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Best Practices

Asphalt Compaction Tips

ASC BestPractices Index V1

Asphalt Compaction Tips

Asphalt compaction is an essential step in the road construction process. Using various types of heavy equipment, asphalt layers are compacted to achieve the desired level of density and smoothness. Proper asphalt compaction is a critical step to ensure the durability and longevity of roads.

Below are some tips and best practices for completing compaction correctly.

Know how asphalt compaction works
The compaction process begins after the mix has been laid and leveled. The first step is typically to use a vibratory roller to compact the surface layer of the asphalt mix. This initial compaction helps to remove any air pockets and ensure that the asphalt mix is level and smooth.

After the initial compaction, the next step is to use a heavier roller to achieve the required density of the asphalt mix. The type and size of the roller used for this step will depend on the thickness and composition of the asphalt layer. Generally, smooth steel wheeled rollers are used for thinner asphalt layers, while pneumatic tired rollers or vibratory rollers are used for thicker layers.

Avoid over and under compaction
The key to successful asphalt compaction is to achieve the required density without causing any damage to the asphalt mix. Over compaction can lead to the crushing of the asphalt aggregates, which can weaken the structure of the road and reduce its lifespan. Under compaction, on the other hand, can result in a rough and uneven road surface, which can be hazardous for drivers.

To avoid over compaction, it is important to monitor the density of the asphalt layer during the compaction process. Monitoring the density can be accomplished using a nuclear density gauge, which measures the density of the asphalt layer by emitting gamma rays. The density gauge can provide real time feedback to the operator, allowing them to adjust the compaction process as necessary to achieve the desired density.

In addition to density, other factors that can affect asphalt compaction include temperature, humidity, and the composition of the asphalt mix. It is important to consider these factors and adjust the compaction process accordingly to achieve the best possible results.

Monitor the mix temperature
In general, the higher the temperature of the mix, the better the compaction result. However, there are no rules that can be generally applied to rolling temperatures. The ideal temperature depends on a variety of factors: composition of the mix, layer thickness, and the binding agent. The temperature of the air, temperature of the base, wind speed and cloud cover all affect the cooling rate of the mix and the amount of compaction needed.

If you have any questions about asphalt compaction or how to complete compaction jobs as effectively as possible, contact our team today!