Winter 2016

TenCate Geosynthetics has developed asphalt reinforcement that can extend the service life of a road surface and help to drive down maintenance costs. TenCate Polyfelt® PGM-G, a geosynthetic asphalt pavement fabric with glass and basalt fibres, functions as a waterproof stress-absorbing layer that helps to prevent reflective cracking.  

Some 1.2 million m2 of asphalt reinforcement has been deployed in the Netherlands, with TenCate Geosynthetics having contributed a significant proportion over the years. Road safety benefits from a well-maintained road network. A road is designed for 20 years on average, but increasing traffic intensity, in terms of both numbers and axle loads, is leading to accelerated ageing and crack formation. Road builders are therefore interested in cost-effective methods and materials for laying, rehabilitating and enlarging roads with a longer service life. The application of geocomposites and asphalting treatments help to save costs and extend road life. TenCate Polyfelt® PGM-G is one such geocomposite.

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TenCate Polyfelt® PGM-G asphalt reinforcement has been applied in asphalting work on Grotestraat in Nijverdal (NL). It involves a surface of 4,000 m2, including 1,000 m2 with basalt fibre.

TenCate Polyfelt® PGM-G asphalt reinforcement is a non-woven paving fabric with optimal bitumen-absorbing characteristics and glass filament reinforcement for high tensile strength and low stretch. It ensures the distribution of strain and provides reinforcement. The combination with the bitumen produces a stress-absorbing membrane (SAMI), which prevents the penetration of moisture into the asphalt construction and improves the sealing between the existing asphalt and the overlay.

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‘Asphalt can tolerate compression strength well, but tensile strength poorly,’ explains Marco Hazenkamp (technical sales manager TenCate Geosynthetics). ‘What is remarkable about basalt is its high tensile strength and low stretch, which produces significant material stiffness. So your asphalt gains a backbone for preventative purposes. The reinforcement gives extra strength to the asphalt, so that road life is extended.’ 

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Basalt fibres in the asphalt reinforcement give the asphalt extra strength, thus extending the road life. ‘Your asphalt gains a backbone for preventative purposes.’

New to this asphalt reinforcement is the increased quality of the glass fibres and the widthway application of the basalt fibres. This runs counter to the direction of frequently occurring damage attributable to cracks. During maintenance operations, part of the asphalt is often frozen, after which a new layer is applied. Without asphalt reinforcement, however, existing cracks would grow through into the new asphalt layer. These are called reflective cracks and can be the result of expansion, contraction and deflection of the subgrade owing to fluctuations in temperature. Other possible causes include shifting attributable to traffic load or differential stresses at the interface between the old and new road surface after road-widening work. 

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In the case of new asphalt overlays, TenCate Polyfelt® PGM is often applied over hard surfaces with existing cracks. The glass-fibre reinforcement can handle high tensile strengths before the asphalt cracks or rutting occurs. This means extension of the road’s service life and reduction in maintenance costs. ‘This asphalt reinforcement is widely welcomed.’

Blue fabric (Tecawork Blue 65287)