Warm Mix Asphalt - A Smart Solution for Building Sustainable Pavements in India
IntroductionThe first national workshop on Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) in India was held on August 8th and 9th at IIT Madras (IITM), under the sponsorship of several major industries, and direction of the faculty members of the Civil Engineering department at IITM. More than 200 representatives from the academia, government and industry actively participated in this workshop, which consisted of lectures, videos and vigorous discussion on the subject of WMA. Judging from the participation, the workshop was a grand success! But one wonders, what is it that made the workshop a success? Why did 200+ people (even through a holiday) took the pain to attend it and actively participate in it? The answer is, more than anything else, the topic itself! WMA is a smart technology that can help engineers realize their dream of constructing good performing and long lasting pavements, and at the same time, decrease energy consumption, emissions and increase the use of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) materials significantly. Too good to be true? Not quite! Every bit about WMA is true, and the rest of the article shows why it is so good.
WMAAs we all know, because of high viscosity of asphalt binders (bitumen), both aggregates and bitumen need to be heated to high temperatures (generally > 150C) for proper mixing, laydown and compaction of asphalt mixes, commonly known as Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA). The high temperature requires the use of significant amount of fuel, and also result in fumes and emissions in the plant and at site. Although well below dangerous levels, these emissions are hazardous and anything that could be done to reduce them, is a step towards the right direction. The rate of emission actually doubles for every 10C rise in temperature.
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