This article is an excerpt from a paper dealing with the history of asphalt tests and specifications. It presents a descriptive background of the beginnings of the use of asphalt pavements in this country, and the reasons for their advantages. The early sources of asphalt are described as well as early specifications and test methods, complete with their attenuating peculiarities and traditions. Among these early tests were the penetration test for viscosity, ductility test, loss on heating test, water resistance test, and others. Until 1903, there were no standards as yet developed for any of these tests. In 1901, the Federal Government first undertook a major role in roadbuilding by creating the Office of Public Roads with funds to establish a laboraotry for testing materials from all over the country. The American Society for Testing and Materials made the first effort in standardizing these tests and specifications. Their joint efforts are described, with developments leading up to the publication of accepted standards and specifications for testing materials. The creation of the American Association of State Highway Officials is described, and the development of the AASHO standards. Specifications for asphalt were first outlined in a joint conference in 1923, and were soon adopted by AASHO, with resultant modifications in the ensuing years. The use and standardization of both liquid and emulsified asphalts are detailed in the final sections of the article. A combination of historical facts and description of technical specifications for road materials, this narrative seeks to emphasize the Federal Government's role in standardizing the asphalt tests currently in use in the U.S.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Federal Highway Administration

    Office of Research and Development, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Halstead, W J
    • Welborn, J Y
  • Publication Date: 1975-6

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00097633
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Sep 30 1975 12:00AM