This guest post was written by Andrew Cooper.
The Asphalt Mixture Automated Testing System with Zero Intervention, developed by Dr. Fujie Zhou at Texas A&M University and soon to be manufactured by Humboldt, marks a significant advancement in asphalt mixture testing in the U.S. This innovative system is designed to automate Balanced Mix Design (BMD). BMD is an approach that utilizes performance tests on conditioned specimens to predict how well the asphalt concrete mixture will perform considering factors like aging, traffic, and climate conditions.
A key feature of this Automated Testing System, is its inclusion of the IDEAL CT and IDEAL RT tests, both developed by Dr. Fujie Zhou. IDEAL CT is the leading BMD cracking test, and IDEAL RT offers a quicker alternative to the Hamburg wheel tracking test, which is traditionally used to assess the rutting susceptibility of asphalt mixture. The National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) has demonstrated that IDEAL RT correlates with the creep curve of the Hamburg test.
One of the most pressing challenges in our industry is a lack of technicians willing to perform these tests. Going forward this situation is unlikely to improve, and younger workers often do not see a career in labs. The difference in care and attention applied to any task is dependent on many factors. These factors contribute to vastly different COVs for tests which are performed following the same method on the same equipment, calibrated every year. This is where the automation of these test processes in this testing system is vital. By automating the testing process, it reduces the potential for human error.
The Asphalt Mixture Automated Testing System with Zero Intervention, is a groundbreaking tool for asphalt mixture testing, meeting the industry's current needs for BMD testing, and offering a solution to the labor shortage and human error by automating the whole test process. Humboldt will soon begin the production of the Asphalt Mixture Automated Testing System. This equipment is set to significantly improve the efficiency, reliability, and overall quality of asphalt testing and road construction in the U.S. and every country in which BMD is adopted. To learn more watch our video.