ACE XP Polymer Fiber® underwent a rigorous test of the strength and durability it provides to asphalt pavements at the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) test track in Opelika, AL, October 2021. NCAT is a partnership between the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) and Auburn University, and since its inception in 1986, it has gained international recognition for stellar research on asphalt pavements.
“We are extremely honored and excited to be granted the NCAT Test Track opportunity to continue to prove the value of ACE XP Polymer Fibers® in asphalt,” said Steve Santa Cruz, president of Surface Tech.
NCAT Test Track section sponsors, which include various DOTs and FHWA, select the products they want to see tested. Five additive products were chosen for testing in the Additive Group — an SBS polymer, a dry plastic, a wet plastic, rubber, and ACE XP.
For the Surface Tech, six DOTs and the FHWA co-sponsored its full 200-foot section. Surface Tech added a single dose of ACE XP Polymer Fibers® into the dense-grade Superpave mix using the company’s Sentinel auto-dosing system at East Alabama Paving’s plant.
Sensors installed underneath the pavement will monitor load and strain. Rutting, cracking and other distresses will be monitored through repeated observations. The pavement is designed for forced early failure. Instead of the typical thick pavement layers on highways, the Additive Group sections feature one monolithic, five-inch layer.
“NCAT has succeeded in designing a perfect test platform for understanding early pavement failure,” said Phil Blankenship, principal of Blankenship Asphalt Tech & Training. “These are highly engineered sections of pavement that will provide excellent feedback on what works and doesn’t work. The results can be a game changer, because one real-world test is worth a thousand lab tests.”