Quantifying Benefits of Improved Compaction

  • Low pavement air voids
  • This cross section of a latitudinal joint shows where the pavements overlap, typically the location of lowest density on a finished road

Status:  Complete
Report Date:  02/08/2022

Summary:

Compaction is the final and most critical step in asphalt pavement construction. Heavy rolling equipment is used to squeeze just the right amount of air out of the pavement before it hardens or gets too stiff. But it’s no easy task. While squeezing the mixture together results in higher stability and pavement strength, too little or too much compaction or consolidation of the pavement can lead to costly premature maintenance and repair expenses. A national study conducted several years ago indicated that a slightly more compact pavement than typical could help roads last longer. Now, researchers have built a new database for MnDOT to test that theory. By entering and analyzing density data pulled from samples collected from newly constructed roads around the state, then seeing how those roads have held up over time, MnDOT hopes to eventually have enough data to definitively determine how much compaction is the right amount to ensure pavements last longer.

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