The evolution of “new age” asphalt release agents like PavePro are changing the asphalt industry forever. A recent research study proved that not only do petroleum-free, diesel fuel-alternative release agents perform better than diesel fuel, but they also cause near-zero harm to the asphalt, compared to the intense destruction caused by diesel fuel.

We all know that diesel fuel is the go-to asphalt release agent; the good ‘ol number 2. The question is, should it be

Thousands of paving contractors across the nation use diesel fuel every single day as their release agent. While diesel fuel is cheap, easily accessible, and efficient, it comes at a cost. Not only is it illegal to use in the United States (regardless of your state), but it doesn’t even work as well as a product like PavePro. Let’s take a look at a study that analyzed the performance and damage to asphalt from bio-sourced asphalt release agents (ARAs) compared to diesel fuel. 

The Study: Background and Purpose

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The background of the study is rooted in the need for safer and more environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional petroleum-based ARAs, such as diesel fuel. Diesel is harmful to workers and the environment and can cause damage to asphalt. Consequently, regulations and restrictions have been imposed on the use of petroleum-based products. In response to these regulations and in a search for more effective options, bio-based alternatives have been developed.

This study aims to analyze bio-based alternatives to traditional means of preventing asphalt build-up used in the construction industry, with a specific focus on their performance, safety, and chemical composition. The research also assesses the impact of these agents and diesel fuel on the asphalt’s strength and integrity. 

The researchers wanted to address the limited understanding of ARA performance and its impact on asphalt pavement, as ARA manufacturers, unlike PavePro, rarely publish their results (here are ours). 

The study introduced testing methods to quantify ARA performance and damage to asphalt mix, including an asphalt slide test and a test involving the submerging of bitumen samples in an agent to study the degradation in the asphaltic cement. The goal is to assess the performance of both ARAs and diesel fuel.

The primary objective of the research is to enhance the understanding of how bio-based ARAs function, with a focus on their chemical composition, safety, and performance, particularly on asphalt mix and bitumen.

Tired of your good-for-nothing asphalt remover or release agent and ready to make a switch?

The Study: Findings and Conclusion

Bitumen degradation by ARAs

A degradation test to determine how asphalt release agents degrade the integrity of asphalt was conducted by weighing and then placing asphalt samples into beakers filled with the release agent and then reweighing the sample. Researchers are then able to determine how much asphaltic cement has been stripped from the sample over a certain amount of time. This test is incredibly common for NTPEP and DOTs who conduct their own ARA testing. 

The 24-hour test showed that:

  • 5 different asphalt solvents degraded bitumen between 32% and 64%
  • Diesel fuel degraded bitumen by 67%
  • 4 different asphalt release agents degraded bitumen by 0% to 28% (excluding a 53% abnormality)

TAKEAWAY: Diesel fuel degrades three times as much bitumen as an asphalt release agent does.

ARA performance by asphalt slide test

A slide test was conducted to simulate what happens during hot mix hauling. In its simplest form, an asphalt release agent is applied to a metal plate where hot mix asphalt is evenly spread out and allowed to sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, the metal sheet is inclined to 45° to allow the asphalt to slide off the plate. The remaining stuck asphalt is weighed to compare the performance of the ARA.

The results showed two things:

  • Time to begin sliding
    • Diesel fuel took 8 seconds to begin sliding
    • An asphalt solvent took 12 seconds
    • Two asphalt release agents took 5 and 5.5 seconds to start sliding
  • Residual mass left behind
    • Diesel fuel and the asphalt solvent left 9 grams of asphalt stuck on the metal
    • The asphalt release agents left behind 7 and 8 grams respectively

TAKEAWAY: Asphalt release agents prevent asphalt from sticking better than diesel fuel does.

What Makes PavePro Better Than Diesel Fuel

Overall, this research emphasizes the importance of shopping and researching for asphalt-release alternatives to diesel fuel. 

This is concrete evidence that, despite the great reputation of diesel fuel, there are better products out there than the beloved #2. 

A great example of this is PavePro. Our product line contains asphalt release agents, asphalt solvents, and two-in-one solutions that all outperform diesel fuel. 

Let’s compare PavePro to diesel fuel based on this research study’s findings:

  • PavePro degrades LESS asphalt than diesel fuel
    • Our release agents blew our competitors out of the water in NTPEP testing
  • PavePro is a cost-effective option as a release agent
    • Even our most expensive release agent costs less than a couple of pennies per truckload to prevent build-up and is loved by asphalt plants across the country
  • PavePro has the highest flash point of any product on the market
    • With a flash point of over 400°F, PavePro lasts 3-4x longer than diesel fuel does as a release agent because it doesn’t evaporate away under the heat of the asphalt mix

It’s a no-brainer that a product like PavePro would eventually come to the market. There’s a huge space for improvement upon diesel fuel as a release agent, and we designed and formulated PavePro to fill that void. 



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