground contact area and ground

contact pressure
During compaction the contact
area of the tyre changes constantly
as the material is compacted, and
as a result penetration decreases
with each pass. Values for ground
contact area are thus only comparable when measured on a flat hard
surface, such as a steel plate.
At present no gauges are available to indicate ground contact pressure so it is left to the operator to
judge the pressure. If the tyres sink
into the material, the tyre pressure
control system, more commonly
known as Air on the run or Air
on the go, can be used to reduce
the tyre pressure.
An increase in pressure will
also increase the pressure against
the ground.
The advantage of a central air
pressure control system is that it


allows the operator to maintain a

selected constant pressure on all
tyres during all phases of rolling.
In practice, it is impossible for
the operator to continually adapt
the tyre pressure to the prevailing
surface stability of the mix.
The table indicates the tyre
contact area and ground contact
pressure for different wheel loads
and tyre inflation pressures.
The front and rear tyres should
overlap by at least 3050 mm
at normal pressure. In order to
achieve uniform compaction effect,
and to avoid tyre marks on asphalt,
the overlap between pressure contact areas is more important. This
overlap can be checked by running
the roller on sand and checking the
penetration of the front and rear


Asphalt pick-up
During the initial rolling, all
PTRs will pick up asphalt unless
special measures are taken. Special anti-sticking agents such as
bio-degradable emulsion oils are
commonly available and should be
used. A common method to prevent
pick-up is to preheat the tyres by
running the roller on a surface
that has already been compacted
by steel wheel rollers and is still
hot. Little or no pick-up will occur
once the difference in temperature
between the asphalt mat and the
tyre is no more than 20 to 50 C.
Water from the sprinkler system is
then sufficient to prevent any pickup. However, the amount of water
must be reduced to an absolute
minimum since it cools the tyres.
Mats and scrapers also help minimise pick-up during the initial tyre
warm-up period. Skirts around the
rubber tyres help keep the tyres hot.
Tyre skirts are especially useful in
windy conditions.


Oscillating or pivoting wheels

PTRs should have oscillating or
pivoting wheels on at least one
axle. Oscillating wheels give better
results on soil compaction, but
pivoting wheels are sufficient for
asphalt. Normally only the front
axle oscillates or pivots.
Drive system
Mechanical transmission is
laborious to operate while modern
transmission systems, such as
power shift, hydrostatic and torque
converter allow for quick stopping
and starting and in general easy
A differential action on the rear
wheels will prevent shoving of the
material when turning. The front
wheels, which are non-driving,
have an automatic differential

Operators station

The net weight of the PTR is
approximately one third of the
maximum ballasted weight. As
the roller travels at relatively high

speeds between job sites and when

refuelling, the brakes must give
ample stopping capacity even when
the PTR is fully ballasted.

The following formula is used

to calculate surface capacity (A)
during soil and asphalt compaction:

Here, is the asphalt mix density

in tons/m. (Average value for is
2.3 tons/m.)

c x W x v x 1000

As drum width is a non-variable

for a given roller, the capacity can
only be affected by the number
of passes, roller speed and layer
Capacity is determined by drum
width (W), roller speed (v), layer
thickness after compaction (H) and
the number of passes (n).

One parameter that determines the
efficiency of a roller is its capacity.
The main factors to be taken into
consideration are:

Drum width
Roller speed
Layer thickness (after compaction)
Number of passes

Efficiency factor, c, (i.e. the practical capacity divided by theoretical

capacity. Depends on required
overlap, the effective time of operation, etc.
In practice the value of c can be
set at 0.50.6 for asphalt and 0.75
for soil.)


The corresponding volume capacity

for soils is then:
QS =

c x W x v x H x 1000


Asphalt compaction is measured in

tons per hour and is calculated by
the following formula:
QA =

c x W x v x H x 1000 x







The difference in size of cold
milling jobs can be huge,
they range from a small
preparation for a new overlay on a city street to a huge
multi-lane removal of the
complete asphalt overlay on
several kilometers of highway. Regardless of the size
of the job it is vital that the
selected machine performs
flawlessly and with the best
possible overall economy.

Operator ergonomics are important

along with easy access to all frequent service points. Fuel efficiency
and noise level are other parameters
to consider before buying a piece of
cold milling equipment.


Compact planers
Compact planers (rear loading)
Designed as either 3- or 4-wheeled
units they allow quick transportation and the highest manoeuvrability. Compact planers are equipped
with an easily removable rear
conveyor system for working in
confined areas, across a road or
cutting around manhole covers.
These types of machines are
normally operated by one operator
only. Typically several smaller
jobs are finished during one day
with compact planers. Loading of
the reclaimed asphalt pavement
is either by a short conveyor into
an e.g. wheeled loader bucket or
with a standard long conveyor,
loading a dump truck. In practice
most of the times due to the job
circumstances (patch work jobs) or
available space compact planers
are used without a conveyor. In
order to have limited left-overs,
the drum is located at the rear end
of the chassis for a short overhang.


Additionally the right rear leg can

be folded-in to ensure flush cutting
alongside curbs or walls. Due to
that skid steer loaders with drum
attachments, sometimes used for
small milling jobs, do not have the
same productivity and accuracy as
wheeled compact planers.
Drum design
The placement of tool holders and
tool spacing determine the application for the milling drum. As bit
changes are frequent it is important
that this activity can be done with
relative speed and ease.

Milling drum for a compact planer with

cutting bits and kicker plates.


Compact planer

As compact planers are used to cut
around man-hole covers it is vital
that they offer the best possible
manoeuvrability. They, literally,
need to turn on the spot in order to
perform as required.
Operators station
All frequent controls need to be
placed logically and within easy
reach of the operator. The platform
must provide safe access means as
well as proper guard rails etc. Good
all-round visibility and a low noise
level is important to provide a safe
and productive working environment. A vibration isolated platform
increases the operators comfort and
a roof helps protects from both sun
and rain.

A safe and well organized operators station is a vital part in assuring efficient, high
quality results.

Traction and drive system

The propulsion system moves the
machine and, together with the
drum drive system, has a large
influence on the productivity.
Powerful hydraulics and an antispin system helps ensure that the
machine performs as expected.
Compact dimensions and a roof
that can easily be lowered helps
keep transportation efforts and cost
to a minimum. Tie-down points
should be clearly marked and easy
to hook up to.

The engine needs to deliver sufficient power for the milling drum
as well as propulsion of the planers.
Fuel efficiency is a key factor for
an economical milling operation.
Maintaining a low noise level is a
vital working environment parameter, it is also important to reduce the
disturbance of the general public as
milling operations often take place
at night. National and international
agreements determine the level of
emission control that the engine is
required to meet.

Conveyor system
An efficient, low maintenance
conveyor system with sufficient
capacity loads the material onto
the waiting truck for transportation off site. The conveyor can
be swung to either side, thereby
enabling the truck to run on a
parallel track.
Sprinkling system
Water is essential to the cold
milling operation; a sufficiently
large water tank helps the machine
to stay productive and not have to
stop for replenishment. The water
is needed to cool and lubricate the
bits as well as to help reduce the
dust that is generated in the milling
process. Optimizing the water
usage helps operational efficiency.
Easy to drain sprinkler systems and
tanks decreases the risk of damage
due freezing.

Good traction is
a key element of
a compact planer.

Water is required for cooling and cleaning of

the milling drum during operation.
A large water tank assures efficient
operation with few stops for refilling.




Large planers
Large planers (front discharge)
High capacity machines are equip
ped with a front loading conveyor
system as part of a two stage con
veyor system for efficient and quick
loading as well as with crawlers
instead wheels for reduced ground
pressure and better traction. The
primary conveyor picks up the
material from the cutter housing
and conveys it to the front part
of the machine, where it hands
over the milled material onto the
discharge conveyor. The discharge
conveyor is slideable to either side
to allow following a truck in a
curve or unload the material to the
side for later pick up. An efficient
transport organization is required
as the hourly production is quite
high. Well prepared logistics with
harmonized cutting speed, enough
dump trucks as well as water and
fuel tank trucks for refilling at any
time makes the difference for a
successful milling job. Sometimes
slowing down in order to allow a
constant milling process or cutting
hard asphalt pavement in two layers
is advisable. Sometimes parts of
or all the RAP remains on the road
as a base course for less demanding
road applications.

Large planer

Drum design
A high capacity drum is the key
performance part on a large planer;
it is in the interaction between the
drum and the asphalt that the actual
milling takes place. The wear on
the bits, and sometimes the holders
can be high. Fast and easy bit
changes are important to ensure
productivity on a large planer. The
drum must be designed for easy
replacement and maintenance.
Operator station
The large planer is a big piece of
equipment. Cameras are used to
help give the operator good overview of the working areas and all
corners of the machine. Logically
placed controls and a degree of
automation further improve both

Quick change tool holders are important to speed up the

exchange of the cutting bits.



quality and productivity. Safe

access and proper guard rails are
important components in creating
a safe working operators station.
Traction and drive system
The track drive need to be long lasting and should only require basic
maintenance. Good weight distribution in the machine helps provide
good traction. The hydraulic drive
system should have proportional
speed control and an anti-spin
system for best performance.

A well-designed operators station with safe access and an

ergonomical operators panel helps the operator stay comfortable and efficient.


Conveyor system
A front-loading conveyer that
can be raised and lowered as well
as swung sideways allows the
operator full flexibility regarding
adaptation to the truck that is being
used as well as where the truck
need to be; in the same track as the
planer or on a parallel one. Joystick
controls provide safe and accurate
steering of the conveyor.

A swing conveyor improves

the flexibility with regards to
placing the trucks. This improves the
operational efficiency.

Sprinkler system
Large amounts of water are required to keep the bits cool and the
dust under control. A high pressure
sprinkler system uses minimal
amounts of water while, at the same
time keeping the cutting bits clean
and cool. Water replenishment

on-the-run is a good feature to keep

productivity high as even a larger
water tank need to be topped up on
a long shift.
The engine is the heart of a large
planer. The drum drive is taken
straight from the crank shaft and
hydraulic pumps provide power to
the propulsion system as well as the
levelling and other functions.
Fuel efficiency is important as
well as low noise. Engine emission
ratings are controlled be national
and international laws and the
engine should conform to these.
Accessibility to frequent service
points should be easy and safe.

Achieving 100% productivity is virtually impossible
regardless what kind of construction equipment it
concerns; this is also true for a cold planer. This is due
to an array of potential scheduled and non-scheduled
interruptions (Water/fuel refill, tool change, waiting
for a truck, traffic etc). For this reason the theoretical
productivity must be multiplied with an efficiency
factor Fe. Fe normally rates from 80% for motor way
jobs down to 40% for city jobs.

Actual productivity
Theoretical productivity

(Normally 0,40,8)

It must also be noticed that the loose volume of the

milled material is higher than the volume of the box
that was milled, bank volume . This explains the
swell factor fs.
fs =

Loose volume
Bank volume

(normally 1,21,5)

The bank volume has a density close to the pavement

density (j). For asphalt, j averages around 2,3 tons/m.
The working speed is assumed to be an average
hourly speed but expressed in m/min (v x fe) This
means that high productivity is defined by a high and
continuous working speed as well as few stops.

The working speed is assumed to be an average hourly

speed expressed in m/min (v).
This means that high productivity is defined by
a high and continuous working speed as well as few
stops and interruptions which improves the efficiency
The following formulas are useful in calculating
the productivity and for evaluation of daily or hourly
performance to establish experience based data on the
swell and efficiency factors.

Qs = W x v x 60 x e (m2/h)

Bank volume:

Qbv = W x v x 60 x e x D (m3/h)

Loose volume:

Qlv = W x v x 60 x e x D x fs (m3/h)


Qw = W x v x 60 x e D x (ton/h)


W is Working width (m)

v is

D is Cutting depth (m)

Working speed (m/min)

e is Efficiency factor

fs is Swell factor

is Bank density (Typically around

(Typically between 0,4 and 0,8)

(Typically between 1,2 and 1,5)
2,3 tons per cubic meter)






Selecting the right asphalt
paver is the cornerstone of
a successful paving operation. The choice is primarily
based on parameters such
as working width, surface
conditions, required mano
euvrability, etc.; but the overall quality of the asphalt paver
and its performance are equally important.
The design and effectiveness of
the major assemblies and systems,
for example the screed and the
material distribution and drive systems, should be carefully evaluated
as it is these that will ultimately
determine the asphalt pavers capabilities and productivity.
The following section provides
a basic guide to what to look for
when choosing paving equipment.


Tractor unit



Tracked asphalt pavers

Asphalt pavers have separate track
drives for good manoeuvrability
and require an electronic synchronising system to enable the machine to run straight. (The need will
depend on track length.)

Tracked Asphalt Pavers
Operating weight
Weight tractor
Weight screed
Track dimensions (length x width)
Wheeled Asphalt Pavers
Operating weight
Rear axle weight
Weight tractor
Weight screed
Number of drive wheels
Tyre sizes

An asphalt paver must be able to

cope with the conditions it is likely
to encounter on site. Its ability
to do so will largely depend on
whether the tractor has crawler
tracks or pneumatic rubber tyre
wheels. The choice between these
two rests on a number of factors:


Wheeled asphalt pavers

Two front axles on a common centre bearing increase the self-levelling properties of the tractor unit.
The weight balance and ground
pressure per wheel give better
traction on soft ground. Additional
front-wheel drive can increase the
traction by up to 25%. Anti-spin
Control systems can be either
electronically or hydraulically
controlled by load sensors. The system avoids spinning drive wheels
regardless of surface conditions and
varying load.


If the asphalt paver is to work
on un-bound materials, tracks
are better than wheels as they
provide greater traction. A wheeled
asphalt paver is faster and easier to
transport than a tracked one, and
is often preferred for work on hard

Tracked asphalt pavers are used for laying large widths, close to 10 m with
a hydraulically extendable screed and 14 m with a fixed width screed.

Working width
On wide working widths, traction is
important owing to the large forces
acting on the screed. In general,
crawlers provide better traction
than wheels.
Assuming that the asphalt paver
is working under normal conditions,
machines with two drive wheels
can be used for widths up to about
67 m, machines with 4 drive
wheels for widths up to 8 meters
(depending on screed weight),
and tracked machines for widths
up to 10 m and more.
Mix design
The type of mix also has an effect
on traction. While bituminous
materials above 150C have a
comparatively high flow-ability,
cold asphalt mixes and stabilised or
unbound gravel bases have a higher
internal resistance to movement,
and will thus require greater

The paving width is limited for wheeled asphalt pavers. Pavers with a single drive axle can
pave widths of up to around 6,6 m, whereas models with four or six wheel drive can pave
up to 7,5 or 9 m respectively.

Screed type
As heavy screeds require more traction than light screeds, the screed
(telescopic, fixed, tamper, vibration
etc.) should be selected prior to
choosing the tractor unit.




A wheeled asphalt paver moves easily

from site to site on public roads.

Shipping weight
Overall width
Overall length
Overall height
Travelling speed

Low-bed trailers are needed to

move tracked asphalt pavers
between job sites, whereas wheeled
asphalt pavers can travel under
their own power, provided that the
site is within reasonable distance,
and provided that they have relatively high transportation speeds. If
a trailer transporter is not required
costs can be kept down.
Most tracked pavers travel at
about 4 km/h whereas wheeled
machines reach speeds of around
20 km/h, whereas tracked machines
travel at significantly lower speeds.
This means that wheeled asphalt
pavers are faster around the site,
and can move quickly from one
end of the mat to the other to start
laying again.


Make and model
Rated effect at ......
Fuel tank capacity
Cooling system
Optional engines

As with any piece of construction

machinery, the engine should provide power with economy. It should
be a recognized brand so spare
parts are easy and fast to obtain.
High tonnage work requires an
engine big enough to withstand the
pressures of long hours of paving.
Water-cooled engines are less
noisy owing to their water jacket
and they meet environmental requirements for low emission engines.
Low fuel consumption is an
important parameter. Hydraulic
systems that allow the machine full
functionality even when the engine
is not running at full speed are useful. The systems can be automatic
and set the engine rpm according to
the power required by the machine.


They can also be manual and allow

the operator to select the engine
speed desired on the required
power output

Material distribution
Hopper capacity
Number of conveyors
Auger diameter
Flow-through capacity

Material flow
A smooth uninterrupted material
flow through the asphalt paver is a
prerequisite to a effective job. The
material distribution system must
provide a constant supply from the
truck to the screed. Three major
assemblies need to be considered:
Hopper, Conveyor system and
Auger system
The size of the hopper is important.
Large hoppers can accept large
quantities of mix, helping to pro-


The material is transported

from the hopper via the conveyors
to the augers at the back of the paver. The
augers distribute the material evenly in front
of the screed. Reversible augers means
that the material can be transported in any
direction required.

long the cool-off time of the mix.

In addition, a large hopper enables
the asphalt paver to continue to
work while the feeder trucks are
being interchanged.
The hopper should be carefully
designed to allow an easy flow of
material down to the conveyors.
Cold corners must be avoided
since the cold lumps of asphalt
may destroy the asphalt mat if
they leave the hopper and enter the
conveyor system. The sides must
fold upward and inward to help the
exchange of material in the hopper.
Independently folding sides must
permit paving in restricted areas,
along walls, etc.
The purpose of the conveyors
(bar feeders) is to transfer the mix
from the hopper to the rear of the
machine ahead of the screed.
An asphalt paver has one or two
conveyors depending on its size.
Large asphalt pavers working at
high lay-down rates require two
conveyors. The speed and size of
the conveyors as well as the cross
section of the channel govern the

capacity of an asphalt paver. The

flow-through capacity is defined as
the maximum quantity of material
transferred from the hopper to the
rear of the asphalt paver within a
given time. A common measurement for this figure is the lay-down
rate expressed in tons per hour. In
modern material feed systems, the
two conveyors work independently
of each other. They also work
independently of the auger system.
There is therefore a separate drive
system for each conveyor.
As the conveying speed is
monitored and proportionally
controlled by an automated system,
discharge gates (flow gates) are not
Auger system
The auger system (spiral screw
conveyor) distributes the mix evenly and continuously in front of the
screed. There are essentially two
types of auger system: the conventional type driven by a central gear
unit and a version that has separate
drive units at the outer ends of the
auger. Both systems have their

The centrally-driven auger is easier

to maintain. In the end-driven
auger, there is no obstacle to the
free flow of material as the drives
are placed at the end. Both systems
give good results provided that the
central auger drive box is kept very
narrow. The speed of the auger
should be able to be proportionally controlled and automatically
adjusted by material limit switches
or touch-free ultrasonic sensors,
which are increasingly used for
auger speed control. The capacity
of the auger is governed by its diameter, the pitch of the flights and its
maximum rpm. The auger system
should be easy to raise and lower
to allow for optimum material
flow for different layer thickness.
Correct height is a precondition of
constant and stable screed position
when it comes to evenness and
height level. The lowest point of
the auger should be at a distance
above the screed plate equal to approximately five times the maximum
particle size. Adjustment should be
quick and simple.
Ratchets or hydraulic systems
are both suitable.




Capacity is ultimately a question of
the supply of asphalt to the asphalt
paver. A continuous supply of
material means that a large amount
of material can be laid down.
The capacity of an asphalt paver
is determined by the paving width,
the layer thickness and the average
speed of the asphalt paver.

Screed type
Screed weight
Heating system

The screed is the most important part

of the paving machine. It is, in effect,
the main tool of the asphalt paver.
Wear parts
All components that come into
contact with the mix during the
laying process are subject to wear,

and should therefore be made of

high grade materials. The bottom
plates and the tamper assembly,
the conveyor chains and bars and
the auger flights, are fast wearing
as they are constantly exposed
to the material. The speed with
which they wear out depends
on the quality of the steel and,
of course, the type and amounts
of material passing through the
asphalt paver.
Heating systems
There are three principal heating
systems for screeds: diesel burners,
gas burners and electrical heaters.
Gas is cleaner than diesel and
requires less sophisticated techno
logy. Gas systems incorporate a
fail-safe device to protect the crew
against the risk of explosion.
Electrical heating systems require
an extra generator, which entails
an extra cost. However, electrical
heating is convenient and nearly
as fast as other heating systems.
Gas heating needs 2030 minutes

The rigidity of the extended

screed is crucial to paving
results. Without a robust
telescopic system the screed
sags, especially at the ends.



to heat the screed and an electrically heated system requires 3045

minutes. It is also easy to thermos
tatically control the temperature.
The choice of system may ultimately rest on the supply of fuel. Gas is
often not readily available, whereas
there will invariably be a supply of
diesel to run the asphalt paver. The
temperature settings are infinitely
variable. However, to prevent the
risk of overheating, the screed
heater should be thermostatically
controlled within a limited range.
Fixed screeds
As the name implies, fixed screeds
cannot be hydraulically extended;
they require bolt-on extension boxes for widths wider than the basic
one. The attaching and aligning of
the extensions takes time. However,
a fixed screed is normally set up
for one working width and kept
there. If you work on a wide variety
of widths, a telescopic screed is a
better choice.
Telescopic screeds
Telescopic screeds allow the ope
rator to change the paving width
at the flick of a switch during the
laying process thus avoiding timeconsuming boxing out. Today,
the majority of asphalt pavers are
equipped with telescopic screeds.
The extended screeds must
be rigid to ensure correct levels
over the entire paving width.
Wide-width paving (up to 9,7 m)
requires an effective guide and
support system for the hydraulically operated extensions.
The adjustment to align the
telescopic extensions with the main
screed should be quick and simple,
require no special tools, and should
be able to be performed while


Tamper bar

Bottom plate


Major quality aspects in a screed are rigidity and high

quality wear parts, for example, tamper bar (1),
bottom plate (2) and secondary compactor (3).
The latter is only found on high-compaction screeds.

Paving Performance
a) Tamping screed
Screed weight
Contact area of tamping
Amplitude (tamper stroke)
b) Vibrating screed
Screed weight
Contact area of bottom plate

Screeds can be equipped with a

tamping mechanism, a vibratory
system or a combination of the two.
The compaction effort of a screed
is primarily determined by:
Screed weight and contact area
of tamping or vibrating elements
Paving speed
Frequency and amplitude of
tamping or vibrating elements
The State of the compacting
elements (tamper contour and
The state of the screed plates

Screed weight
and contact area
Harsh mixes and stabilised or
unbound gravel require relatively
heavy screeds to obtain the desired
pre-compaction and a uniform, even
surface. Conversely, relatively light
screeds should be used on unstable,
tender asphalt mixes where there
is a risk of the screed sinking into
the mat.
Paving speed
The paving speed has an influence
on the paver pre-compaction.
The higher the speed, the lower
the density achieved.
The narrow contact area of
tampers precludes fast paving
As the speed of the asphalt paver increases, the number of tamper
impacts per unit area decreases,
and consequently the material
feeding effect of the tamper also
decreases. If the speed is too high
compared with the tamper activity,
it may result in an uneven surface
with poor texture. The actual speed
limit depends on the width of the

tampers and the frequency at which

they operate.
Vibrating screeds with a large
contact area allow the fastest paving
speeds. High compaction screeds
require speeds to be kept between
24 m/min to achieve the desired
high compaction effect.
Frequency and amplitude
Tamping units work with a vertical
stroke (double amplitude) of 46 mm,
and a vibration speed in the range
of 5001500 rpm (825 Hz). Vibrating screeds have lower amplitude
but a higher frequency (up to 3000
rpm/50 Hz).
State of compacting elements
New tampers or vibratory mechanisms together with new screed
plates will naturally produce the
best overall pre-compaction and
surface evenness. For instance,
the material feed will vary over
the working width and might
result in drag marks or an open
textured mat if the tamper blades
are worn.




Screed load system

A screed load system can also be
useful in some cases. The system
transfers part of the weight of the
tractor unit via the screed lift rams
to the screed. This provides additional load to the screed and enables it
to maintain the desired level after a
long stoppage. Loss of mat temperature would otherwise decrease the
compactability of the mix and raise
the screed. The result would be an
un-even asphalt surface.

Screed levelling systems

Levelling systems
The screed side arms are attached
to hydraulic levelling cylinders
which control the level of the screed.
The cylinders can be extended or
retracted at the flick of a switch.
The tow-point position determines
the layer thickness.
Screed stop system
The screed should always be
able to be locked in position to
stop it sinking into the mat when
the asphalt paver stops. Modern
machines have a hydraulic screedstop system which automatically
locks the screed lift rams when the
asphalt paver stops during a paving
operation. When the asphalt paver
restarts, it automatically releases
the pressure.
Screed unload system
A screed unload system should
be provided to prevent the screed
sinking when laying extremely soft
materials. The system transfers
part of the screed weight via the
screed lift rams to the tractor unit.
The rams give the screed additional
support and allow it to maintain the
desired level. The unload system
is also useful to improve traction as
it transfers weight from the screed
to the drive wheels.


Integrated tack coating

An asphalt paver with an integrated bitumen tank can provide tack
coating and asphalt paving in one
step. These types of asphalt pavers
are suitable for road maintenance
applications on thin layers (1,5 x
maximum stone size) for top layers
(wearing courses).
Automatic levelling system
Precision laying requires modern
electronic systems that automatically control the material thickness.
There are two main systems: the
grade controller, which helps to
maintain laying thickness, i.e.
the surface evenness; and the
slope controller which checks the
cross-slope of a layer.
String line systems are used in
conjunction with a grade controller
to ensure the longitudinal evenness
of the mat where there is no other
appropriate surface to work off.
Electronic grade controller
A grade controller, working off a
reference surface, automatically
maintains the height of the screed
and the layer thickness of the
material. For best results the reference surface needs to be as level
as possible. Touch-free ultrasonic
sensors that scan the reference
surface are the most common type.
Where there is a level surface, such
as a kerbstone, a short control ski
(approximately 30 cm) can be used
to sense the variations in height.
Short skis are also used as a joint


matcher when laying a new lane

parallel to the one that is already in
place. Long control skis (between
69 m) are used when the existing
surface is not fully even. They ride
over bumps and dips, averaging out
the longitudinal errors of the surface being paved. That is why they
are also known as averaging beams.
An ultra-sonic Big Ski can be up to
13 meters long.
The grade controller can also
work off string lines. These are
rigged up when no accurate surface
is available to work off, such as
on new road constructions. Laser
systems may be used to control the
screed level in open areas, such
as parking lots, playgrounds or
Electronic slope controller
The slope controller maintains
the specified left and right-hand
cross-slope of the mat during the
laying procedure. It detects any
deviation of the screed from a
pre-set cross-slope and generates
the necessary signals to restore the
original setting.
The slope controller works off
the screed itself, and is attached by
a mechanical link system connected to the left and right side of the
levelling systems
Computerised levelling systems are
also available under various brand
names. Their use requires qualified
people on the paving team and
good understanding between jobsite management and the surveyor
personnel. Computerised systems
use the ground surface as the refe
rence for the grade sensor. The
layer thickness is calculated from
specified height reference points
on the ground and the planned
top surface of the wearing course.
Before starting agreement has to
be reached where the height points
have to be surveyed relative to the
centre of the road.


3D control systems
3D control systems that work in
relation to digital design files can
be used to control the paving where
the quality demands are high. The
systems are controlled and positioned from a satellite navigation
system (GNSS) and a laser. Using
a robotized total station is another
option to provide positioning information to the control system

General features
Rails should be provided in all
exposed areas to ensure that an
operator cannot fall off. Safety
guards should also be provided
over the auger to stop anything
from falling down into the system.
The screed covers and platform
should have good anti-skid protection. Fail-safe heating systems
will prevent the risk of explosion
and injury to the crew. On wheeled
asphalt pavers, the main hydrostatic
braking system must be backed up
by a hand brake and an emergency
foot brake.
Operator comfort
Paving can be arduous work. The
more comfortable and relaxed
the operator, the better the asphalt
paver will perform. All controls
must be within easy reach.

The control console should slide

easily across the platform to give
the operator good all-round visibility. A clear view of the supply truck,
augers and screed is essential to
effective paving.
Automatic feed control takes
pressure off the operator and allows
the operator to concentrate on
steering and pushing the truck. It
also provides for trouble-free truck
changes. However, it must be possible to switch to manual control,
if required. Seats should be comfortable and easily adjusted to the
height and build of the operator.

Versatility depends on the type of
screed used and the ability of the
asphalt paver to cope with different
A telescopic screed for example,
is far more versatile than a fixed
screed as it can pave around obstacles.
A machine that can lay sub-base
material one day, and a smooth
wearing course the next, and that
can pave on a four-metre width
on one site and a seven-metre one
on another, will always be more

The availability of an asphalt
paver is a function of the integral
quality of the machine. A high
integral quality results from the
wear resistance of the screed plate,
auger and conveyor chains, the
ability of the engine and hydraulics to withstand heavy tonnage
as well as the proximity of good
service back-up and spare parts.
Availability is enhanced if the
manufacturer uses well-known,
components throughout the
asphalt paver. That is because
easier access to replacement parts
heightens availability.

Maintenance and Service

Daily maintenance is essential
to keep an asphalt paver up and
working. Greasing, checking of hydraulic fluid and oil levels as well
as spraying with a cleaning agent
must all be as easy as possible to
help ensure that the work is done.
In this respect, central lubrication
systems, easily removable side
panels and deck plates, easy access
to oil drains and clearly visible
level gauges are a great help.

Modern command units with LC displays and PLC control provide up to

the minute status control, fail-safe protection and less down time.

Fold up covers and removable side plates

mean easy maintenance and short downtimes.








PMI 3492 0270 01