Advances in Asphalt Research and Specifications in Central America - Costa Rica

Geographically located to the south of Mexico and north of the continent of South America, Central America (CA) has a population of 30 million people in an area of less than 600,000 square kilometers. Surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, the region includes the following countries: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. These last two countries are the most developed. Until the year 2000, research and specifications for asphalt materials were very limited. This was because each country reduced their efforts in adopting American Association for State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) specifications for viscosity graded asphalt and penetration. The only methodology used for designing hot-mix asphalt (HMA) was the Marshall Design procedure. In 2000, the turning point for the asphalt industry arrived when the Central American Manual for Highway and Bridge Construction (CA 2000) adopted the performance graded (PG) grading system, as well as the Superpave method as an option for HMA design and asphalt binder selection. In addition, in 2002, Costa Rica devoted one percent of the fuel tax in order to perform project auditing, applied research, and technology transfer through the Transportation Infrastructure Program (PITRA) of the National Laboratory of Materials of the University of Costa Rica (LanammeUCR). This resulted in a state-of-the-art laboratory. Current research focuses on developing specifications and material analysis which is representative of tropical weather conditions and weak soil foundations of the region. Examples of these research projects are as follows: calibration of the Witczak model for Central America's HMA mixture; development of a new moisture damage test for tropical weather; adaptation of chip and slurry seals for local conditions; nano-characterization of neat and modified asphalt binders; development of fatigue and rutting models for HMA mixtures; and developing an empirical-mechanistic pavement design guide for the CA region - the most ambitious project.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; Maps; Photos; References;
  • Pagination: pp 807-839
  • Monograph Title: Asphalt Paving Technology 2012
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01523125
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 15 2014 5:51PM