Research has shown that thickness plays a major role in the retroreflective performance of thermoplastic pavement markings, especially on newly seal coated roadway surfaces. Therefore, accurate thickness measurement by inspectors on striping jobsites is necessary to ensure adequate thickness is being achieved. This report presents the results of a statistical analysis comparing two thickness measurement methods for thermoplastic pavement markings that are commonly used by Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) inspectors. These two methods are: 1) measure thickness of thermoplastic pavement marking sample with a standard laboratory caliper; and 2) measure thickness of thermoplastic pavement marking sample with a needlepoint micrometer. The main difference between the two measurement methods is the accuracy of the instrument. The needlepoint micrometer allows for accurate measurement to the top of the binder material, while it is very difficult to get a measurement to the top of the binder material with a caliper. Therefore, caliper measurements are often made to the top of the drop-on beads. Current TxDOT policy states that thermoplastic thickness be specified and measured to the top of the binder material. However, many TxDOT field inspectors still use calipers to make thickness measurements. Therefore, it was deemed important to quantify the differences in the two measurement methods. Forty-seven thermoplastic pavement marking samples of varying thickness were taken from striping jobsites statewide and used in the analysis. The results show that the caliper measured an average of 20.5 mils (0.0205 in.) and 16.7 mils (0.0167 in.) thicker than the needlepoint micrometer for large and small bead samples, respectively. As such, the researchers recommend that needlepoint micrometers be used for all thermoplastic thickness inspection performed by TxDOT. Further findings and recommendations are made in the report.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Research Project Title: Evaluation of Pavement Marking Effectiveness.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Texas Transportation Institute

    Texas A&M University System, 1600 E Lamar Boulevard
    Arlington, TX  United States  76011

    Texas Department of Transportation

    Research and Technology Implementation Office, P.O. Box 5080
    Austin, TX  United States  78763-5080

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Gates, T J
    • Hawkins Jr, H G
  • Publication Date: 2002-10


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 32 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00962202
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA/TX-03/4150-1,, Research Report 4150-1,, TTI: 0-4150
  • Contract Numbers: Project No. 0-4150
  • Created Date: Aug 29 2003 12:00AM