What Is Asphalt?
What Is Asphalt Made From?
What is asphalt? Asphalt, undoubtedly, is the most durable, sustainable and reliable building material for construction and maintenance of roads, pavements, parking areas and sports and play areas. This construction material is the most versatile in usage. It is made from crushed rocks, gravel, sand or slags to form aggregates, which are then bound using a binder, usually bitumen (a sticky black and highly viscous semi-solid form of petroleum).
Asphalt is produced in manufacturing plants, which can be fixed or mobile. For good asphalt, temperatures of between 150-180 degrees are required. Luckily, with the improvement in technology, it is now possible to produce them at much lower temperatures. Asphalt concretes can be found in different kinds to meet the different applications and best performance. At different temperatures, a variety of asphalt mixtures can be produced. This includes
Hot Asphalt Mix
Generally, hot asphalt mix is produced at temperatures of between 150 and 180 degrees. These mixes of asphalt vary depending on usage. These mixes are usually appropriate for construction of roads and other heavy duty surfaces. You must give appropriate time for the asphalt to dry before driving on the surface.
Warm Asphalt Mix
Generally, warm mix asphalt is produced at temperatures of around 20 - 40 degrees which is much lower than the Hot mix asphalt. This has a number of advantages as less amount of energy is involved therefore resulting in better working conditions for those working on it during paving operations. Consequently, the surfaces being worked on can be used earlier than when hot asphalt mix is used.
Cold Asphalt Mix
This mix is produced with no heating of the asphalt concrete or aggregate. A specific bitumen emulsion which disintegrates during mixing and compaction is needed during paving. After breaking, the emulsion provides a coating to the asphalt aggregates, which over time, strengthens it. This cold asphalt mix is suitable for paving roads with less traffic.
The advantages of Asphalt
Asphalt produces very smooth surfaces. These smooth surface gives cars a firmer grip and therefore saves on fuel. Consequently, this leads to vehicles emitting fewer emissions.
Roads made from other materials are normally very noisy when driven on. But Asphalt roads usually offers a smooth ride, with less noise. Therefore, construction of expensive noise walls is rendered unnecessary.
Roads or driveway paving surfaces made from Asphalt is very durable. This saves on the cost associated with repairs and maintenance. The reason why asphalt surfaces are durable is because of its architecture. Asphalt surfaces are made up of different layers which make it firmer and stronger. The layers include the upper asphalt surface course, the binder course, and the base course.
From researches that have been conducted, it has emerged that asphalt roads are the most cost effective material. Its use in rehabilitating by overlay concrete highways and surfaces makes asphalt a most versatile material. Asphalt can also be recycled hence cutting on cost.
In conclusion, therefore, asphalt is a most versatile construction material that offers not only cost effectiveness but also comfort and great utility in various fields ranging from transportation, building, industrial to recreation in the construction of pavements, roads, railway beds, greenhouses, flooring to playgrounds.
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