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Why flash point is a crucial factor when shopping for an asphalt solvent and cleaner

Why flash point is a crucial factor when shopping for an asphalt solvent and cleaner

One of the first questions you need to ask when purchasing an asphalt solvent, asphalt cleaner, or asphalt release agent is whether it is a safe product to use. When comparing solvents and degreasers like diesel fuel, citrus, and PavePro–there is a clear winner when it comes to safety. Let’s look at why that is and what is so daggum important about flashpoint.

Flash point 101

The flash point of a solvent “is the lowest temperature at which the substance evaporates to form an ignitable mixture with air in the presence of an igneous source and continues burning after the trigger source is removed.” That is chemistry talk for the temperature that your solvent begins to evaporate, and in the presence of intense heat, a spark, or a flame can ignite and explode or catch on fire.
 
Flash point is no joke. Substances with low flash points put your equipment and your workers at risk of severe injury or death. Not only is flash point dangerous, but it indicates flammability and Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste classification and should be included in Section 9 of the SDS, which covers physical and chemical properties.

Measuring flash point

There are plenty of ways to measure flash point, but in construction one method reigns supreme: the Pensky-Martens closed-cup test. This test is the most common and provides the construction industries, particularly the asphalt industry, the best approximation of the true flash point of a product.
 
The test is administered by filling a brass testing cup with the asphalt solvent or cleaner and heating and stirring the specimen at specified rates. An ignition source is then directed into the cup at regular intervals, pausing the stirring, until a flash is detected. The flash point is then recorded and corrected for barometric pressure.
A Pensky-Martens closed cup flash point analyzer

A Pensky-Martens closed cup flash point analyzer

The various flash points of asphalt solvents

Before we discuss the importance of flash point and how it relates to safety and effectiveness in your asphalt paving operations, let’s take a look at the flash points of diesel fuel, citrus cleaners, and PavePro’s asphalt solvent and release agent.
  • PavePro – up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Diesel – 130 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Citrus – 115 degrees Fahrenheit
As you can see, the flash point of diesel fuel is around 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Citrus cleaners are even lower hovering around 110-120 degrees Fahrenheit. PavePro is superior to diesel and citrus with a flashpoint recorded at well over 200 degrees Fahrenheit, but closer to 400 degrees in most scenarios.

The importance of flash point

A low flash point is not worth the risk presented by diesel fuel and citrus. It poses red flags like unsafe work environments, hazardous waste classification, and decreased effectiveness. It goes without saying: it ain’t worth it.

Solvents with low flash points are unsafe

These flash points are all based on closed-cup measurements, but even in open area and non-lab settings, diesel fuel has caused many asphalt-related explosions.
 
ForConstructionPros.com reported an asphalt explosion that left the lids on top of the asphalt baghouse miles from the site of the combustion. The man spraying diesel on the silo was engulfed in a fireball leaving him disabled and unable to work for the rest of his life.
 
Looking at the damage caused by one of these explosions speaks volumes. Diesel fuel is dangerous. There are no exceptions to that. And unfortunately, citrus cleaners are even worse than diesel when it comes to flash point.

Solvents with low flash points are considered hazardous waste

Flash point is used as one of four criteria when determining whether a substance is labeled by the EPA as RCRA hazardous waste. Because a material must only meet one of the four criteria to be labeled as hazardous waste and the threshold is a flash point less than 140 degrees Fahrenheit, both diesel fuel and citrus cleaners are considered hazardous waste products.
 
Hazardous waste poses many problems for asphalt crews. The EPA classifies hazardous waste as dangerous to both humans and the environment. This is why you see lists like the National Transportation Product Evaluation Program’s (NTPEP) approved products lists for various DOTs. For many contractors, they cannot even bid on government jobs without using an approved product that is not classified as hazardous waste.
 
If you aren’t required to use a certain product by the DOT, you can get in trouble with the EPA if you are found in violation of the Clean Water Act with fines up to $180,000. For paving crews who tend to use asphalt release agents, asphalt cleaners and solvents and degreasers at shops, laydown sites and asphalt plants, using a RCRA hazardous waste product like diesel fuel or citrus is both risky and unsafe.

Solvents with a low flash point are less effective over time

The flash point of a solvent does not directly affect the power of the solvency, but it does affect how long the solvent can work. The flash point is directly related to the evaporation rate. A solvent or release agent with a low flash point will evaporate in high heat much faster than a solvent or release agent would with a high flash point. This means that the material has less contact time on the asphalt and will have less time to actually break down the bitumen in the asphalt.

PavePro is the end-all solution

Our team developed PavePro to replace the use of diesel fuel and citrus for cleaning and removing asphalt from tools and equipment. With a flash point reaching up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, it is much safer to use in paving operations, avoids EPA fines, and does not evaporate. This means you can spend more time paving without having to worry about hazardous materials or explosions on the job site.
 
Not only is our asphalt remover safer and legal, it works as well as diesel fuel at cleaning the asphalt and leaving behind that slick oily film that everyone loves from the original asphalt release agent.
How to clean asphalt off boots, clothes and hands with ease

How to clean asphalt off boots, clothes and hands with ease

If you like the smell of diesel fuel, go ahead and click away. But if you’re like every other person in the asphalt paving industry, we’ve got a solution for you. With PavePro, you can remove asphalt, tack and tar off of your boots, clothes and hands in a few minutes without having to drench yourself in stinky diesel.

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Sometimes, asphalt is a little too sticky.

It goes without saying that if you work with asphalt, it’s going to stick to places where it shouldn’t stick. We’ve heard it all: on your boots, hands and clothes, behind your ear, under your hat and everywhere between. We’ve even heard stories of guys getting covered in overspray, leaving their jeans and boots polka dotted with sticky tack. They go about the rest of their day before spraying diesel fuel all over his jeans and boots and going home to an angry wife fed up with the smell of diesel and trying to scrape and clean tack and tar out of their clothes.
 
And if you try to go about your work day without getting the asphalt off that stuck to your boots, they could weigh 5 more pounds than when you started the day–something nobody wants to have to deal with. Luckily, there is an easy solution to removing asphalt, tack and tar from yourself.

Diesel is a no-go when it comes to you or your clothes.

No, the solution is not diesel. Sure, it works great when it takes the tack, tar and asphalt right out, but the smell is awful and you’re gonna have to use another product to make it go away. Instead, PavePro is the ideal solution for cleaning asphalt off your boots, clothes and hands. We designed our asphalt solvent and release agent to remove and prevent the toughest of asphalt, tar, tack, oil and grease buildups. We call PavePro legal diesel for a reason. It works like diesel fuel, except it stays on longer and keeps working harder, smells way better and its deactivated with water.
Clothes get in close proximity with asphalt every day.

Clothes often come in close proximity with asphalt. Image courtesy: Nastenkapeka/Getty Images

Remove asphalt from your boots with PavePro.

Buildup on your boots is the worst. Lugging around asphalt-clunked weights on your feet makes your long shift in the sun a lot harder. If you forgot to spray your boots with a release agent before starting the day, you need a way to remove the asphalt with ease.
 
All you’ll need is:
  • PavePro Green
  • A scraping tool
  • A water hose or spray bottle filled with water
  • A rag
 

1. Spray your boots with PavePro

 
A light misting of PavePro’s asphalt solvent on the soles of your boots should do the trick at removing all the asphalt. Let the solvent sit for a few minutes to work its magic through the asphalt buildup. If you ended up with a heavy glob of asphalt on your boots, you might need to take them off and let them sit a bit longer, but in most cases, a few minutes will do the trick.
 
For tack, tar, grease or oil on the top of your boots, mist a rag with PavePro and wipe the buildup away. It should come off in a couple of passes.

 

2. Scrape or wipe away the buildup

 
With your scraping tool, remove the remaining asphalt buildup from the soles of your boot and then wipe away any excess material with a rag. If you had buildup on the top of your boots, use the rag to remove that as well.
 
Oftentimes, you won’t even need to use a scraper or rag to remove the PavePro. Most customers tell us that PavePro melts the asphalt so well they don’t even need to remove anything by hand.

 

3. Rinse with water

Rinse the remaining asphalt and grime off of your boots and deactivate the PavePro with water. No need to worry about the solvent harming your work boots. When you see the green PavePro turn a milky white color, you’re good to go.

Prevent asphalt buildup on your boots with PavePro.

Not only is PavePro an asphalt solvent and asphalt cleaner, but it also works as a release agent. Its slow evaporation rate keeps PavePro on much longer than other “homemade release agents” or diesel fuel under the intense heat of the asphalt. With PavePro, you can prevent asphalt buildup before it even occurs.
 
You will need:
  • PavePro Green
  • Sprayer

1. Ensure your boots are dry

Because PavePro deactivates with water, you’ll want to make sure that there is no water on the sole of your boots. Dirt, asphalt, or other materials are okay, so long as they are not wet with water.

 

2. Spray your soles with PavePro

Fill your sprayer with PavePro and mist your boots with the PavePro. This will prevent asphalt buildup so you can spend more time working and less time scraping and cleaning your boots.
Asphalt commonly sticks to boots without a release agent

Asphalt sticks to boots without an asphalt release agent. Image courtesy: Kozmoat98/Getty Images

Remove asphalt from your clothes with PavePro.

Putting grimy clothes covered in asphalt in your washing machine won’t get the job done and will end up forcing you to buy a new machine. Using diesel fuel to remove the buildup leaves your clothes smelling awful and your family steering clear of you after work. With PavePro, you can remove the asphalt, tack, tar and oil from your clothes in a few seconds of work.
 
You will need:
  • PavePro Green
  • Sprayer
  • Washing machine

1. Spray with PavePro

At the end of the day, you won’t have to worry about actually cleaning your clothes, per se. Instead, spray the trouble areas with PavePro and let it soak for a few minutes before throwing it in the washing machine.

 

2. Run the washing machine

Wash your clothes as you would with detergent and your once asphalt-soiled clothes will come out fresh and clean. The water in the wash will deactivate the PavePro and you’ll be good to go.
 
We recommend that you wash these clothes separate from clothes without asphalt, tar, tack, oil or grease on them to prevent any loose material from clinging to the other clothes.

Remove asphalt from your hands with PavePro.

Soap and water won’t cut it. You can scrub your heart out but you’re going to need something stronger to clean the asphalt, tack, tar, oil and grease off of your hands. With PavePro, it’s easier than ever.
 
You will need:
  • PavePro Green
  • Rag
  • Water
  • Optional: Hand soap

1. Spray your hands with PavePro

Mist your hands with PavePro to begin breaking down the buildup. If you tried to wash your hands before, make sure they are dry before applying the asphalt solvent.

 

2. Wipe clean with a rag

Use a rag to wipe away any buildup and extra PavePro on your hands. Watch the quick video below to see these first two steps in action:

3. Rinse your hands with water

Use water to deactivate the PavePro and wash away any material left over from removing the buildup. If you have a sink and hand soap available, you can also wash your hands, but this is not always necessary.
 
 
Your wife and kids will thank you when you stop coming home smelling like diesel fuel and instead start applying these tips to using PavePro on your boots, clothes and hands. With our asphalt solvent and release agent, you can clean any asphalt, tack, tar, oil or grease buildup and prevent future buildups.
Learn more about PavePro here.
The Importance of Evaporation Rate When Using An Asphalt Solvent

The Importance of Evaporation Rate When Using An Asphalt Solvent

If you’ve spent time in the asphalt paving world, you know that your job can be limited by a poor asphalt solvent. Keeping your equipment clean is the key to a successful pave. Asphalt solvents, also known as asphalt cleaners, are designed to break down the sticky asphalt so it can easily be removed from tools and equipment and make the job a whole heck of a lot easier for your workers. Not only that, but a good asphalt solvent like PavePro can keep your paving machines up and running much longer and prevent downtime on the side of the road.

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What is an Evaporation Rate?

The evaporation rate is one overlooked element when shopping for an asphalt solvent. Related to flashpoint, the evaporation rate is what makes an asphalt solvent powerful. You can use the flashpoint to measure the evaporation rate because it is the temperature at which the solvent begins to evaporate or vaporize.
 
While the flashpoint of a solvent does not directly affect the power of a solvent, it does affect how long a solvent works. That’s the difference and that is what is important.
 
Let’s look at some of the science behind different types of solvents and cleaners and their related flashpoints.

The Flashpoints of Various Solvents

Although citrus cleaners have not been banned by the EPA, unlike diesel fuel, they are considered Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste because their flashpoints are below 140° F. Citrus cleaners have a much lower flashpoint than the threshold clocking in at 115°F. Like citrus, diesel fuel has a dangerously low flashpoint at 130°F. That is, in addition to being banned by the EPA.
  • PavePro – 200°F +
  • Diesel – 130°F
  • Citrus – 115°F

The chart above shows the various flashpoints of PavePro, diesel fuel and citrus.

PavePro has the highest flashpoint of any asphalt solvent clocking in well over 200°F+. In fact, PavePro’s flashpoint is so high that we aren’t able to test it in the standard flashpoint testing procedure. Not to mention it is not banned by the EPA, nor considered hazardous material by the RCRA, making it the safest solvent on the market for both flashpoint and biodegradability.

The Problem with Diesel Fuel As A Solvent or Release Agent

The asphalt you lay down is hot, ranging anywhere between 300-350°F on average. Why would anyone want to use a solvent or release agent that evaporates or flashes at less than half of that temperature?
 
The lower the flashpoint of your solvent, the less time the solvent has to work. Not to mention the danger of using diesel fuel as a solvent or release agent, its 130°F flashpoint makes it less effective as a solvent that doesn’t evaporate away.

Citrus Is Even Worse

Sure, citrus is legal, but with a flashpoint 15°F below diesel fuel, it evaporates away faster than diesel. While it might be an effective cleaner, you will find yourself re-applying citrus-based asphalt solvents to get the cleaning results you want.

PavePro Evaporates Slowly

PavePro has a flashpoint of well over 200°F stopping it from evaporating away, allowing the solvency to melt right through the asphalt when cleaning or preventing it from clinging to your tools as a release agent. Because it won’t evaporate away like citrus and diesel, PavePro is a longer-lasting solution that outperforms its competition.

PavePro – 50 shovel loads

Diesel – 37 shovel loads

%

Citrus – 25 shovel loads

The chart above shows the total number of shovel loads of asphalt before buildup occurs.

It was developed to replace the use of solvents and cleaners like citrus and diesel fuel for cleaning asphalt off of tools and equipment. Not only is it much safer to use in asphalt operations, but PavePro is more effective because it doesn’t evaporate away allowing it to work longer and harder than its competition. Additionally, PavePro leaves behind a slick, oily film that works as a release agent on your tools and paving equipment. It stays on longer and works harder so that you can spend less time cleaning up at the end of the day.