Asphalt, sometimes called bitumen, is an asphalt-like, thick, black, very dense liquid or semi-organic form of petroleum. It can be extracted from natural sources or a synthetic product and has been classed as an asphalt-based product. Before the late 20th century, asphalt was also employed for other purposes. Some asphalt is used in the manufacture of bricks; some asphalt is used to manufacture concrete, while asphalt is used in the manufacturing of asphalt pavement. In general, asphalt is quite similar to petroleum because both contain crude oil in their design. Apex Asphalt Jacksonville FL is slightly more soluble than petroleum so that it will settle to the surface with some amount of water.
Asphalt comprises two parts: the primary component, usually asphalt, and the secondary component, which is water. The water is soluble in the asphalt, while the oil is insoluble in water. Therefore, when the asphalt is mixed with water, it becomes a gel that will adhere to the wet surface course of the pavement. When asphalt is applied to a dry surface course, it will form a thin, transparent, pliable film on the surface course, referred to as flashing. This film is what we see as the finished asphalt pavement.
Asphalt that is to be used for sidewalks, curbs, driveways, and the like, is mixed with water first, then blended with oil. When asphalt mixes with oil, it becomes a stiff paste that will not crumble away even when the weather turns cold. When hot mix asphalt is mixed with water, the process changes the texture of the asphalt, making it more wear-resistant and resistant to weathering and environmental damage. Hot mix asphalt mixtures can also add some glossy look to the surface of the asphalt, which is especially true for driveways and parking lots. However, such shiny surfaces need to be maintained regularly and should never be left outdoors.
Before the asphalt is produced, it undergoes several processes. The wetting, rolling, cracking, curing, blending and topping processes are necessary to complete the asphalt production. After each step is completed successfully, it goes through a second process of cooling and heating before reaching the desired thickness, flash point, and other specifications for the pavement. For the base course of the asphalt, this second process of heating and cooling also ensures that the base course is even and consistent with similar conditions across the entire surface area.
The different asphalt mixes are created based on many factors such as the traffic pattern of the area, the climate, type of pavement, and the purpose of the road. There are two types of hot mix asphalt mixes: hot enough to keep liquid asphalt from flowing, yet not hot enough to cause structural damage to the pavement, and cool enough to prevent the asphalt from hardening. Most roads use a blend of both hot and cool asphalt for different purposes. Hot mix asphalt is used to seal and repair cracks and small damage areas and is ideal for routine maintenance.
Cool-grade asphalt combines the advantages of hot mix asphalt with cold mix asphalt in order to provide a flexible and durable seal while providing protection against freezing temperatures. In contrast to hot mix asphalt, which is designed to seal larger damage areas, cold-grade mixes are ideal for sealing small cracks. These special mixes also have the added benefit of providing a slick, slippery driving surface that prevents vehicle accidents.
Although asphalt pavement can be applied in many different sizes and with many different applications, there are specific applications that require certain features. Since hot and cold-grade blends differ in their melting points, all asphalt paves should have a minimum recommended temperature range that prevents either from freezing or from scalding. Porous asphalt is less permeable than dense-graded mixes but is recommended in areas where driving and parking is possible in the winter and in climates that are subject to extreme temperatures, such as in Arizona. For these areas, it is typically best to choose a cold mix asphalt that is less permeable than the dense-graded blends.
Regardless of the asphalt type being used, it is important to ensure that proper care is taken during installation and maintenance. A properly installed and maintained asphalt surface will reduce the occurrence and severity of most types of pavement failures. Regular maintenance and prompt repairs will reduce the need for costly reconstructive projects. The most effective repair and preventive measures against asphalt failures are thorough installation and prompt repair and maintenance. When contractors follow these steps, they will help homeowners minimize the occurrence and severity of pavement failures.