Army

Asphalt compound and heating process to rapidly repair road and runway surfaces

Induction heating of particles in the asphalt brings the mixture temperature up quickly for faster, longer lasting repair

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America’s roads are deteriorating faster than they’re being repaired. Repair costs are escalating, in part, because the Federal gas tax was not indexed to inflation and available funds are losing purchasing power. We see the ground level impact of this deterioration every day as we dodge potholes – many large enough to damage vehicles. In fact, Americans spend an annual average of $377 to repair vehicles damaged by degraded road surfaces.

One of the problems with repairing asphalt – potholes, cracks, and weather damage – is that asphalt works best when put down hot. It compacts better and lasts longer. The heating takes time and when an emergency repair is needed such as when a large pothole appears on a heavily used road or on a runway, time is not something crews have in abundance.

Army engineers have developed a new asphalt composition and heating process that enables fast, lasting repair of asphalt surfaces. The asphalt composition is a combination of an asphalt binder, aggregate particles, and induction particles having a specific structure. An induction heater heats the composition within a plastic or fiberglass container (3-5 gallons) by generating a magnetic field that penetrates the container. The magnetic field creates eddy currents in the induction particles and these eddy currents in turn heat the composition. Compaction temperatures can reach approximately 350° F.

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