Asphalt is the most commonly used road construction material in the United States. Road construction asphalt is mainly composed of sand, aggregate stone, asphalt cement, and fine aggregate. Asphalt cement is a petroleum based product produced during petroleum refinement. The main reason whey asphalt is so popular as a road construction material is because it offers many advantages than its main competitor material; concrete. For starters, concrete is easier, faster, and cheaper to install. Compared to concrete, asphalt requires half the time to install and concrete requires even more time to set and cure. And installing an asphalt pavement costs less than half what it would cost to install a concrete pavement. Another advantage of asphalt over concrete is that it lasts longer and it’s generally tougher. Asphalt is not affected by changing weather and temperatures like concrete. Asphalt has a glossy dark look that is more beautiful to look at than concrete. This dark color also helps to speed up the melting of snow and ice on an asphalt pavement surface. Asphalt is mainly categorized according to its manufacturing process and the temperatures that are used. Anderson road construction companies usually use five main types of asphalt for all their construction projects. Today we are going to look at these five different types of asphalt.
As the name suggests, hot mix asphalt is poured or applied when hot. This type of asphalt mixture is heated and applied at temperatures between 300 and 350 degrees. Hot mix asphalt is usually used when outdoor temperatures are above 40 degrees. This is because this type of asphalt cools very quickly and binds with the surface. Hot mix asphalt is the popular asphalt in the U.S. It’s used for the construction of roads, highways, and interstates because it’s highly flexible and water and weather resistant.
Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA)
Warm mix asphalt is heated and produced at temperatures between 200 and 250 degrees. This type of asphalt is cheaper to produce than hot mix asphalt but not as popular. Warm mix asphalt is used in about 30% of all construction projects in the U.S. Warm mix asphalt requires fewer resources to produce but it includes various additives and binding materials. It’s poured at low temperatures.
Cold Mix Asphalt
Again as the name implies, cold mix asphalt is produced and poured when cold. Cold mix asphalt is mainly used to fill potholes during the cold winter season. This is mainly because this type of asphalt stays soft in lower temperatures; plus it repels water. Once poured, cold mix asphalt displaces the water from the pothole and adheres to the underlying surface. Cold mix asphalt is easier and cheaper to produce than hot and warm mix asphalt.
Porous asphalt is named so because it contains tiny holes that allow water to seep through. Porous asphalt is environmentally friendly asphalt because it allows natural drain and storm water management. The asphalt allows the water to seep through and undergo natural cleansing processes before reaching the underground water.
Custom Asphalt Mixes
Established road construction companies prepare their own asphalt mixes to suit client preferences and for special construction projects. Most of these companies operate asphalt production plants where they manufacture various custom mixes featuring various asphalt blends. They customize asphalt to suit various construction applications. There are countless custom asphalt mixes in the market today.