NRRA: Asphalt Real Time Smoothness (ARTS) for Asphalt Paving

Status:  Complete
Report Date:  02/27/2023


The Real-Time Smoothness (RTS) technologies are height sensors mounted on the back of a paver to measure the pavement surfaces’ profile elevations during the paving operation. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has concluded a ten-year field demonstration, webinars, on-call support, guideline development on the RTS technologies for concrete paving between 2009 and 2019. This project’s final report indicates that RTS allows early diagnosis of paving equipment settings and operation to impact smoothness on the finished harden concrete. Therefore, changes can be made to the paving operation. This study aims to extend the current RTS technologies to applications on asphalt paving, asphalt RTS (ARTS). ARTS’s anticipated benefits isolate the causes of roughness from the paver operation from those from the compaction. This would allow adjustment to be made to the paver settings to improve smoothness. The current RTS will be re-designed to be ARTS with new accessories and adjusted the mounting height on an asphalt paver to operate within the sensors’ allowable temperature ranges and withstand airborne particulate, smoke, dust, and excess vibration. The research team will develop an ARTS without considering screed vibration initially, and then it will consider and include screed vibration effects. The ARTS will be tested at selected asphalt paving projects and post-paving profile measurements with a highspeed inertial profiler (HSIP). The data collected from the paver operation setting recordings, ARTS and HSIP will be evaluated to isolate the paver operation and roller compaction effects on roughness. The field validation findings will be compiled into a comprehensive report that includes guidelines for using ARTS for asphalt paving to improve smoothness.

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