Use of modified asphalt with Gilsonite

Gilsonite is a cost-effective additive that increases resistance, decreases groove and cracks in the asphalt surface. It has been used as an additive to improve pavement performance for over 100 years. While field experience has shown the benefits of using Gilsonite, the unique characteristics of asphalt modified by Gilsonite have not been well demonstrated due to the lack of a comprehensive evaluation. But, it is generally clear that the use of this substance is of great importance for a variety of reasons.

The importance of using modified and high quality asphalt

Perhaps the most important reason for this is the economy. Much of the municipality’s budget, development and civil engineering and public transport and transportation costs are spent on the production, implementation, maintenance and repair of asphalt on roads and streets. Under these conditions, if you can produce asphalt that is more than two or three times as long as ordinary asphalt, it can achieve significant savings in these costs. On the other hand, if the material used in modified asphalt is cheaper, the cost of producing this material will naturally decrease.

The second aspect to consider regarding the importance of using natural asphalt is environmental protection. Petroleum bitumens contain heavy aromatic substances that may gradually enter nature due to environmental erosion, such as rainfall. Using bitumen or Gilsonite can have a significant impact on reducing these types of contaminants.

Improving driving conditions is another issue that highlights the use of bitumen in road asphalt. Naturally, the higher the quality of the pavement, the easier it is to drive and the safer it will be, which can reduce indirect costs such as accidents and amortization costs. Improved bitumen asphalt, less susceptible to changes in temperature, deformation and high resistance to friction and weathering, can help improve road quality and improve road safety in different climates.

Preserving natural resources is another important aspect of using Gilsonite. Every country wants to preserve its natural and mineral resources as much as possible. On the one hand, it is important to note that asphalt is made from natural raw materials. Therefore, the more durable and recyclable the end result is, the more appropriate it is for natural resource conservation policies. For this reason, producing a modified asphalt with lower production cost, lower toxicity and equal or better quality is one of the goals of asphalt researchers.

Laboratory results show that asphalt hardness contains 10 percent Gilsonite 1357 kg, while in the absence of Gilsonite it is 1097 kg. As a result, Gilsonite-modified asphalt has greater rigidity, strength, and longer service life than conventional asphalt. In addition, it is cheaper and more environmentally friendly and contains more bitumen.

Typically, 5 to 15 percent Gilsonite is added to the mix binder. Gilsonite reduces low temperature pavement properties and makes it susceptible to thermal cracking. Bitumen melted in hot asphalt reduces infiltration and increases viscosity of asphalt binder.

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