Portable seal age assessment device set to speed up road management

One of ARRB’s FTIR devices. Image courtesy of ARRB.

The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) has developed a new test method for rapid, in-field characterisation of binder ages using a new piece of technology.

The organisation worked with local governments from around the country to acquire seal samples for testing in its new portable Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) devices.

The device is a similar size to a home printer and can be used to characterise the chemical composition of bituminous samples.

ARRB used the FTIR device to determine the oxidation levels, to indicate ageing, between samples of different ages. As a key factor in performance, ageing characteristics of a bituminous seal will indicate when a road may need maintenance or replacement.

A report was put together on the project, which includes region-specific relationships for determining seal age from the FTIR output in areas that participated.

ARRB found the ability to quickly determine seal age in the field using the portable FTIR device and the resultant reference curves, can assist road managers to manage their networks. This would include the development of longterm maintenance plans, the selection and prioritisation of road sections for resurfacing and resealing operations, and the budgeting of the required future work within their networks.

To find out more about how the device works, please watch the video below.

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