Anybody who has worked in the surfacing sector is certainly aware of the advantages of bituminous products. One of the products that come with many benefits is Recycled/Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP). Asphalt that has been recovered from reconstructed surfaces is re-used. It is milled, screened and then mixed with binder and virgin aggregates to create new asphalt material for paving. The following are some advantages of RAP:
All the material used on an asphalt pavement can be reclaimed. It can be re-used more than once and still maintain its quality. In fact, improved technology is making it easier to reclaim the material and also coming up with better and more durable pavement. The life cycle of asphalt never ends; therefore it reduces the cost, environmental destruction, and also helps to preserve scarce natural resources.
Asphalt is a quick drying material. It only talks a few hours or days for it to dry properly. This reduces the inconvenience and interruption that come when laying a new surface. The cost of using RAP or warm mix is more affordable compared to other alternatives. In addition, reusing removed asphalt reduces the cost and time required to carry out a task.
Asphalt adheres to different surfaces quite well. It can be tailor-made to suit a particular application or surface. The material can be customised for a particular type of weather or climate. This will entail varying the mix or size of the aggregate. The flexibility ensures that you can have asphalt pavement for a low, medium or high traffic area.
Asphalt surfaces are known to last for a very long time. They will maintain their quality and structural integrity even under extreme conditions. This is why roads are constructed using the surfacing material. Asphalt is also resistant to different kinds of weather and climate. It can withstand hot sun, heavy downpour, snowstorms and much more.
Asphalt surfaces are very safe. They will provide good traction in any kind of weather hence reducing skidding. The surface has minimal splash back and also dries fast. Its smooth surface allows water to flow easily and reduces snow cover. It is easy to see markings on an asphalt surface.
Within a few hours, asphalt will have dried completely. It only requires minimal tools to repair a surface. Any type of damage whether a large crack or small fissures can be repaired. The carbon footprint of asphalt is quite low. This is achieved through minimal transportation, no fumes and use of warm mix technology.
According to AAPA, the total production of asphalt in Australia in 2012 was 8.84 million tonnes. Out of this, RAP accounted for 0.53 million tonnes. This was just 6.03% of the total production. The same surveys shows that Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) was 0.28 million tonnes. This was a mere 3.21% of the total asphalt production.
In the US, reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) stood at 66.7million tonnes in 2011.This accounted for 19.1% of total production. Asphalt produced through warm-mix technology accounted for 19% of all the asphalt.
From the above comparison, Australia still lags behind in regard to use of RAP. Asphalt offers numerous economic, technical and environmental advantages. It is therefore imperative to roll-out a campaign that will increase the use of warm mix and RAP in Australia.