What Is Cold Mix Asphalt? FAQ About Cold Mix Asphalt

What Is Cold Mix Asphalt

The unique manufacturing process of cold mix asphalt makes it flexible, durable and downright dependable. As a result, there are a variety of uses for cold mix asphalt.

What is cold mix asphalt?

Cold mix asphalt is a combination of mineral aggregate and emulsified or cutback asphalt with additives. Aggregates can be made with virgin materials or reclaimed asphalt pavement, also known as asphalt millings. The latter option is commonly used when trying to save money. Cold mixes can be made on site or at a central location and then transported to the site. The flexibility to create this type of asphalt off-site is particularly useful for remote roads. 

Cold mix asphalt is a type of asphalt, just like hot mix asphalt, warm mix asphalt, mastic asphalt (sheet asphalt), and so forth. Cold mix asphalt is commonly used on rural or low traffic roads. Cold mixes are commonly used to repair worn pavement and potholes when there is no hot mix readily available. It is also used for temporary patches.

This type of asphalt can be used for binder, base, top courses, and leveling, as well as structural overlays. Cold-mix materials are durable and flexible, allowing them to self-heal even under pressure from freeze-thaw cycles. This makes cold mixes ideal for non-engineered roads.

What are the benefits of cold mix asphalt paving?

There are a number of benefits associated with cold mix asphalt, including:

-Flexible material that is strong enough to withstand temperature fluctuations.

-It can be mixed on site or off site and then transported to location.

-Eco-friendly option made from water-based materials at ambient temperatures, which reduces emissions, energy consumption and toxic fumes.

-Minimal material and transportation costs.

-Easy to maintain and recycle.

-Cost-effective solution for paving or repairing rural roads that are nowhere near a hot mix plant. 

How is cold mix asphalt made?

The asphalt is emulsified in water and soap before mixing it with the aggregate. In its emulsified state, the asphalt is easy to work with because it is compact. Given enough time, the emulsion will break and the water will evaporate so that the cold mix takes on the properties of cold HMAC.

What is the cold mix paving process?

A unique procedure is used to make cold mix asphalt. The process involves mixing design with project aggregate and emulsion, which is manufactured to coat and bind the aggregate. This process allows the final product to take on more stress-resistance during and after construction.

The asphalt and aggregate are placed into a pugmill that properly mixes them together. This mix is then transported to the paver that places them on the mat and prepared surface. When applying cold mix asphalt to roadways, it’s so important to properly compact it with rollers and allow it to go through the curing process before it is opened to traffic.

Cold mix asphalt should undergo surface treatment about a year after installation. If cold mix asphalt is made from recycled millings, it should be surfaced around 3 months post-installation.

What is cold mix asphalt used for?

Cold mix asphalt does a good job repairing failed patches, utility cuts and potholes. While cold mix can be used at any time of the year, it is often used during poor climate conditions such as during winter.

Asphalt emulsion mixtures are commonly used for local roads, as they make a great option when it comes to improving the strength and overall quality of thin pavement surfaces. Due to its flexibility, high void volume and ability to self-heal, cold mix asphalt is tough under pressure and resistant to cracks and surface fatigue.

Graded stone can be used to create a high quality cold mix that aligns with AASHTO design guidelines, and is comparable to hot mix asphalt pavements. 

Just like any other form of overlay, cold mix asphalt should only be applied over a base or pavement that is in pretty good condition and does not have any base or drainage defects. If there are distresses in the base or pavement, repairs must be made prior to applying the overlay for best results. We may also recommend an emulsion tack coat, especially in areas with curves or grades.

How long does cold mix asphalt last?

The life expectancy of cold mix asphalt is around one year. It is very important to use high-quality materials that are properly compacted in order to get the most out of it.

Not all cold mix asphalt is made equally. Everything from the materials used, to the manufacturing process and installation alter how it holds up under pressure. Kleenco Construction employs top of the line processes and equipment paired with years of experience in order to provide unbeatable results time and time again.