Asphalt roads are the backbone of our infrastructure

Tomographic representation of cavities in asphalt concrete
1.Tagung Asphaltpetrologie 2024

Date: 28. Februar 2024 in Darmstadt von 9:45 – 15:45

About ‘Asphalt Petrology’

What is asphalt petrology?

Asphalt petrology is a young research area within asphalt technology. It was founded in 2015 (HART, R. (2015)).

It uses methods from petrology (the science of rocks) to investigate the nature of asphalt (“an artificial rock”) in addition to the classic examination methods of asphalt technology.

The procedures provide valuable information about the detailed nature of the asphalt components (aggregates, bitumen and voids) as well as their spatial position in the structure. The asphalt properties, such as grip, weather resistance, strength, affinity (“bonding with bitumen”) and durability depend heavily on the mineral properties of the rocks used in production.

The methods of asphalt petrology have proven to be valuable tools in the development of durable, highly stressed asphalt roads (e.g. for race tracks). They also proved to be very helpful in damage analysis.

What can asphalt petrology do?

New insights can be expected from asphalt petrology on the following questions and topics in asphalt technology:

  • Spatial position of the asphalt components
  • Change in the asphalt structure as a result of compaction and load effects
  • Surface properties
  • Mechanical behavior
  • Function and effectiveness of fillers
  • chemical and physical reactions between the components
  • Separation of polymer-modified bitumens
  • Aging processes
  • Durability
  • Behavior of asphalt during paving

Who takes benefit of asphalt petrology?

Ultimately, these findings enable road construction authorities and other operators of traffic areas such as airports and seaports to reduce costs in the long term and offer areas of higher quality because the asphalt recipes are improved with the new findings.

New knowledge about the paving behavior of asphalt helps construction machinery manufacturers to optimize milling machines, asphalt pavers, rollers and cleaning devices to make the construction process more effective.

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