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Asphalt Reinforcement

Controlling reflective cracking with Tensar

Reflective cracking in asphalt pavements generally occurs over the joints of underlying concrete slabs or cracks in cement bound base layers. It can also be caused by the expansion, contraction and bending from thermally induced movement of the substrate or by traffic induced shearing, and in widening schemes by differential settlement where the old and new slight meet.

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 (when cracks do eventually develop they’re often much smaller too).  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 help prevent water getting into the pavement underlayers.

The benefits

  • Resist reflective cracking: asphalt reinforcement can reduce the development of cracks in the surface layer caused by the movement, bending and shearing of the concrete slab or cement bound substrate. The SAMI effect can also reduce strain in the overlay.
  • Reduce fatigue cracking: the reinforcement can reduce the traffic induced tensile strain in the bottom of the asphalt layer that leads to cracking
  • 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 that interlocks with the asphalt mix can restrict lateral movement associated with surface ruts in low stiffness mixes

A proven solution

Over the last 25 years, Tensar’s asphalt reinforcement systems have been subjected to extensive independent research and testing at many leading international institutions, including the UK’s University of Nottingham with performance experience gained from many monitored installations in many countries.   


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Our technical team can offer specialist support, certified design with PI and initial installation advice to help you create performance-related designs that meet your project needs. Find out how Tensar Technology can help you.

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