History About Asphalt

Milwaukee All About Asphalt

The History of Asphalt – Part 1

The writer of Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder, talks about her wagon journey in Topeka which made her first encounter of the asphalt road surface. Thinking if the material was made of tar or rubber, she was confused of what the substance was really made of. These days, this dark and resistant material covers most of the road surfaces in United States and is mostly used for parking lots, racetracks, driveways, and other driving surfaces. This substance has played an essential part in the landscaping mechanism of the United Stated since the 19th century. However, asphalt was discovered a thousand years back until the US founded the material. Asphalt came naturally from asphalt lakes and rock asphalt. Its first usage was first documented in Babylon in 625 B.C. as a road construction material. Ancient Greeks were also very knowledgeable about asphalt and its features. In fact, the word asphalt came from the Greek word “asphaltos” which means secure and has been modified to “asphaltus” by the Romans.


John Metcalf, an Englishman, constructed 180 miles of Yorkshire road surfaces and contended on efficient drainage system needing a foundation of huge stones coated with excavated road substance that will serve as the roadbed. On the other hand, Thomas Telford constructed 900 miles of roadways in Scotland and perfected the process of constructing road surfaces using fragmented stones. John Loudon McAdam taught Telford that it was the natural soil that has the property of carrying traffic weight. McAdam used broken stones to form a hard surface believing that its own angles will eventually provide the combination of such stones. Later on, Edmund DeSmedt, a Belgian chemist developed the first real asphalt road surface in US. He used a sand mixture patterned from a native asphalt pavement and constructed it in front of the Newark City Hall in New Jersey. The durability of his work substantiated that the quality of asphalt he used is as good as the materials which are typically imported from Europe.

Because of the different advantageous effects of asphalt, a lot of builders attempted to stake out claims to the material. Because of that, the first patent was filed in 1871 by Nathan Abbot of Brooklyn. By then, Frederick Warren filed a patent for the Bitulithic pavement in 1900. Bitulithic pavement is a mixture of tarmac and aggregate and was typically used to refer to any asphalt surface. Other names that describe the asphalt mixes include Romanite, National Pavement, Macasphalt, Indurite, and Wilite. All of these mixes were successfully innovative and efficient. The competitive acts of most asphalt builders lead to the strict requirement of materials for the asphalt pavement construction. A good example for this is the incident in 1896 when New York City made use of asphalt pavement construction in place of wood block and granite. However, this required a 15-year warranty on the workmanship and the substances used. This long-term warranty caused bankruptcy to a lot of builders because no failure was acknowledged. This resulted to a fewer but higher bids for asphalt material construction.

The History of Asphalt – Part 2

In the 1990s, most of the asphalt being used in the United States came from the natural sources found in the Trinidad Lakes and Bermudez Lake in Venezuela. Refined petroleum asphalts were initially used as a substance that softens natural asphalt which will be used for handling and placing. This was introduced during the middle of 1870s and eventually been accepted. In 1907, the use of refined asphalt replaced the regular utilization of natural asphalt. By then, the automobile industry had become very popular making residents to demand for additional and better roadways. This resulted for an innovative break for the asphalt production. Logan Waller Page, who studied the practical procedures in France, introduced roadway testing and eventually became accepted as a regular practice in the area. Metal works – a museum.

In early times, the production of Hot Mix Asphalt was made up of thin iron trays which are heated over open fired coals. The process starts from drying the aggregate on the tray then placing hot asphalt on top and manually mixing the substance by hand. Using this procedure, the quality of the mixture depends on the expertise of the worker. The first mechanical mixers were used in Paris but they required a long time to generate asphalt mixture. The very first central asphalt pavement production facilities in the United States were opened by the Cummer Company in year 1870. Some of the asphalt manufacturers tried to create and introduce portable machineries and some developed units which are straddling on railroad vehicles. A large number of these manufacturing facilities were expensive which restricted the areas where asphalt can be readily accessible. In 1901, the Warren Brothers in East Cambridge built the first asphalt facility which contains the basic components required for the production. The only units they lacked were the pollution control equipment and a cold feed. In year 1910, Portland cement concrete mixers were used for HMA production. Later on, the improvement of cold feed systems for both portable and semi-portable systems took in place. Vibrating screens and pressure injection systems were also introduced.

 The development and improvement of the construction techniques happened very fast. Gillespie even said that the units and equipment used for laying asphalt could be readily transported in one hand. After asphalt has been dumped, spread and smoothed by hand, the horse-drawn roller and steam roller were used to finalize the job. During the early 1920s, Portland cement concrete motorized propagators for the machine generated asphalt were used. Tailgate propagators and strike-off screeds were eventually introduced. A Barber-Greene finisher was first used by Sheldon Hayes in 1930. This equipment is made up of a tractor and a screed with an upright filling bar. Before 1930s, the production facilities cannot keep up with the HMA demand which resulted to further paving developments. The President of the Asphalt Institute, J.S. Helm, declared asphalt as a vital substance in every form of roadway construction and maintenance and it entered into production for almost four-fifths of the mileage of highways.

The History of Asphalt – Part 3

When the World War II started, the asphalt industry grew at a very fast leap. This happened when the industry was encouraged to improve their substance to be capable of carrying military aircraft in the surfaces. When the war ended, people moved to the suburbs where the roadway construction boomed into business. The State Highway Act, providing a $1 billion budget for road construction, was approved in 1956. By then, electronic leveling controls, automated screed controls and extra wide finishers were introduced. Until the middle of 1950s, HMA pavements were flattened by the cooperation of a light tandem roller and a heavy three wheel roller. The common used rollers are the pneumatic-tire rollers and the vibratory steel-wheel rollers.

Builiding Better Plants

During the early 50s, asphalt plants required dryers, screed-filled towers and mixing equipment. This resulted to a filthy and dusty operation. By 1960s, air pollution became a serious apprehension throughout the country making most plants to require baghouses and wet scrubbers. Surge bins and storage bins were added in the plants. Because of this equipment, mixes were laden straight from the plant to the trucks. The improvement of the asphalt plants were caused by the environmental concerns of the country. Such improvements started with a regular cleaning of the warehouses using wet scrubbers and baghouses. Don Brock, a NAPA member and the chairman of Astec Industries, stated that we need to develop plants that people can’t see, hear or smell.

State and national highway engineers were in charge of every phase of roadway construction back in 1950s. The process of the withdrawal of substances, the asphalt mixture and the roadway settlement were all included to their scope of work. However, in today’s generation, contractors were allowed to take more responsibility to the finished roadway because of the new affiliating system. Because of this system, pavement warranties are becoming more corporate. Recycling was also accepted for the continuous development of the roadway construction industry. At first, recycling was the most used procedure but when asphalt refineries were introduced, the recycling process was taken out of place. These refineries increased the number of supplies and dropped the usual rates. However, in 1970s when the energy crisis was felt, the requirement for conserving natural resources were more needed. This made recycled asphalt in demand for most type of mixes. Almost 95 million metric loads of asphalt are recycled every year and today, asphalt pavement is the most recycled material in America. The industry of roadway construction became more innovative and increased the quality of its designing scheme and the construction as well. In 1955, the National Asphalt Pavement Association was established and one of the most essential projects it introduced was the Quality Improvement Program sponsoring asphalt testing which are processed in universities and private laboratories. By then, asphalt became a versatile material resulting to its usage to almost every main roadway in the United States. And with the constant development in its production and facilities, it is expected that it would make more improvements in its quality with increased durability and safety.


Pavement for Your Business

When it comes to business, the very first impression that an individual has for your business is a big deal. In e-commerce business, your website becomes your storefront and therefore a part of your property. It is not just your customers who should get a good impression regarding your business but also the people who pass by your store which could possibly be prospective clients. You should be aware of what type of impression you are providing to them. To help you in creating a good impression to your clients, here are some tips you might want to consider:

First, you need to determine the spots where standing water often takes place. See your entrances and exits. Also check out other docks in your area including the shipping area, receiving area and the parking area as well. Think carefully and see your surroundings. Does pools exist in the grass or are there tarns materializing anywhere? Consider all of these issues. The next thing you have to determine are the cracks. Take note of all the cracks you recognize in your area and measure them. If the crack is bigger than the pen you use, check it out. These cracks tolerate unwanted debris, water and even salt to get inside your pavement. This can lead to the weakening of your road surface through the development of deep holes and can result to concrete disorders. You should also determine whether your pavement requires a swept of dust and rubble. Then, look for washed-out line patterns. When the pavement’s line markings fade out, it means you need to get a cosmetic maintenance. Snow plows are one factor that can affect the line markings in your road surface and can possible smashup the havoc material in your pavement. However, worn out markings can also be caused by rutted surfaces. The next thing to do is to evaluate any damage to the curb caused by the snow plows. Look out with these snow plows because these can scrape and cause damage to your curb specially when not taken into consideration. Lastly, check out your water basins for any signs of deterioration or dropping. These are the most dangerous concern you need to take note of. This can be caused by settling poor subgrades and when it starts and your pavement cracks, moisture will penetrate into the base and it will worsen the situation that could even lead to a huge damage to your road surface.

When you recognize any of these in your pavement, call a reputable pavement contractor to help you. List down all your findings and let the contractor check your property and give you an estimate of the problem. Meet with the contractor to give them the list you have and make a comparison. Most paving contractors provide a free written estimate which can be very helpful in your part. What you need to do is get a couple of estimates from different paving companies and compare which among them is the most affordable and which can provide the best quality.

Advantages of Using Asphalt on your Driveway

Whether are planning to install a brand new driveway or replace an older one, using asphalt may be good choice. One of the advantages of using asphalt on your driveway is that it is smooth, therefore your cars and trucks will use up less fuel and yield reduced emissions. Also, your driveway will be quieter if it is made using asphalt. Another advantage is that when installed correctly, it can last for decades contingent on the volume of traffic that it supports and the climate in your location. Compared to concrete, asphalt is less prone to cracking and is more weather resistant. Furthermore, an asphalt driveway is considerably more affordable one built with concrete. Using asphalt cement costs around five dollars per square foot. In addition to cost savings, asphalt pavement ensures time savings as it can be installed quickly. In fact, you can make use of a new asphalt surface on the day it is installed. But it is advised that your brand new driveway will not be used for at least three days to allow it solidify more effectively.

Installing your asphalt driveway. Generally, building an asphalt driveway involves placing six to eight inches of compacted and leveled gravel base over solid ground, which is then covered with three to four inches of asphalt. The asphalt pavement contractor will then make use of 1-ton roller to compact the base. After several months to a year of curing, the contractor will seal coat the driveway. This step of the project is delayed as the curing process won’t progress correctly if it is sealed prematurely. Given that they require specialized equipment, an asphalt pavement is typically installed by contractors who specialize in such projects. Pointers on choosing asphalt paving contractor:

Make sure you hire only reputable contractors. You can request recommendations from peers and family who had an asphalt driveway project done in their property. Alternatively, you may get list of contractors from relevant trade associations in your state or country. Request estimates from three or five contractors but be sure they are quoting on the same requirements. Remember to ascertain if the asphalt thickness quoted by the company is compacted thickness. When you’re comparing and contrasting estimates, bear in mind the the most affordable offer is not always the best one. Ask for references so you could get a sense of the contractor’s quality of work. Make sure to ask if they are properly insured, too. If they can not show you proof of such, chose another company.

Ahead of construction, don’t forget to call your local municipality to verify whether a permit is necessary for the work and to determine if your driveway meets city codes and requirements.