Improved Technology Using Radio Waves Used to Check Integrity of Asphalt

We already know that asphalt which is properly-compacted can greatly increase a road’s lifespan. And on the other end of the spectrum, we also know that asphalt which is improperly-compacted can result in road deterioration at a much faster rate. And with substantial amounts being invested in road repair and construction every year, it has become vital to find new and improved technology which can make sure that asphalt integrity is sustained, especially on roads which are newly-paved. Today, we can benefit from the use of radio waves in order to check and assess the density and integrity of asphalt. 

Properly compacted asphalt decreases road deterioration rate

Properly compacted asphalt decreases road deterioration rate

The problem is that asphalt has a particular ‘air void’ content which has to be between 3 percent and 8 percent. Higher than 8 percent, and the asphalt will consist of too great a number of air voids, whilst lower than 3 percent, and the asphalt will be over-compacted – which both result in a decrease in the integrity.

There are many compaction issues which are associated with the laying down of asphalt, which include ‘cold patches’ as well as improper rolling patterns. By learning about these issues in the first days of a project involving paving, both contractors and owners can greatly benefit.

Whilst there are currently several distinct methods for measuring variations in asphalt density and integrity, such as NDT (non-destructive testing) and coring, wherein a core from the asphalt is taken in order to assess its properties, there is another method which has recently been utilised and may serve as a singular solution for assessing the density and integrity of asphalt.

The method, which also involves NDT, makes use of radio wave technology. This method is beneficial for different reasons, but one main reason is the fact that it can be utilised to acquire real-time results on measurements on a larger area of road – and this can all be done in a shorter period of time as well. The reflections of radio waves from the asphalt are calculated to determine the dielectric value of the asphalt, and these are then corresponded to the void content of the road, which is an indication of the asphalt’s density.

Whilst researchers were able to develop a working method for radio wave and infrared technology for the testing of asphalt more than a few years ago, it still required using specialised machines and equipment and was too complicated a process. But 4 years ago, specifically in 2013, TTI (Texas Transportation Institute) started working closely with another organisation, GSSI, in order to make the process less complicated and more streamlined. The two organisations also wanted to develop more user-friendly devices for measurement.

In the following years, GSSI was able to develop the PaveScan RDM. The technology makes use of a sensor which can also be mounted on vehicles, and its benefits include speed of use, ease of use, and better accuracy.






Posted on 19 Jun 2017 in Technology

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