Why You Should Consider an Anti Stripping Agent for Asphalt

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As we continue into the twenty-first century, questions about the environment and the impacts we might have on it are increasing rapidly.  Many of us are quite concerned about what the ingredients we use to industrialize and settle our world can do to the planet.  A vital part of civilization are roads. 

This probably seems obvious, but most of our roads are made from asphalt.  The technology of this material has really improved in the last several years. Most of it is recycled at this point, especially in the United States.  This makes it an invaluable resource.

What is Asphalt?

Like I mentioned before, asphalt is often a recycled material.  This makes it a sustainable option for paving roads, like this website mentions: http://www.asphaltfacts.com/about/what-asphalt/.  If you’re wondering what it’s made of, the answer is simple!  It’s created with gravel, sand, rocks, and cement.  

There are many reasons we use it for so much.  For one thing, it’s a smooth material.  This helps lessen noise and emission pollution from roads, even if they see a lot of traffic.  It’s also quite durable, meaning repairs and replacement is easy and rarely needs to happen.  Asphalt is also safe due to the gripping power, lessening road accidents.

What is an Anti-Stripping Agent?

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This is a slightly more difficult question to answer.  Perhaps I should start with what “stripping” of asphalt actually is.  While this article can provide slightly more technical terms, I think I can explain as well.  Asphalt, without an anti-stripping agent, can break down over time.

What is Stripping?

This usually happens due to environmental factors like rain, snow, or heavy winds.  This can result in cracking of the pavement and potholes.  When talking road pavement, two important facets are adhesion and cohesion.  

Adhesion and cohesion determine the life and durability of asphalt pavement.  It is essentially how well the ingredients in an asphalt mixture stick together and stick to the ground where they have been laid.  These concepts can be somewhat confusing, but that’s the main idea!

Stripping happens most often when the asphalt has more adhesion to wherever it is laid than cohesion with the other ingredients within the mixture.  So, parts of the mixture detach, resulting in those cracks and holes.  

This can be caused by a lot of different factors.  Of course, it could be a flaw in the mixture itself (commonly known as “aggregate” in the construction field).  If there is no protective agent, the asphalt is more likely to break down over time.  That’s not the only possibility, though.

Harsh sunlight and road treatments for ice and snow can cause it as well.  The place where asphalt is laid has an impact.  For example, a mixture might react differently to a limestone base than a different base.

Types of Anti-Stripping Agents

Given the amount of ways asphalt might strip, it only makes sense there are a few compounds that can protect against this.  One type of anti stripping agent for asphalt is hydrated lime.  The other category is called liquid anti-strip.  

The makeup of the asphalt mixture, or aggregate, will help determine what kind of anti-stripping agent you should choose.  It’s important to determine whether yours is heavy in quartz, for example, because a hydrated lime might be required to prevent the breakdown of the asphalt before its time.

Why is This Important?

If you’re like me, a lot of this might have sounded like nonsense.  At least, it probably sounds like something you don’t need to worry about.  However, like I mentioned before, asphalt production actually is quite important as we consider the environment. 

Asphalt pollution is a thing, especially when it’s first laid.  That’s why it’s really important to find ways to make it last longer.  The less we have to repave our roads, the better it is for our planet! 

Because asphalt is a recycled material, it’s one worth continuing to improve and work on.  The more the sun shines down upon it, especially if it isn’t made with an anti-stripping material, the more pollutants are released into the air.  This is because it the sunlight is breaking down some of the chemicals in the mixture. 

So, while asphalt might not seem like something we should all learn about, I think it’s important to understand.  Anti-stripping agents are going to be more and more critical as we study the environmental impacts of asphalt.  Freshly-laid roofing and roads can be a big pollutant, which is why we want to make sure we don’t have to constantly replace our roads.

Anti-stripping agents for asphalt are a good way to help with this.  That’s why I think learning about it is such a positive thing.  The more we educate ourselves, the more we can help lessen our impact on the environment!