Asphalt Innovation Lab
The Asphalt Innovation Laboratory, accredited by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, has state-of-the-art equipment and world-renowned researchers from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) that are investigating, developing and deploying improvements in asphalt technology. Researchers focus not only on defining problems, but solving them, and helping implement the solutions to improve our roadways for the traveling public and provide more effective products for transportation professionals who are building and maintaining the transportation system. The experts in this lab employ a holistic approach to pavements. A better understanding of asphalt through the innovations developed in this lab is leading to the development and implementation of pavements that rut and crack less, are longer lasting and ultimately cost less over their designed life.
- Multi-disciplinary research in expedited construction, environmental impacts of pavement, and synergy between pavement surfaces and autonomous vehicles and/or energy grids.
- Provide recommendations to maintain proper levels of drainability, noise reduction, skid resistance, and smoothness for safety and user satisfaction.
- Increase the life and level of service of existing infrastructure by offering solutions to the common defects and failures that affect our roads and highways such as rutting, cracking, and raveling.
- Binder Testing:
- Saturate, Aromatic, Resin and Asphaltene (SARA) fractional analysis of binder components.
- Superpave PG binder equipment: three Dynamic Shear Rheometers (DSRs), two Bending Beam Rheometers (BBRs), a Direct Tension Tester (DTT), two Pressure Aging Vessels (PAVs), and a Rolling Thin Film Oven Test (RTFOT).
- X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and Exudation Droplet and Fourier transform infrared analysis (FT-IR) for compatibility and aging analyses.
- Mixture Testing:
- Multiple loading systems capable of conducting modulus testing and other rutting and fatigue resistance tests, one of which is the Asphalt Mixture Performance Tester (AMPT).
- Pneumatic-loading system for resilient modulus (MR) testing, and a loading system for semi-circular bending (SCB) and indirect tensile (IDT) strength testing.
- Modified Pneumatic Adhesion Tensile Testing Instrument (PATTI) and pull-off tests used to characterize the adhesion between binders and aggregates.
- Repeated loading test equipment such as the Texas Overlay Tester (OT), the Hamburg Wheel Tracking Test (HWTT), and the Asphalt Pavement Analyzer (APA).
- Equipment for mixture oven-aging, moisture conditioning, and specimen fabrication including:
- The CoreLok device.
- Three gyratory molding machines including two Superpave Gyratory Compactors (SGCs).
- European rolling wheel compactor.
- Wirtgen WLB 10 S laboratory-scale foamed bitumen plant for fabrication of laboratory-mixed HMA or FDR specimens.
- Temperature and moisture-controlled chambers.
- Universal Sorption Device (USD) to measure free energy of aggregate particles
See us in action:
Division Head, Materials & Pavements Division, TTI
Dr. Kai-Wei (Victor) Liu
Lab Manager, Assistant Research Scientist
(979) 317-2313 x42313