The temperatures may be heating up, but the hot talk in the pavement industry is warm mix asphalt (WMA). The new technology is gaining acceptance at an unprecedented rate, 44 of the 50 states have completed WMA jobs.
The wide acceptance of WMA has been so quick because of the numerous advantages it has over hot mix asphalt, these include:
• Less environmental impact
• Less fuel use by the mixing plant
• Decreased wear on the mixing plant
• Longer haul distances, creating an extended paving season
• Increased time for compaction, leading to better densities
• Longer pavement life
Warm mix asphalt is made by using a variety of products and process to replace the heat normally necessary to produce asphalt mix. Keeping the mixing temperatures low, 50 – 100 degrees Fahrenheit less than required for traditional asphalts, results in reduced emissions and fumes and can also lead to a significant energy savings.
While the benefits are obvious, WMA does present some challenges. First, the industry hasn’t fully adapted and some job specifications do not provide for using WMA technology. With new technologies come unknowns, more studies are needed to further investigate the benefits, long-term suitability and sustainability of warm mix asphalt. For more information on WMA, visit www.WarmMixAsphalt.com.
Source: Talking Asphalt: What About Warm Mix by Dwight Walker