A Beginner's Guide To Intelligent Compaction

Posted on: 2 September 2016

Intelligent compaction represents a revolutionary means of increasing the stability--and thus reducing the long term repair costs--of asphalt pavement. Yet, because this technique is still gaining traction in the United States, many construction professionals still don't understand the basic ideas behind it. If you would like to improve your knowledge of contemporary paving techniques, read on. This article will teach you about how intelligent compaction works.

The Basic Idea

Compaction density is a key factor when it comes to the longevity of an asphalt surface. When density is uneven, the risk of potholes, cracks, and raveling all drastically increase. Intelligent compaction offers an incredible means of ensuring correct and consistent density, while still utilizing the same types of drum rollers used in traditional forms of asphalt compaction.

The difference is that, in an intelligent compaction system, those drum rollers are equipped with cutting-edge sensor technology. This technology is capable of taking real-time measurements of the asphalt density and stiffness. This information will cause the roller to automatically increase or decrease its pressure in order to achieve the desired result. Likewise, the operator can make changes in the number of passes made over a particular section.

Necessary Instrumentation

In order to work effectively, intelligent compaction relies on a set of highly specialized instruments. Most important are those that are mounted either inside or adjacent to the roller drums. First, there are compaction meters, whose job it is to provide information about both the asphalt's density and degree of stiffness.

In addition, accelerometers are used to measure the motion of the drum relative to the frame of the compacting machine. This data provides a more nuanced understanding of the stiffness of the asphalt being compacted. This helps to determine such factors as the direction and intensity of the drum's vibration, as well as the speed at which the compactor passes over the surface.

Finally, an intelligent compaction system includes specialized temperature monitoring instrumentation. This permits the operator to monitor the temperature at the surface of the asphalt being compacted. Such information is vital, as negative effects tend to ensue when compaction occurs within certain ranges of temperature.

Feedback Control System

In order for an operator to best make use of the various data being collected by an intelligent compaction system, that data has to be processed and made available in real time. It is generally collated into a special color-coded map, one that allows the operator to assess the needs of a particular surface and make changes as necessary. Yet most intelligent compaction systems also include feedback controls that allow the compactor to make the needed changes itself, adjusting the frequency and force of the roller to obtain near instantaneous results.

For more information, contact a paving company like Phend & Brown.