Warm Mix Asphalt Technologies and Research
European countries are using technologies that appear to allow a reduction in the temperatures at which asphalt mixes are produced and placed.These technologies have been labeled Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA). The immediate benefit to producing WMA is the reduction in energy consumption required by burning fuels to heat traditional hot mix asphalt (HMA) to temperatures in excess of 300° F at the production plant. These high production temperatures are needed to allow the asphalt binder to become viscous enough to completely coat the aggregate in the HMA, have good workability during laying and compaction, and durability during traffic exposure.With the decreased production temperature comes the additional benefit of reduced emissions from burning fuels, fumes, and odors generated at the plant and the paving site.
There are three technologies that have been developed and used in European countries to produce WMA:
1. The addition of a synthetic zeolite called Aspha-Min® dur ing mixing at the plant to create a foaming effect in the binder.
2. A two-component binder system called WAM-Foam® (Warm Asphalt Mix Foam), which introduces a soft binder and hard foamed binder at different stages during plant production.
3. The use of organic additives such as Sasobit®, a Fischer-Tropsch paraffin wax and Asphaltan B®, a low molecul ar weight esterified wax.
The Aspha-Min and Sasobit products have been used in the United States. Additional technologies have been developed and used in the United States to produce WMA:
4. Plant production with an asphalt emulsion product called Evotherm™, which uses a chemical additive technology and a “dispersed asphalt technology” delivery system.
5. The addition of a synthetic zeolite called Advera® WMA during mixing at the plant to create a foaming effect in the binder.
All five technologies appear to allow the production of WMA by reducing the viscosity of the asphalt binder at a given temperature. This reduced viscosity allows the aggregate to be fully coated at a lower temperature than what is traditionally required in HMA production.However, some of these technologies require significant equipment modifications.
This technology could have a significant impact on transportation construction projects in and around non-attainment areas such as large metropolitan.
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