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Controlling reflective cracking with Tensar

Reflective cracking in asphalt pavements typically occurs over aged asphalt layers, joints or cracks of underlying concrete slabs or cement bound base layers and in areas with inadequate bearing capacity.  The failure mechanisms are different. Cracks can be caused by horizontal stress, e.g. caused by traffic or thermal expansion and contraction of aged asphalt layers or underlying concrete slaps. Further they can be caused by vertical movements, e.g. differential settlement between an old and new construction, or a combination of both, horizontal and vertical stress.

How Tensar asphalt grids and composites can help

Tensar’s asphalt reinforcement grids interact with the bitumen bound layer to add tensile stiffness, limiting asphalt strains and reducing the development of cracking. Furthermore, if and when cracks do eventually develop, they are generally much smaller. Structural asphalt grids can also reduce surface rutting associated with low stiffness mixes, subject to slow heavy wheel loading at high temperatures. Asphalt composites are grids bonded to a textile fabric that absorbs bitumen from the bond coat and can act as a stress relief membrane (also known as a Stress Absorbing Membrane Interlayer or SAMI). The fabric can also act as a barrier to assist in the prevention of water entering the pavement underlayers.

Whatever your project, we can help

Tensar’s innovative technology has been used in many projects, and a range of case studies and brochures are available. We can also provide technical support including expert advice, specifications and seminars across the globe.

A proven solution

Over the last 30 years, Tensar’s asphalt reinforcement systems have been subject to extensive independent research and testing at many leading international institutions, including the UK’s University of Nottingham, with performance experience gained from several monitored installations in many countries. 

The benefits

  • Resist reflective cracking: asphalt reinforcement can reduce the development of cracks in the surface layer. The SAMI effect can also reduce stress in the overlay
  • Reduce fatigue cracking: reinforcement can reduce the traffic induced tensile strain in the bottom of the asphalt layer that leads to cracking, reducing the chance of cracking occuring
  • Control cracking due to differential settlement: with road widening, using Tensar TriAx® geogrid to stabilise the new unbound aggregate layer plus a high modulus asphalt reinforcement layer can reduce longitudinal cracking caused by differential settlement
  • Reduce Surface Rutting: inclusion of a structural asphalt grid which interlocks with the asphalt mix may restrict lateral movement associated with surface ruts in low stiffness mixes

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