Laser Characterization of Fine Aggregate
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Laser Characterization of Fine Aggregate

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  • English

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      This report describes the results of a research effort to establish the feasibility of using a laser monitoring system to provide real-time data to characterize aggregate properties in a laboratory or field environment. This was accomplished by using the known physical, chemical and mechanical properties and aggregate criteria as defined by AASHTO and ASTM test methods and correlating these properties with spectral emission data induced by a laser in a process referred to as Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS). The authors believe that the success of this research in making such a correlation is based on two primary factors; 1) The laser ablation process can generate an emission with over 13,000 potential wavelengths, and these data provide a rich spectra that can be used to pattern match or fingerprint latent properties within the material that are not readily identifiable by conventional elemental or mineralogical testing methods, and 2) the development of multivariate statistical software models that can process large spectral arrays has made it possible to manage and analyze in real time data from the emission spectra generated during a laser ablation process. The primary advantage of LIBS over conventional aggregate testing and screening methods is its potential to identify the aggregate source in real-time in the field without sample preparation. This provides a means to identify preapproved materials and to ensure that only such materials are being introduced into the production process. It also provides a means to calibrate the spectral pattern or fingerprint against known engineering properties to determine whether the aggregate can be expected to pass or fail designated test criteria. A pooled fund study is currently under development to demonstrate the subject technology in the field, providing owner/agencies with a real time, recording tool for monitoring materials used in highway construction.
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