SWEPCO Products for Pavement

When asphalt pavement is first laid, it has some degree of resilience and natural waterproofing characteristics. These derive from the asphalt binder portion. In this state, the pavement is able to shed water and accommodate compressive strength effectively.

The problem is that asphalt pavement deterioration begins as soon as the pavement is laid. The process starts with the sun’s harmful radiation. Infrared and ultraviolet radiation slowly destroy the oils which make asphalt soft, flexible and adhesive. As this process of oxidation progresses, the binding function of the asphalt is compromised. Small pits form in the surface layer. Aggregate loosens and erodes away. The surface becomes more brittle. Hairline cracks begin. Freeze/thaw cycles and soil and subgrade instability cause the cracks to widen.

As the cracks widen, they funnel water into the subbase and subgrade where they accumulate and eventually cause erosion of the supporting subgrade and/or heaving of the surface as trapped water expands in freezing climates.

Once erosion of the subgrade or heaving has occurred, the pavement is subject to additional erosion and eventual collapse into a chuck hole or pot hole. This cycle is as predictable as the sun and rain themselves.

Total destruction occurs when the pavement materials have been weakened and the physical performance properties can no longer resist the stresses to which they are exposed. In such cases, there is no option but to remove and replace the pavement or to compact it and follow with an asphalt overlay. Both solutions are much more expensive than regular preventive maintenance would have been.

Concrete pavement as a general rule is more durable than asphalt pavement. Much of the damage which occurs to concrete pavement is man made … exposure to excessive loads, caustic chemicals, poor preparation of the pavement subgrade, poor concrete workmanship and other causes. But a few also result from nature … freeze/thaw damage, slow deterioration of expansion joint materials, deterioration of mortar joints and the natural process of erosion.

All of these create problems that should be repaired as they develop or prevented with sound maintenance programs before they occur.

Southwestern Petroleum Corporation makes a complete line of coatings, sealants, patching materials and resurfacers for protection and renewal of paved surfaces.