HMA Longitudinal Joint Evaluation and Construction
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HMA Longitudinal Joint Evaluation and Construction

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    Final Report
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    Longitudinal joint quality is essential to the successful performance of asphalt pavements. A number of states have begun to implement longitudinal joint specifications, and most are based on determinations of density. However, distress at the joint is caused by the ability of air and water to enter the pavement structure, which is also related to permeability. Thus, it is necessary to first determine the test method (or methods) that can best ascertain the quality of a longitudinal joint, and to then identify longitudinal joint construction techniques that are most able to create high quality joints. This project was conducted in two phases. The first phase involved the use of various quality measures (density, permeability, infiltration, and gradation) to describe the quality of longitudinal joints on three projects of varying joint quality. The measures that were able to most accurately identify quality while also adequately discriminating between varying levels of quality were the nuclear density gauge, SSD and vacuum sealing determinations of core density, and infiltration. These methods were then used in Phase 2 to assess a variety of joint construction techniques. Two projects incorporated the use of eight techniques, including the notched wedge joint maker, joint heater, joint stabilizer, joint sealants, and varying rolling patterns. Extensive testing was performed for each test section. The most successful techniques were the joint heater, joint stabilizer, and notched wedge joint maker. Although permeability more completely captures the fundamental failure mechanisms affecting longitudinal joint quality, density is a routine measure already used in virtually all quality programs. Thus, relationships were sought between permeability and density. Distinct differences in permeability were noted for various levels of density and absorption capacity. As a result, it is believed that measures of density are adequate for limiting the permeability at the longitudinal joint. Based on the results of this study, a minimum joint density of 89 percent is recommended. Although test results do indicate that some joint construction techniques provide superior performance, no specific technology is currently recommended for inclusion in the joint density specification.
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