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steel-wheeled roller for breakdown and compaction, and a heavy static steel wheel for finish rolling. Occasionally, agency specifications will require a light (65 to 75 psi contact pressure) pneumatic roller to be used to knead or seal the surface prior to the finish rolling. Q. How is air void content controlled? A. Air voids is a reverse proportion of the density of the compacted mix. By specifying a density requirement, the voids are inversely controlled. Keep in mind that density is a relative term, compared to a target density of either lab compacted mix, a maximum theoretical density, or a control strip density. Procedures for using the three methods are spelled out on 7-17 to 7-21 of the new MS-22 and Page 241 of the old MS-22. Q. What is the recommended air void content for compaction of asphalt pavements? A. Efforts should be made to control compacted air voids between 7% and 3%. At 8% or higher, interconnected voids which allow air and moisture to permeate the pavement, reducing its durability. On the other hand, if air voids fall below 3%, there will be inadequate room for expansion of the asphalt binder in hot weather. When the void content drops to 2% or less, the mix becomes plastic and unstable. Q. What should compaction requirements be? A. Testing should be done on a random sampling basis with a minimum of five tests per lot (agency requirements define a “lot” as “A day’s or full day’s production”). The average of the five density determinations should be equal to or greater than: 96% of lab density with no test less than 94% 92% of maximum theoretical with no test less than 90% 99% of the control strip density Q. What is the best way to check density? A. Nuclear gauges are generally used for density testing because of the ease and speed with which the testing can be done. This allows for many more tests – more than the five minimum for a better statistical result. Caution: The nuclear density gauge needs to be correlated to core densities that are taken from the same location as was nuclear gauge tested. This should be done for each different mix that might be used. Top Contents PLANT OPERATIONS Q. How can you tell that a mix is properly mixed? A. When all the aggregate particles are coated with asphalt. The large aggregate particles are always the last to be coated. If the large aggregate particles are completely coated, the mix is properly mixed. Generally we see mixing problems only with batch plants. The producer is trying to mix each batch as quickly as possible (probably in about 30 seconds) which may or may not be adequate mixing time. Typical specifications set minimum coated particle percentages at 90 to 95 percent. The Ross Count procedure for determining these percentages (ASTM-D2489 or AASHTO T195) is outlined on pages 4-41 to 4-44 of MS-22. Minimum mixing times to meet the specified requirement should be carefully adhered to in order to avoid excess oxidation of the asphalt films on the aggregate particles as it is exposed to air (oxygen) during the mixing process. As a general rule we do not see this problem with drum mixes. The mix remains in the mixing portion of the drum for much longer periods of time (maybe 2 to 3 minutes) than in the pugmill of a batch plant, so the aggregate particles get very well coated. Keep in mind that we are not as concerned about oxidation in drum mixes as the mixing portion of the drum mixer is essentially an oxygen-free atmosphere. Another way to look at it is this: In a 6000 lb. batch of mix, there are about 5600 lbs. of aggregate and about 400 lbs. of asphalt. Dense-graded aggregate has about 35 sq. ft. of surface area per pound, or 196,000 sq. ft/6000 lb. batch; 400 pounds of asphalt is about 48 gallons. The mixing process has to take 48 gallons of asphalt and paint about 3.8 football fields. When the aggregate particles are coated, it’s mixed. Top Contents ASPHALT MIXTURES Q. What is the proper mix temperature? A. Mix temperature will be dependent on the grade of asphalt used in the mix. The less viscous the asphalt, the lower the temperatures should be. The more viscous the asphalt, the higher the temperature can be. During mix design temperatures are specified for proper mixing and for compaction. These are good targets with which to start a project. However, they will have to be adjusted for the project conditions (weather, haul distances, etc.). If at all possible, avoid discrepancies from the mix design temperature of more than 25 degrees. Note: When working with modified binder, the binder supplier should provide mix temperature recommendations. Q. What is a minimum temperature for asphalt mixes? A. Mixes must be placed and compacted before they cool to 185o F, so the minimum temperature will depend on the temperature of the layer upon which it is being placed as well as ambient conditions. Temperature session charts are shown