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What is the difference between Flammable and Combustible?

What is the difference between Flammable and Combustible?

The terms ‘flammable’ and ‘combustible’ are used as if they mean the same thing. However, this is not true, especially when considering the classification of materials. There are several key differences between the two workers must understand in order to ensure the highest level of safety.

The main difference between flammability and combustibility is the flashpoint. Flammable materials have flashpoints below 100 degrees Fahrenheit, while combustible materials have flashpoints above 100 degrees Fahrenheit and below 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Clearly, flammable materials have a low flashpoint, while combustible materials are much higher. However, the range for combustible materials is very wide.

Keeping the flashpoints in mind, flammable materials are much more dangerous to work with as opposed to combustible materials. However, combustible materials, while they do burn at above working temperatures, are still a hazard.

PavePro Green’s flashpoint is above 200 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the safest asphalt remover on the market, as it is neither flammable nor combustible.

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How to Prevent Asphalt Buildup on Tires

How to Prevent Asphalt Buildup on Tires

One of the main problems that paving companies face on a regular basis is asphalt adhering to the tires of the equipment and machinery. Asphalt can be extremely sticky, with the degree of stickiness depending on the difference in temperature between the surface of the newly paved asphalt and the tires.1 Asphalt stuck on tires breaks down their integrity, adds time to the paving job, and ultimately costs your company unnecessary money.

There are several ways to prevent asphalt from sticking on tires. To start with, paving crews must heat their tires before the job and keep them at the correct temperature. If the tire is almost as hot as the asphalt is, it acts as a “lubricant” for the rubber tires.2 Using a wheel cover is a great way to maintain heat on the tires. Wheel covers also protect tires from ambient conditions such as fluctuations in temperature, humidity, and air pressure. Another way to prevent asphalt buildup is to use a release agent. The release agent is mixed with water in the sprayer and applied directly to the tire. It is essential to operations that a release agent is applied to the tire, not a cleaner or solvent. Cleaners break down and destroy tires at a faster rate than not applyi­­­­ng anything at all. Release agents create a barrier between the asphalt and tire, preventing adhesion. Crews have to stop the job immediately when asphalt starts sticking to tires. Release agents are ideal for paving jobs because they help prevent asphalt from sticking in the first place.

Chemtek’s release agent, PavePro Blue, has been evaluated by the NTPEP and established as a high-caliber, very effective release agent. With 100% biodegradability, EPA compliance, and clean ingredients (no silicon), PavePro Blue is the most environmentally friendly and safe release agent on the market. While its main application is on tires, PavePro Blue can also be used on conveyor belts, pulleys, drum rollers, rubber tire rollers, and dump truck beds.

Paving takes time, energy, and focus – make your job easier with PavePro Blue.

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1 How to Overcome Common Compaction Quality Challenges. For Construction Pros. https://www.forconstructionpros.com/equipment/compaction/article/10931467/keys-to-quality-compaction. Published April 30, 2013. Accessed. September 10, 2019.

2 Deahl, Chuck. Solving the Pickup Problem with Asphalt Release Agents. Associated Construction Publications. https://www.hydrochemsystems.com/post/solving-the-pickup-problem-with-asphalt-release-agents. Published October 1, 2006. Accessed September 10, 2019.


Safety Improvements in the Construction Industry

Safety Improvements in the Construction Industry

National Construction Appreciation Week

In honor of National Construction Appreciation Week, we take a moment to celebrate the many safety improvements in the industry in recent years. At Chemtek, worker safety is one of the pillars we focus on with every solution we offer. Having worked closely with the road construction industry for years, we recognize the importance of keeping each worker safe. These workers have contributed to massive infrastructure growth throughout the country. The least we can do is provide them the best working conditions possible. Although there have been many safety regulations put in place aimed at protecting workers, this is a fairly new reality. Occupational safety was not always a priority, with quantity and speed taking precedence. It is estimated that over 14,000 construction workers were killed on the job in 1970. In 2009, there were only 4,340 despite the doubling of the U.S. work force!  

A major milestone on the road to worker safety was the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1971. OSHA issued standards to protect workers from hazards such as asbestos exposure, fatal falls, and electrical injuries to name a few. In 2007, employers became legally obligated to pay for all Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Most recently, OSHA implemented a new standard to limit exposure to silica dust on construction sites.

While great strides in construction and worker safety have been made, there is still room for improvement. Construction workers are the backbone of this country and the United States’ growth and prosperity would not have been possible without them. Thank you to all employees in the construction industry for the hard work you put in every day!

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1 OSHA Celebrates 40 years of accomplishments in the Workplace. OSHA. https://www.osha.gov/osha40/OSHATimeline.pdf. Published 2010. Accessed September 11, 2019.

2 Safety Timeline. Occupational Health & Safety. https://ohsonline.com/Articles/2007/01/01/Safety-Timeline.aspx?Page=5. Published January 1, 2007. Accessed September 11, 2019.

3 Durisko, Jamie. The History of Safety in a Construction Environment. Ving! https://blog.vingapp.com/corporate/the-history-of-safety-in-a-construction-environment. Published October 18, 2017. Accessed September 11, 2019.

4 President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Federal Role in Highway Safety. U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/safety02.cfm#c. Publishing date Not Available. Accessed September 11, 2019.

Do You Need a Release Agent or a Cleaner for Your Paving Operation?

Do You Need a Release Agent or a Cleaner for Your Paving Operation?


Asphalt creates a sticky mess on every tool and piece of equipment it touches from the production process to the lay down site. There are many products on the market to help prevent asphalt from sticking to surfaces and to clean tools and equipment during and after the paving process. Knowing which solution to use in various applications for best results can be tricky. Further complicating the decision are DOT regulations, safety implications, and environmental factors. Let’s take a closer look at asphalt release agents and asphalt cleaners, and how to determine which solution is best for your specific operation.

Release Agents

Asphalt release agents are commonly used at asphalt plants, during transport, and at the laydown site. The purpose of a release agent is to create a barrier between the asphalt and tool (or piece of equipment) to prevent adhesion. Asphalt release agents are heavily regulated by state DOTs and most must undergo evaluation by the National Transportation Product Evaluation Program (NTPEP) to ensure they do not degrade the integrity of the asphalt in any way. Release agents are typically water-based and highly dilutable. While some may form a short-term barrier to prevent asphalt adhesion, many evaporate or wear-away quickly, causing hardened asphalt build-up.


Asphalt cleaners are used after asphalt has already adhered to and hardened on a surface. The purpose of an asphalt cleaner (also called a “solvent”) is to break down the asphalt so it can easily be removed from tools and equipment. Solvents are less regulated by DOTs, but are typically evaluated on how quickly and effectively they break down asphalt for easy removal. Some DOTs do not allow the use of solvents at laydown sites to avoid the risk of spills on new mat. Spilling a solvent on laid asphalt may result in potholes, as the laid asphalt is broken down by the cleaner.


Both release agents and asphalt cleaners serve important functions in the paving process, and typically both products are needed for efficient, clean operations. While release agents can help in preventing some asphalt adhesion, they often fall short in totally preventing asphalt buildup and require frequent re-application, costing valuable time and resources. Asphalt cleaners, on the other hand, serve an important purpose in removing hardened asphalt. However, many solvents are composed of hazardous, flammable ingredients and pose troublesome quality control issues if spilled on freshly laid mat.

Best of Both Worlds

In most paving operations, it is advisable to use an effective release agent prior to laydown and then clean any remaining build-up with and environmentally safe cleaner after paving is complete. PavePro Green is one of the few solutions on the market that offers the best of both worlds by boasting significant release power along with powerful cleaning ability. PavePro Green is designed to be an asphalt solvent, but it also leaves a slick-oily film to prevent asphalt from sticking. It also has the unique ability to be “deactivated” with water – so, if it is spilled on fresh mat, dousing it with water will deactivate its solvent power preventing quality control issues. While PavePro Green is categorized as an asphalt cleaner, its release power is longer lasting than traditional “release agents.”

PavePro Blue

Some DOTs forbid the use of asphalt solvents on the job site regardless of their ability to deactivate. In this case, PavePro Blue, Chemtek’s non-stick release agent, is the best option to use at the job site. PavePro Blue has been evaluated by NTPEP and demonstrates top-tier effectiveness as a release agent. Still, after the job is done, taking tools and equipment back to the shop to clean with PavePro Green is essential to preserve the integrity and life of your paving assets.

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Hurricanes Cause Costly Repairs for Roads & Highways

Hurricanes Cause Costly Repairs for Roads & Highways

Did you know that in 2017, the trio of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria alone cost the government $268 billion in damages? According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), $28 billion is allocated to hurricane damage annually, with increases projected in the future. While this is an astounding figure, one of the areas with the largest portion of this budget is the Department of Transportation (DOT) for road and highway repair. An average of $4.5 billion is appropriated to the DOT alone. However, depending on the severity of the hurricane this figure could be far larger. For example, the DOT was allocated over $13 billion in supplemental funding in response to Hurricane Sandy.1 Flooding is the main cause of this significant need for infrastructure repair. Excessive rain that comes with flooding as well as storm surges wreak havoc on roads and infrastructure.

Weaker storms with less wind power intensity should not be overlooked, as they can cause just as much, if not more damage than stronger storms. Hurricanes Florence and Harvey both came ashore at Category One, but due to the urbanization of the areas in which they hit, their impacts were exacerbated. Oftentimes areas along the coast are more populated as a result of the desirable location, leading to having more paved roads and infrastructure in place.2 This removes nature’s way of helping protect us from these natural disasters. With more urbanization in coastal areas, hurricane damage costs for infrastructure will only continue to rise.2

As a company that works closely with DOTs and paving companies, our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by Hurricane Dorian, as well as those who will be working hard on rebuilding what was damaged.


1 Potential Increases in Hurricane Damage in the United States: Implications for the Federal Budget. Congressional Budget Office. https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/114th-congress-2015-2016/reports/51518-hurricane-damage-onecol.pdf. Published June 2016. Accessed September 4, 2019.

2 Dapena, Kara. The Rising Costs of Hurricanes. The Wall Street Journal.   https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-rising-costs-of-hurricanes-1538222400. Published September 29, 2018. Accessed September 4, 2019.