Asphalt concrete, also known as asphalt cement, bituminous concrete, among other terms, is a sticky black substance that is obtained after a process of oil distillation. This material is basically used to pave roads and is mixed with other rocks and minerals of different sizes.
In addition to roads, it is used in all types of civil works: parking lots, airports, public spaces, etc.
Not all asphalt mixtures are the same
The temperature of the mixture is a determining factor for creating one asphalt or another. Hot asphalt mix is the most widespread and allows for better expansion and compaction at the base. For some types of pavements a cold asphalt mix is preferable. Other mixtures are porous or draining, micro-agglomerates and masses. Asphalt Concrete
One version or another is chosen depending on certain circumstances: the type of infrastructure, when it comes to rehabilitating the base, the category of traffic, the regulatory requirements for road safety or the topography of the terrain.
Its characteristics make it a perfect mix for road building.
It is especially resistant when it comes to withstanding heavy traffic. On the other hand, it adapts to the tires of the most varied types of vehicles. As it is waterproof, it prevents the passage of water and can alter the road’s cement.
Asphalt concrete also has some “pathologies”
Different asphalt mixes can lead to pavement anomalies. In this sense, the most common mistakes that are made are the following:
1) an incorrect or defective mixture,
2) poor compaction (eg with rigid mortars),
3) an imperfect calculation in the density of the mineral particles employed,
4) a mixture with excessive moisture,
5) a floor with holes that facilitate water filtration.
The possible shortcomings and limitations of asphalt concrete made specialists look for new solutions. In recent years, a new type of asphalt is being researched. It is still a project, but that intends to overcome some limitations (the new material can be repaired by itself by the impact of the heat emitted by the Sun or by means of a technology with electromagnets that increase the temperature of the asphalt).
In short, engineers are looking for three major advances: self-repair, pavement durability, and economy .
From an economic point of view, it is very expensive to introduce this type of asphalt on all roads, but in the long term there would be a reduction in cost due to savings in maintenance .