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How To Know You Can Trust That Pesky Asphalt Release Agent

How To Know You Can Trust That Pesky Asphalt Release Agent

The following article excerpts were written by Richard Williammee, Jr., MS, PE as an editorial in the Texas Asphalt Magazine Fall 2012 edition. Titled “Asphalt Release Agents Go National,” the article describes the rise of the asphalt release agent and the various testing that these asphalt products undergo to ensure an effective and environmentally-friendly product was accessible to paving crews for various asphalt jobs. 

The Problem

“Every producer and contractor who works with asphaltic concrete mixes, whether hot, warm, or cold, has experienced the need to clean up equipment on a daily if not more than daily basis. For decades, this has been done with readily available diesel and solvents. These products work because they are relatively cheap, easy to obtain, and clean the equipment really well. However, in performing this task, they are also causing the asphalt to “soften” and strip off the aggregates. Without this “glue,” the mix quality is compromised and people designing, constructing, and maintaining roadway systems have recognized the need to preserve the integrity of the asphaltic concrete mixes while protecting the environment.” 


This emphasizes the need for a water-emulsifiable solvent like PavePro or the development of a release agent that isn’t destructive or dangerous: enter, PavePro Blue.  


New Tests and Procedures

Asphalt Release Agent (ARA) is now a general term used for products that have been developed to prevent stripping and replace the environmentally hazardous diesel and solvents. From 1997 to 2004, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) created a new test procedure and specification for ARAs, created a list of approved products and then required it in their Specifications.” 


PavePro Blue is a full-strength asphalt release agent tested and approved by TxDOT’s new program for truck beds and other paving equipment. Its advanced formula is not only the safest solution to preventing asphalt buildup, but it beats out competing products in side-by-side comparisons conducted on various job sites.  


The asphalt release agent testing “consists of 3 test procedures; a Stripping test, a Mixture Slide test, and an Asphalt Performance test.  


The Stripping Test

The Stripping test involves taking a vendor’s product, filling up a quart jar, and placing actual hot mix into the solution. Based on the liquid discoloration, it is reported as “No Stripping,” “Slight Stripping,” “Moderate Stripping,” or “Severe Stripping.” Additionally, a visual check of the hot mix is performed to see if the asphalt is stripping from the aggregate; this is done for very dark to opaque products.  


The Mixture Slide Test

The Mixture Slide Test involves the use of an actual plate cut out of a TxDOT truck bed. The ARA is sprayed onto the plate then Hot Mix is placed on the plate. After a specified time, the plate is tilted to see how much of the mix slides off. This is repeated at least twice more without ARA product reapplication. This test simulates the effect of mix in truck beds.  


The Asphalt Performance Test

The Asphalt Performance test involves the application of asphalt liquid poured onto the same truck bed plate. After a certain rest period, the asphalt “patty” is lifted from the plate. This test is repeated a minimum of twice more without reapplication of the ARA product. An accumulative weight is recorded until the specified percentage is achieved. Some ARAs will actually allow more than 3 lifts, which lowers the cost of the product. This test simulates asphalt sitting on items like the pavers, rollers, rakes, lutes, shovels, and elevator slats at the Hot Mix plants.  

The “Approved List”

During the years that TxDOT was developing and running products through their own test procedure, a large percentage failed the Stripping and Mixture Slide tests; a requirement to be approved for truck beds. Eventually, a list of acceptable products developed. However, from the products passing these two tests, approximately 90% failed the Asphalt Performance test which TxDOT listed separately in their Approval List for use on all other field equipment; i.e., pavers, rollers, lutes, shovels, and conveyor belts. Testing of products from across the nation has also revealed the same trend.” 


PavePro Blue passed ALL parts of the TxDOT testing procedure, earning full approval on the TxDOT-Approved Asphalt Release Agents list using NTPEP data and in accordance with Departmental Materials Specification DMS-6410, “Asphalt Release Agents.” 


“TxDOT plans to replace its’ current process with one that uses NTPEP data to determine whether a product will meet its’ specification. As only two products have been released by the Manufacturers for public use, TxDOT has decided to delay its’ conversion date to possibly the end of 2012 and are waiting to see if additional products meet the specifications. Many other States are now looking at their ARA program and Quality Products List. The concept is catching on with the DOTs and Industry to help create and place quality mixes, to provide a long lasting pavement to the traveling public, and protect the environment.” 


Interested in learning more about our asphalt release agent, PavePro Blue, or the TxDOT testing procedures? Feel free to reach out to our knowledgeable team and we can answer all of your questions. After all, don’t you want to know your supplier knows a thing or two about the industry? We do. 

Richard S. Williammee, Jr., MS, PE, is the TxDOT Fort Worth District Materials Engineer. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering in 1984 and a Master’s Degree in Geotechnical Engineering in 2010. He has more than 28 years with TxDOT in the Forth Worth District, 10 of those years in Design and Construction and more than 18 years as a Materials Engineer. Richard is also the NTPEP ARA Technical Chairman.  

Maintaining Your Asphalt Paver: The Key To A Successful Pave

Maintaining Your Asphalt Paver: The Key To A Successful Pave

Asphalt paving equipment is expensive: asphalt pavers are investment that you must maintain to keep in good shape. Not to mention neglecting regular maintenance will lead to a decrease in performance and hinder the success of your job.  

“The paver is the most critical part of an asphalt paving job site,” Brodie Hutchins, VP of dealer development at Wirtgen told ConstructionPros.com. “Everything revolves around that paver. If it goes down, the plant goes down, the rollers go down, the trucks and mills go down, you have fines that can happen, etc. You need to do everything you can to make sure that paver does not break down.” 

Take it from Thomas Construction Texas: “If you’re out running machines, what’s that mean? It’s time to clean them up.” 

“If you’re gonna run them, you have to clean them.”

Keeping your machines and equipment in top shape is essential to a high-functioning paving business. It is also key to preventing future breakdowns later in the season. After all, the last thing you want in the middle of paving season is a paver sitting on the side of the road, not laying asphalt.  

Here are our top recommendations for keeping your paver in tip-top shape: 

1. Inspect Your Asphalt Paver With Daily Maintenance Checks

It’s crucial to perform daily maintenance checks each morning before operating an asphalt paver. An asphalt paver is running for multiple hours every day, most days each week for weeks on end in high heat with highly abrasive material that is constantly wearing the machine down. Checking for damage or worn-out parts is key to ensuring smooth, consistent pavement. You should also check for loose fasteners, damaged components, oil leaks and missing parts each morning as well.  

A comprehensive safety and maintenance checklist, like this one from Caterpillar, can help ensure you inspect and maintain every aspect of your asphalt paver. The Caterpillar guide takes you through all parts of the paver from the ground through the engine compartment to the operator station.  


Asphalt paving crew running their asphalt paver

2. Clean Your Paver Every Day

Everyone dreams of staying young, fresh and hardworking when they start to age. Asphalt pavers are no different. Why damage and wear out your equipment when you can spend a few minutes at the end of each day cleaning up? Failing to remove all excess asphalt from your paver will result in excessive wear of vital elements of your machine’s operation and prevent you from spending more time paving. Neglecting to clean your equipment at the end of the day can also lead to an inconsistent pave or broken parts when cold asphalt chunks become loosened and end up with your new asphalt.  

Using an asphalt remover and solvent like PavePro can help your crews keep your asphalt paver, tools and equipment clean and free of asphalt. PavePro is literally legal diesel. Spray it onto hardened asphalt and in just minutes it will begin to melt away without causing any harm to equipment. It works fast and it’s highly effective, allowing your crews to spend more time paving and less time cleaning. Learn more about PavePro here.  

3. Off-Season Maintenance Is Important

During the slow season or off-season, it is the perfect time to complete in-depth maintenance, clean every nook and cranny of the paver, flush hydraulic systems, and inspect all moving parts. You might even need to replace parts before you can get back out and pave, so it might be helpful to complete inspections earlier in the off-season, rather than later.  

4. Mind The Screed 

Speaking of the off-season, make sure to pay special attention to the screed. Luckily, it’s easy to tell when your screed is out of alignment or broken. You’ll see imperfections in the mat, but you can avoid pavement imperfections in the first place. Just mind your screed during the off-season to ensure that it is in prime condition to pave. The off-season is a perfect time to measure your plate thickness, conduct an ultrasound test, and check important elements like the slide track and heating elements. You can also remove the screed cover and remove debris that might be hiding away from the past season.  

In an interview with ForConstructionPros.com, Tom Travers, a sales manager at Carlson Paving, said: “you’d be shocked at what we’ve found underneath the screed cover. We’ve seen cups, bottles, cans, spray paint and more in there. These are fire hazards and could even explode if not properly removed.” Sounds like a quick end to the paving season that can easily be avoided by simply minding the screed.  

Maintaining an asphalt paving screed

5. Preventative Care Will Keep Your Paver Running

When it comes to asphalt pavers, it’s best to follow the age-old saying, “When in doubt, change it out.” You’ll thank us later when you replace that sketchy part that might make it through the season and you don’t end up out of service for a few days… or weeks. You should also frequently change the asphalt paver’s engine oil and filter, fuel filter and separator and the hydraulic filter. Lubricating moving parts and gears should also be considered regularly to ensure that your paver is performing like it should.  

Another key way to perform preventative care is the use of an asphalt release agent on the screed and paver bin to prevent asphalt from building up and hindering your paving ability. PavePro boasts an impressive release power that leaves a slick oily film on tools and equipment, preventing asphalt from re-adhering to surfaces and allowing you to keep paving without having to worry about asphalt buildups. Learn more about PavePro release agents here.  

This list is in no way all-inclusive. In fact, this is just the start of properly maintaining your asphalt paver. When the success of your entire job revolves around the performance of an asphalt paver, it’s incredibly important to make sure you are maintaining your equipment properly.  

Welcome to Paving Season 2022!

Welcome to Paving Season 2022!

Welcome to Paving Season 2022!


Our favorite time of the year has finally arrived! As temperatures rise across the US, crews are finally warming up their equipment and heading out to work. Welcome to the 2022 paving season.

Adjusting to COVID-19

During these tough times, while so many businesses have had to lay off employees or shut down, the paving, maintenance and road building industry is still hard at work. Contractors across the country have had to adjust their day-to-day operations to follow CDC guidelines due to COVID-19. For many companies, crew sizes have decreased and meetings with customers have moved online. Social distancing has become second nature in an industry where teamwork and communication are keys to success.

Light at the end of the tunnel

While we may not all be fond to these new adjustments, it has become the new normal moving into 2021. According to a study completed during 2020, 87% of construction industries were experiencing project delays. However, many experts predict that we are on the back end of COVID-19. As businesses are reopening and traveling is ramping back up, the paving industry will see a spike in work to be completed–there is light at the end of the tunnel.

A paving boom is on the horizon

For the 2021 fiscal year, the US government introduced a $158.3 billion infrastructure bill. $78.7 billion is dedicated to surface transportation programs, like the highway system, and $75 billion is to be spent on housing and transportation infrastructure recovery impacted by COVID-19. With a huge need to catch up from missed work last year, this bill will encourage a booming 2021 paving season.

PavePro has you covered

With the paving season finally kicking off, PavePro is here to help. If you are still using diesel or your current asphalt solvent is just not cutting it, look no further. PavePro is the most powerful, longest-lasting, and easiest to use asphalt solvent on the market. Backed by science and used by the biggest names in the industry, is PavePro is unmatched.
PavePro is DOT-approved and offers industry-leading solutions for asphalt plants as well.

World of Asphalt 2022 – Come See Us!

World of Asphalt 2022 – Come See Us!

World of Asphalt 2022 – Come and see us!

We’ve made it to Nashville, TN and we are ecstatic to see you! If you are at the 2022 World of Asphalt Show & Conference, come by booth 3660 for an exclusive crew kit deal, meet some of our awesome team members and get a sneak peek of our brand new mobile ordering app coming very soon.


We can’t wait to meet you!


Where In The World Can I Use PavePro?

Where In The World Can I Use PavePro?

PavePro is the ultimate asphalt remover–not only is it highly effective at removing asphalt, but it boasts unmatched release agent qualities. For this reason, it can be used on a wide variety of paving equipment and machinery, achieving two goals at once. Here a few of the uses of PavePro’s biodegradable asphalt solvent.  

  • Truck beds are the most common place release agents are applied. Before a load of asphalt is picked up, the truck bed is sprayed with a release agent to stop asphalt from sticking to the surface. Using a release agent makes the moving process quicker, easier, and more efficient overall. PavePro is also used after the truck bed has been cleared to remove any excess asphalt left behind in the bed.  
  • Shovels, wrenches, and other maintenance tools are constantly dipped in release agents to stop excess asphalt from sticking and weighing them down. Cleaners are also used on shovels and tools, as hardened asphalt degrades their integrity, causing them to slow workers down and eventually break. PavePro makes the job easier for your workers by preventing asphalt buildup, keeping their tools lighter and easier to use.  
  • Asphalt Plants are where the components are mixed and the asphalt is actually created. Integrating PavePro into operations will improve efficiency and keep the equipment, such as drag slats and liquid asphalt lines, running smoothly. 
  • Hoppers temporarily store hot mix asphalt in transport vehicles (pavers and MTVs), so it is very important that a solution is sprayed on the walls and bed to prevent buildup, keeping operations running smoothly and efficiently.  
  • Augers receive hot mix asphalt from the conveyor belt and spread it out over the area being paved. In order for the asphalt to continue being spread consistently and evenly, a release agent must be sprayed to prevent buildup.  
  • Screeds are undoubtedly the most important part of the paver. The screed flattens the asphalt being laid, delivering the correct thickness and initial compaction. Keep the screed clean and functioning at the highest efficiency with PavePro. 
  • Distributor trucks need their exterior tanker, spray bars, and nozzles cleaned daily. Over spray can buildup on the bar and valves, causing the integrity of the equipment to be compromised. Cleaning throughout the day, as well as conducting a deeper clean at the end of day, is much easier with PavePro. 
  • Road Wideners pave asphalt on either side of the road, helping to add and widen lanes. Keep the skid-steer clean and durable with an asphalt remover like PavePro. 
  • Conveyor belts are found in multiple aspects of paving equipment and machinery, including pavers, MTVs, and asphalt plants (drag slats). Conveyor belts carry asphalt, dropping it once it reaches its destination. Ensure a clean drop and smooth function with PavePro.  
  • Rollers ride over freshly laid asphalt, making sure it is compacted and smooth. A release agent must be applied to ensure this process does not ruin the paving job and the roller stays clean and free to sticky asphalt.  
  • Chutes carry asphalt around asphalt plants to various machines and are essential to the asphalt production process. These chutes can clog up with asphalt residue and leftover materials, lowering the efficiency of production. Using PavePro ensures that excess asphalt doesn’t stick to chutes in your asphalt plant.  
  • Grader Blades spreads asphalt out and ensures a consistently flat and smooth surface during paving operations. With the release properties of PavePro, grader blades render much more efficient while paving. 
  • Patch Trucks are used to heat and reclaim both hot mix and cold mix materials and apply them to roads to repair potholes and utility cuts. Just like truck beds, distributor trucks, screeds, and many other paving machines need PavePro to keep clean and efficient.  
  • Hot Boxes keep asphalt hot during paving operations. Preventing asphalt build up and cleaning hot boxes at the end of the work day with PavePro is essential to the paving operation to ensure that heat energy circulation and transfer can still occur properly. 
  • Tires are a common place for asphalt build up. Asphalt stuck on tires breaks down their integrity, adds time to the paving job, and ultimately costs your company unnecessary money. Avoid asphalt build up on tires with PavePro.  
  • Crack Seal equipment and sealcoat equipment also require frequent cleaning and maintenance with PavePro to ensure that they function properly.  

PavePro can help optimize your paving operations and reduce material costs in a multitude of ways. No other product on the market matches PavePro in cleaning power AND release quality.  

If your company is interested in ordering PavePro click here:

Photo courtesy of Sully-Miller Contracting Co.
Video courtesy of Chemtek Inc.