• Iatroscan (picture: MK-6s TLC-FID Analyser) is a chromatographic analysis technique for the characterization of bituminous binders. This technique is based on the separation and quantification of the main components of bitumens (saturated compounds, aromatic fractions, resins, asphaltenes). This affords better understanding of the chemical composition of bitumens (origin, compatibility with polymer additives, etc.) and of modifications induced by external factors such as exposure to air (e.g., during the ageing of binders). The technique can also be used for the quantification of additives in (mastic) asphalt produced at a reduced temperature.
Iatroscan is complementary to other techniques for rheological or mechanical characterization available at BRRC.
Various types of asphalt mixture are used on our road network. Their compositions have to comply with performance criteria set in the tender specifications of the various road-managing authorities. Performance tests are used to check this compliance. One of these tests is the two-point bending test (picture: new device at BRRC) on trapezoidal specimens, to determine the rigidity modulus and investigate resistance to fatigue.
This project subsidized by the Belgian Bureau for Standardization NBN (1st October 2008 – 30th September 2012) was devoted to the development of performance tests for thin and ultra-thin asphalt layers (with a thickness ranging between 10 and 30 mm), which are increasingly used in Belgium and in other European countries. The research effort related directly to a priority set by European standardization committee CEN TC227/WG1, which intends to develop performance tests and performance specifications for all types of asphalt mixture, and to the finalization of ETAG 16, which describes European guidelines for ultra-thin layers. Several test sections (including those with low-noise surface courses on regional road N19 at Turnhout-Kasterlee) were monitored within this project, to validate the test methods.
To advance the quality of asphalt and to design durable asphalt mixtures, it is necessary to have good test methods for the evaluation of bitumen and asphalt properties both in the laboratory and on site. The link between the test results and long-term performance is of major importance in this respect. Moreover, uniformity in the test methods is pursued at the European level.