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Mid-America Transportation Center

NDOR Infrared Thermography-Driven Detection and Evaluation of Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) Pavements

Final Report
click to download report


University of Nebraska-Lincoln


  • Principal Investigator: Yong Kwon Cho ( 402-554-3277)
  • Project Status
  • Start Date: 7/1/2007
  • End Date: 6/30/2009
  • Sponsors & Partners
  • Nebraska Department of Roads
  • About this Project
    Brief Project Description & Background
    The study expects to accomplish the goal of investigating the variables that have a significant effect on HMA mix temperature segregation through innovative methods. This will be accomplished by following four specific objectives to: (1) evaluate the possible reasons for the occurrence of thermal differentials during HMA construction process, (2) develop a practical and economical method of preventing and managing HMA thermal differentials, (3) validate the effectiveness of infrared thermal images as a test modality for assessing thermal differentials in HMA, and (4) validate the effectiveness of non-nuclear density gauge as test modality for assessing HMA densities.
    Research Objective
    The main objective of this research project is to investigate variables which have a significant effect on HMA mix temperature segregation during roadway construction using an infrared thermal image camera and a non-nuclear density gauge.
    This research is to study more realistic explanations of how variables are created and dealt with during hot mix asphalt (HMA) paving construction. Several paving projects across the state of Nebraska have been visited where sensory devices were used to test how the selected variables contribute to temperature differentials including density, moisture content within the asphalt, material surface temperature, internal temperature, wind speed, haul time, and equipment type. Areas of high temperature differentials are identified using an infrared camera whose usefulness was initially confirmed with a penetrating thermometer. A non-nuclear density device was also used to record how the lower temperature asphalt density compared to the more consistent hot area. After all variables were recorded, the locations were marked digitally via a handheld global positioning system (GPS) to aid in locating points of interest for future site revisits in order to verify research findings. In addition to the location-based database system using Google Earth, an extensive database query system was built which contains all data collected and analyzed during the period of this study. Research findings indicate that previously assumed variables thought to contribute to decreased density due to temperature differentials, like haul time and air temperature, have little impact on overall pavement quality. Additionally, the relationship between groups of temperature differentials and premature distresses one year after paving was clearly linked.
    Total Project Cost
    $ 92,963