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(Cool) New Asphalt Developments

May 9th, 2018

“Cool” new developments in asphalt that could benefit future generations

Superpave 5: mixing it up!

We all know the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Asphalt is and will be the industry standard for parking lots and roads alike, but it does break.  So, new innovation proposes the idea: Should the actual process of mixing asphalt be fixed? In an article by Shannon Houser of CBS 4 Indiana, she details a new solution to and age old problem… potholes.

An engineering professor at Purdue University, John Haddock, proposes new way of asphalt mixing called Superpave 5. Haddock explains that while the composition is the same, the process by which it is mixed is the innovation. “The formula creates less space for air bubbles and moisture to seep-in over time.” (Houser) The professor claims that air & moisture will have a harder time getting in, therefore, extending the life of your parking lot. Haddock finishes by saying, “Any hot mix plant can make it. It’s not rocket science. We just changed the way we put the mix together.” Increasing the density of the mixture by even 1 and 2 percent can add 1 to 2 years to your parking lot. (Haddock)

Read the full article here.

CoolSeal: helping LA keep their cool.

On the opposite side of the country, there are new developments in the humanitarian aspect of asphalt.Waves of environmentalism & climate change awareness are taking hold in current generations. As a result, the face of asphalt will get a fresh coat of paint… literally. journalist, Travis Fedschun, details how the city of Los Angeles is combating climate change by painting their city streets light gray. The product is called CoolSeal made by the company GuardTop. “CoolSeal is applied like conventional sealcoats to asphalt surfaces to protect and maintain the quality and longevity of the surface,” as outlined on the company’s website. “While most cool pavements on the market are polymer based, CoolSeal is a water-based, asphalt emulsion.”

There is a theory called the “heat island” effect. These “islands” are described as urban regions that are hotter than their rural surroundings. The city of LA is, by that definition, a “heat island.” By applying the lighter color sealcoat in LA neighborhoods, it reduces the temperature by up to 10 degrees. In turn, reducing the temperature in those affected areas. This project is in an effort to reduce the overall greenhouse gas emissions by 45% in the city by the year 2025.

This innovation in combats climate change, but CoolSeal doesn’t come cheap. While the coating could last up to seven years, each mile costs nearly $40,000.

Read the full article here, and check out these pictures from LA Street Services!

Application process of CoolSeal to existing asphalt in LA city neighborhood (LA Street Services)

Finished product using CoolSeal on asphalt. (LA Street Services)