How Hot Is Asphalt

The importance of knowing the asphalt temperature can not be overstated. The temperature at which asphalt’s core material begins to set, enabling it to adhere appropriately to the ground. 

It is essential to maintain asphalt temperatures to obtain compaction and long-term durability of newly paved surfaces.

It is essential to maintain a suitable asphalt temperature when driving on asphalt. The temperature can have an impact on the vehicle’s control during acceleration and deceleration.

The Importance of Asphalt Temperature

Temperatures are crucial since they affect how well you can compact asphalt. Pavements that cool too quickly will not have the required density, making the surface more porous and likely to retain water. Pavement that cools too quickly will not last as long or provide a smooth, beautiful exterior for asphalt.

Asphalt Temperatures to Watch

Although you might think asphalt temperature is all that matters, it’s important to remember other factors. Three critical temperatures determine the strength and ease of paving.

Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) Temperature

Hot-mix asphalt is often delivered to job sites at very high temperatures. It is usually delivered at temperatures between 275 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

The mix should be between 220 to 290 degrees Fahrenheit for the initial rolling. It is not recommended to let asphalt cool off before applying. Mixtures below 185 degrees Fahrenheit will not compact appropriately over paving surfaces and will cause asphalt to become too stiff for proper compacting.

The thickness of the course will determine how long it takes for the contractor to compaction. Thicker layers will cool more quickly than thicker layers, and the asphalt’s cooling rate will also depend on outside temperature, wind speed, and ground temperature.

Ambient Temperature

The ambient or air temperature is simply the temperature in the surrounding environment, and it is the most common measurement.

For most applications, the ambient temperature must be at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit or higher while asphalt is laid and compacted. It is necessary to ensure the practical application of the asphalt mixture.

Pavers will check the weather and plan when it is most favorable. Wind conditions are also crucial as they can rapidly cool asphalt mix to a significant extent. The asphalt hot mix asphalt pavement will cool quicker than usual when there is wind and high wind velocity. Therefore, the ambient temperature might need to be higher than 50 degrees Fahrenheit on very windy days.

Base or Ground Temperature

Ground temperature refers to the temperature of the ground on which asphalt will be laid. This temperature can be much lower than the ambient temperature, especially after a cold night.

The ambient temperature is essential in cooling hot mix asphalt pavement. However, it is not as important as the base temperature, and it should be at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit, just like the ambient temperature.

To measure ground temperature, most contractors use an infrared thermometer, and it must be at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit or higher during the entire process.

Asphalt contractors pay close attention to the mix, ambient, and ground temperatures of every step of the project, regardless of adding new pavement or overlay.

Although you don’t have to wait for the perfect weather to fill potholes and schedule asphalt installation, it is worth considering what temperatures asphalt can be laid at and which extremes to avoid. A-Rock Asphalt Services can help you ensure that the correct asphalt temperature is used in your asphalt installation. Contact us to learn more.

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