When it comes to asphalt installation, compaction is probably the single greatest determining factor in pavement performance. Proper compaction not only allows asphalt to achieve the density and strength required to support the pavement’s anticipated traffic load but also helps prevent various forms of damage that can significantly diminish pavement lifespan. 

Read on to learn all about why asphalt compaction is an integral component of any asphalt installation project.

What Does Asphalt Compaction Do?

The asphalt compaction process effectively locks together the asphalt cement and aggregate particles that together form the pavement. As the final step in the asphalt installation process, compaction creates a smooth surface and strong, durable pavement that’s capable of withstanding traffic load. 

Compaction Helps Minimize Fatigue-Related Pavement Damage

Properly designed, structurally sound asphalt pavement should be capable of withstanding considerable long-term fatigue. And while pavement thickness and the strength of the sub-base and subgrade layers factor into the pavement’s fatigue life, air voids play a central role in estimating fatigue life, too.

Several studies have concluded that for each 1% increase in air void content over the maximum acceptable range, the pavement can experience a fatigue life reduction of up to 10%.

Proper Compaction Helps Minimize Moisture Damage

Air voids in compacted asphalt pavement tend to connect to one another, and the greater the volume of air voids, the easier it becomes for water to permeate the pavement’s surface. When water penetration occurs, moisture will gradually degrade the aggregate base layers beneath the asphalt surface. Ultimately, the asphalt will grow weaker and less capable of supporting traffic load. Raveling, stripping, and softness may result.

What’s more, in Minnesota, frigid temperatures can also cause water to freeze and expand beneath the surface of the pavement. This can cause significant cracking, and with freeze-thaw cycles, frost heave damage may also occur.

Bituminous Roadways: Your Twin Cities Source for Premium Asphalt Paving Services

If you’re planning an asphalt paving project, get in touch with our team at Bituminous Roadways for a consultation and estimate. For more than 75 years, we’ve specialized in a wide variety of asphalt paving services, including parking lot paving, road paving, trail and pathway paving, and much more. Our expertise in the industry ensures you get the highest quality finished asphalt project and our entire team is committed to your total satisfaction.

To discuss your project with our experts, call our office today at 651-686-7001 or request a free consultation, and a member of our team will be in touch with you shortly.