In the whole world, asphalt is one of the widely used material for paving – and with good reason. The raw material used for constructing asphalt is of good-quality, highly flexible and long-lasting as well.
Thus, asphalt is also one of the widely used and versatile paving materials which are easily available in the market. In varying capacities, it can be used for commercial parking lots, residential driveways and even road construction.
Of course, choosing the right type of asphalt is imperative to getting the most out of any paving project. Different climates, pavement conditions, and other specifications all play a role in determining what type of asphalt is needed.
Keep reading to learn more about the different types of asphalt, how to select the right one for your needs, and what makes asphalt superior to concrete.
Paving installers Sydney know all about different types of asphalts and use the best one for your area.
Types of Asphalt:
The type of asphalt mixture that’s needed for any given paving or repair project depends largely on the type of work that needs to be done, the regional climate, and the extent of the damages.
There are three main types of asphalt to choose from: native, asphalt rock, and asphaltites.
1. Native Asphalt
Also referred to as natural asphalt, native asphalt is asphalt that occurs naturally in any given part of the world. Native asphalt can often be found in a semiliquid or liquid state.
There are only five known natural asphalt deposits in the entire world; three are in California and one is in Venezuela.
But the largest and most famous one is Pitch Lake in Trinidad. It spans approximately 100 acres and is estimated to be about 250 feet deep.
2. Rock Asphalt
Rock asphalt is typically composed of grainy crushed sandstone and fortified with a higher concentration of bitumen than other types of asphalt.
That’s what gives it its signature coarse and rough texture. Ideal for highways, high-impact and high-volume roads, rock asphalt has the strength and durability required to withstand all kinds of weather conditions and the weight of heavy vehicles.
Bitumen content can vary from trace amounts to complete saturation anywhere from 3% to 15%.
Asphaltites, which are also referred to as gilsonite, asphalt, and uintaite are a naturally occurring solid hydrocarbon. This is a type of bitumen that has an extremely high melting temperature and is largely produced in Utah and Colorado.
When mixed with certain oil solutions like CS2 and TCE, asphaltites are classified as soluble materials. Although carbon is one of the key components of asphaltites, they also contain a number of other elements including sulfur and nitrogen.
Aside from asphalt, asphaltites are listed as core ingredients in a number of other commercial products including dark colored-printing inks, dark-colored paint, various chemical products, and mud and cement used for oil well drilling.
Types of Asphalt Mixtures Used for Roads:
1. Rolled Asphalt
As with all other types of asphalt, hot rolled asphalt (HRA) has a number of different uses, including road work and roofing. HRA is comprised of several mineral aggregates including sand, filler, and bitumen to bind it all together.
Varying in density depending on the use, this mixture typically contains a high concentration of sand to prevent air pockets from forming during the compaction process.
The result is a highly durable, smooth, flexible, long-lasting, impervious, and skid-resistant asphalt aggregate that’s ideal for exit and entry ramps on highways and commercial properties.
2. Mastic Asphalt
According to many industry experts, mastic asphalt is considered to be one of the toughest and most watertight asphalt aggregates on the market.
This is largely because of the fact that it’s mostly made of crushed limestone. Due to its impressive durability, flexibility, and structural integrity, mastic asphalt is typically used for paving minor side roads and commercial parking lots that get a lot of traffic.
Since modern mastic asphalt is composed of Polymer materials, it can be used for a wide range of construction applications, whether its repairs, repaving, or installation.
While mastic asphalt isn’t compactable, the application process of spreading it while it’s hot with a hand float rather than rolling it out is what gives it its smooth finish.
3. Compressed Rock Asphalt
Considering asphalt is one of the most recyclable materials in the world—particularly in the paving industry—there’s pretty much nothing it can’t do.
When it comes to repaving or repairing roadways and commercial parking lots, most commercial contractors often source the very asphalt they’ve removed from the property to perform these jobs.
Hence, compressed rock asphalt is born. The damaged asphalt that’s extracted from these job sites is melted down to the desired consistency, mixed in with a base aggregate, and then reused to repair and restore the pavement to its former glory.