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Qualities of an asphalt

To consider an asphalt road in good service, it must posses in its full life the
following qualities:
1. The surface must be free from cracks or raveling due to shrinkage and fatigue
2. It must withstand weather condition, including the effect of surface water, heat,
cold and oxidation.
3. It must be resistant to internal moisture such as water vapor.
4. It must posses a tight or porous impermeable surface as the case may be
suitable to underlying base or sub-base.
5. It must be smooth riding and skid free surface.
The success of asphalt pavement lies or depends on the construction quality of the
sub-grade and the base of course. On the contrary, pavement failure would be
considered as a foregone conclusion.

Manufacturing Asphalt Mixes (Mixing)

Like any good recipe, the ingredients should be high quality, they should be
carefully measured, and they should be cooked at exactly the right temperatures.
At the asphalt plant, the aggregates are precisely blended into a gradation and then
dried and heated to the right temperature. The mixture is then completely coated
with liquid asphalt cement. There are two types of asphalt plants, batch and drum.
Drum mix plants dry the aggregate and blend it with asphalt in a continuous
process in the same piece of equipment.
batch plants, the rocks are first dried and heated, then added to the pugmill and
blended with the asphalt one batch at a time.

Transporting and Placing Asphalt Mixtures

Once mixed, the asphalt can be loaded into trucks and transported to the job site.
It is then placed on your asphalt paving project using a paver. Once the paver lays
the asphalt mix, it is compacted with rollers until it has just the right number of air
voids, as determined in the mix design or recipe.
Hint: The temperatures are very important. The best temperatures for mixing,
transporting, laying and compacting your asphalt pavement are determined based
on how stiff (viscous) the asphalt is, how far and long it must be transported to your
project site, and when it will be compacted. If it is compacted too hot, the air voids

will be too low and the mat will shove and rut. If it is too cold, it will be difficult to
compact and the air voids will be too high.

The Manufacturing Process

Crude petroleum is separated into its various fractions through a distillation process
at the oil refinery. After separation, these fractions are further refined into other
products which include asphalt, paraffin, gasoline, naphtha, lubricating
oil, kerosene, and diesel oil. Since asphalt is the base or heavy constituent of crude
petroleum, it does not evaporate or boil off during the distillation process. Asphalt is
essentially the heavy residue of the oil refining process.

Distilling the crude

1 The refining process starts by piping the crude petroleum from a storage
tank into a heat exchanger or tube heater where its temperature is rapidly
raised for initial distillation. It then enters an atmospheric distillation tower
where the lighter and more volatile components, or fractions, vaporize and
are drawn off through a series of condensers and coolers. It is then separated
for further refining into gasoline (considered a "light" distillate), kerosene
(considered a "medium" distillate), diesel oil (considered a "heavy" distillate),
and many other useful petroleum products.
The heavy residue from this atmospheric distillation process is commonly
called topped crude. This topped crude may be used for fuel oil or further
processed into other products such as asphalt. Vacuum distillation may
remove enough high boiling fractions to yield what is called a "straight run"
asphalt. However, if the topped crude contains enough low volatile
components which cannot be economically removed through distillation,
solvent extractionalso known as solvent deasphaltingmay be required to
produce asphalt cement of the desired consistency.

Cutting back

2 Asphalt may next be blended or "cut back" with a volatile substance,

resulting in a product that is soft and workable at a lower temperature than
pure asphalt cement. When the cut-back asphalt is used for paving or
construction, the volatile element evaporates when exposed to air or heat,
leaving the hard asphalt cement. The relative speed of evaporation or

volatility of the cutting agent determines whether a cutback asphalt is

classified as slow, medium, or rapid-curing. Heated asphalt cement is mixed
with residual asphaltic oil from the earlier distillation process for a slow-curing
asphalt, with kerosene for medium-curing, and with gasoline or naphtha for
the rapid-curing asphalt.


3 The asphalt cement may also be emulsified to produce a liquid that can be
easily pumped through pipes, mixed with aggregate, or sprayed through
nozzles. To emulsify, the asphalt cement is ground into globules 5 to 10
microns and smaller (one micron is equal to one millionth of a meter). This is
mixed with water. An emulsifying agent is added, which reduces the tendency
of the asphalt and water to separate. The emulsifying agent may be colloidal
clay, soluble or insoluble silicates, soap, or sulphonated vegetable oils.


4 Asphalt may also be pulverized to produce a powdered asphalt. The asphalt

is crushed and passed through a series of fine mesh sieves to ensure uniform
size of the granules. Powered asphalt can be mixed with road oil and
aggregate for pavement construction. The heat and pressure in the road
slowly amalgamates the powder with the aggregate and binding oil, and
the substance hardens to a consistency similar to regular asphalt cement.

Air Blowing

5 If the asphalt is to be used for a purpose other than paving, such as roofing,
pipe coating, or as an undersealant or water-proofing material, the asphalt
may be oxidized, or air blown. This process produces a material that softens
at a higher temperature than paving asphalts. It may be air blown at the
refinery, at an asphalt processing plant, or at a roofing material plant. The
asphalt is heated to 500F (260C). Then air is bubbled through it for one to
4.5 hours. When cooled, the asphalt remains liquid.

Asphalt Paving Mixture

Since asphalt cement is a major constituent used in road paving, the following is a

description of how asphalt paving mixtures are produced. Asphalt paving mixes
made with asphalt cement are usually prepared at an asphalt mixing facility. There
are two types of asphalt mixes: hot-mix and cold-mix.
Hot-mix asphalt (HMA) is more commonly used while cold-mix asphalt
(generally mixes made with emulsified or cut-back asphalts) is usually used for light
to medium traffic secondary roads, or for remote locations or maintenance use. Hotmix asphalts are a mixture of suitable aggregate coated with asphalt cement. The
term "hot-mix" comes from the process of heating the aggregate and asphalt before
mixing to remove moisture from the aggregate and to obtain sufficient fluidity of
the asphalt cement for proper mixing and work-ability.

6 Asphalt cement and aggregate are combined in a mixing facility where they
are heated, proportioned, and mixed to produce the desired paving mixture.
Hot-mix facilities may be permanently located (also called "stationary"
facilities), or it may be portable and moved from job to job. Hot-mix facilities
may be classified as either a batch facility or a drum-mix facility, both can be
either stationary or portable. Batch-type hot-mixing facilities use different
size fractions of hot aggregate which are drawn in proportional amounts from
storage bins to make up one batch for mixing. The combination of aggregates
is dumped into a mixing chamber called a pugmill. The asphalt, which has
also been weighed, is then thoroughly mixed with the aggregate in the
pugmill. After mixing, the material is then emptied from the pugmill into
trucks, storage silos, or surge bins. The drum-mixing process heats and
blends the aggregate with asphalt all at the same time in the drum mixer.

7 When the mixing is complete, the hot-mix is then transported to the paving
site and spread in a partially compacted layer to a uniform, even surface with
a paving machine. While still hot, the paving mixture is further compacted by
heavy rolling machines to produce a smooth pavement surface.

Bulk Specific Gravity



A = Dry Sample Mass

B = SSD Mass
C = Mass Under Wate
Maximum Theoretical Specific Gravity


A +D E

A = Dry Sample Mass

D = Pycnometer and Water Mass (Calibration Factor)
E = Pycnometer, Mixture, and Water Mass

Void in the Total Mixture (VTM)

VTM = 1

G mb
x 100
G mm

Voids in the Mineral Aggregate (VMA)


Gmb P
G sb

Voids Filled with Asphalt (VFA)


x 100

Asphalt Stabilized Road mixed base course

Materials- Asphaltic materials should be Anionic or Cationic Emulsion asphalt of the
slow setting type.

Mixture Proportion- the amount of asphalt material to be added to the aggregate

should be from 4 to 7 mass percent of the dry aggregate.
The weight of asphalt in tons required for a paving project may be readily calculated
using a few simple tools and concepts. The weight of any substance in pounds is
related to its weight density or compactness. Weight density is the number of
pounds of a material contained in a specific volume of the material. Volume is a
quantity describing how much space an object occupies, is measured in cubic feet,
and depends on the dimensions of the space. One standard ton, sometimes called a
short ton by engineers, is equivalent to 2,000 pounds.

Measure the length, width and depth in inches of the space you want to fill
with asphalt. For example, you may have a driveway 150 inches long, 100 inches
deep and 5 inches deep.

Use a tape measure to determine distances.

Convert the length, width and height measurements to feet by dividing by 12,
since each foot contains 12 inches. Continuing the sample exercise leads to a length
of 12.5 feet, a width of 8.33 feet and a depth of 0.42 feet.

Multiply the length times the width times the depth to obtain the volume in
cubic feet of the space to be paved. Performing this step yields 12.5 feet times 8.33
feet times 0.42 feet or 43.7 cubic feet.

Multiply the weight density of the asphalt by the volume to arrive at the
weight of the asphalt needed in pounds. Consult the asphalt manufacturers if you
do not know the weight density of the asphalt. In the example, use a typical weight
density of 145 pounds per cubic foot. Now you have 145 pounds per cubic foot
times 43.7 cubic feet, which equals 6,336.5 pounds.

Convert the asphalt weight to tons by dividing by 2,000. Completing the

sample exercise results in 6,336.5 pounds divided by 2,000 pounds per ton or 3.2
tons of asphalt.