Key for Success: Tracking Asphalt Temperature

Asphalt Temperature

Recently, ForConstructionPros.com published an article that could prove helpful in selling to the road construction industry. Understanding the correct temperatures for laying asphalt is key to a successful, long-lasting paving project. Hot mixed asphalt can lose anywhere from 5°F to 25°F during a project. If it cools too fast, it will set too quickly making it difficult to get the specified compacted density. Your customers may have concerns over which fabrics will be suitable for hauling asphalt at these critical temperatures. Understanding this process, and the temperatures involved will help you offer the best advice to customers purchasing equipment for road construction.

There are three critical temperatures that should be considered for any project:

  1. Ambient (Air) Temperature: Air temperature is easy to retrieve from weather organizations like Weather Underground, and should be monitored throughout the day. Pay special attention to wind velocity, as higher wind speeds will quicken the cooling process. Precipitation may also reduce the temperature of hot mix asphalt and should be considered during the paving process.
  2. Base Temperature: Even more critical than air temperature is the base, or ground, temperature. Infrared thermometers can help your customers assure that the base temperature is at least 50°F and rising for successful paving.
  3. Asphalt Temperature – the temperature of hot mixed asphalt should be taken in the haul truck, at the front of the laydown machine and behind the screed. This temperature is critical in understanding if you will meet the minimum temperature requirements to get a specified compacted density. It is also important to the roller operators to understand when they need to do the initial or breakdown rolling.

To aid contractors in laying asphalt, the Minnesota Department of Transportation offers a tool called “PaveCool.” This tool takes some of the guesswork out of the paving process and makes it easier for contractors to complete more successful projects.

Hot mix asphalt pavement should arrive at a site between 275°F and 300°F. Generally speaking, polypropylene (PP) fabrics begin to soften at temperatures just over 300°F and melts at approximately 330°F. As long as strict temperature regulation measures are in place, hauling hot mix asphalt may be a good application for PP fabrics. Each customer’s application and actual use will need to be taken into account when recommending coverings.

Acadian Industrial Textiles wants to help you and your customers make the best decisions for your projects. If you have questions about the right materials for a project, reach out to your Acadian Industrial Textiles representative.