Governments, regulatory bodies and road authorities all push for and promote sustainability. Contractors respond with strategies to reduce their carbon footprints. Besides optimising their asphalt production and logistics processes, companies are investing in the development of low energy asphalt mixes.
Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) is such an asphalt mixture produced at lower temperatures, thereby requiring less energy. It has recently become very popular in the Netherlands with various types of WMA products being developed by construction companies. In essence, the asphalt mix is modified to reduce the viscosity and the mixture is therefore more flexible at lower temperatures enabling more time available for a very important part of the construction process viz. COMPACTION.
While essential research effort has been put into developing techniques for adjudicating WMA, optimising their composition and rationalising the design; less effort has been put into the operational handling and consequences regarding energy consumption and durability. In short, little is known about actual energy consumption during the asphalt compaction process.
By placing RFID sensors into the asphalt mixture, temperatures and pressures can be measured during laboratory testing and construction, but also during usage and maintenance of the road where additional RFID sensors can be added to measure weather conditions and other long-term parameters.