In the US, we refer to most of our roads that have had a surface laid down on top of the bare ground as pavement and, because much of this surfacing is asphalted, they are also known as ?blacktop? from the color of the bituminous concrete covering. Since Richmond VA is in the States; let?s use the word ?pavement? to mean an asphalted surface. However, it need not be a road; it could also apply to parking lots, driveways and even tennis courts and the like.
What Is Asphalt?
Asphalt should more correctly be called ?asphalt concrete? since it is a mix of bituminous pitch with solid mineral aggregates (small stones) and , in engineering terminology, a pourable substance that will later harden is called concrete if it contains aggregate. The pitch can be either naturally occurring or produced as a byproduct of crude oil refining.
Why Asphalt & Are There Any Inherent Problems?
Generally speaking, asphalted surfaces give a smoother and quieter ride to vehicles passing over them but, they do have some lifetime faults that require a regular preventative maintenance program (known as asphalt maintenance) to keep them in good condition. These days, correct mixing of the asphalt concrete can largely overcome the hot summer weather melting of the tar that was the mainstay of earlier tarmac roads and much of the current surface degradation is due to ?
*a combination of weight and frequency of vehicles passing over the surface
*the nature of the soil or bedrock onto which the asphalt is laid
*effects of spilled motor fuels and lubricants
*moisture within the layers freezing in winter causing expansion and cracking of the asphalt
*possible UV damage and general weathering.
Some small cracks can be filled and sealed with bituminous sealant which prevents water from entering existing cracks and causing winter frost damage. This will also stop water from percolating down to the sub-base and softening it. However, for a really complete protection, the whole surface area should be treated with pavement sealcoating from Richmond VA area
There are three basic types of compound that can be spread over an existing asphalted surface to prolong its useful life ? coal tar, asphalt emulsions or, acrylic polymers. Each has its own pros and cons depending upon the local conditions where it is to be applied. It is estimated that pavement sealcoating from Richmond VA can give a surface up to 30 years of additional useful life.
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