Difference Between Hot, Warm, and Cold Mix Asphalt?

Asphalt is a mixture of coarse aggregate stone, sand, fine aggregate stone and petroleum-based asphalt cement used in building and construction. However, it’s not just one type of asphalt that is used in construction but depending on the mixing process and the temperatures maintained during the mixing process, asphalt mixtures can be divided into three different types: hot mix asphalt, warm mix asphalt and cold mix asphalt. Different temperatures and mixing affects the asphalt’s consistency and end result which could then be used for various processes as needed.

  1. Hot Mix Asphalt

Hot mix asphalt is made by heating the asphalt mix to 150-180 degrees Celsius temperature and pouring it at the same temperature. Hot mix asphalt is the most popular of the three asphalt mixes and is probably the one that is used in your house’s construction, every other building in your neighbourhood and the streets and highways in your town and city. Hot mix asphalt is highly water resistant and repels water. It is perfect to use in construction during hot days because it cools down really quickly and would be really hard to maintain its temperature on colder days.

Hot Mix Asphalt can be further divided into three types: dense-graded mixes, stone matrix asphalt and open grade mixes. Dense-grade asphalt mixes are called so because of the particle size of the aggregate used and are sub-divided into fine-graded mix which contains higher percentage of sand and small stones, and coarse-graded mix which contains lower percentage of sand and small stones.

  1. Warm Mix Asphalt

A third of all the paving projects use warm mix asphalt which is mixed and poured at temperatures between 90 and 120 degrees Celsius and requires fewer fuel resources in the making which makes it cheaper to manufacture as compared to the Hot Mix Asphalt and hence is available for a lesser price. Warm mix asphalt is more flexible in terms of use because it cools slower than hot mix asphalt which makes it great for use all year round, during the day or night, during summers and winters construction projects. Since it does not cool down as quickly as hot mix asphalt it can be shipped at lower temperatures over longer distances. It is used to pave roads, highways, interstates, cart paths, driveways and walking paths during the day or at night.

Lower manufacturing temperatures means less dust, smoke and fumes during the mixing process which makes it more environment-friendly and safe for workers’ health. This makes it safe to use in tunnels and places where air quality and quantity is low.

  1. Cold Mix Asphalt

Cold mix asphalt, as the name suggests does not need any heat or fossil fuels during the mixing process which makes it the most affordable option on the market. Although it’s cheaper than hot and warm mixes of asphalts, it does not last as long and hence cannot be used as a substitute for a formal repair that otherwise involve a hot mix or warm mix asphalt. It is typically used to repair an inch wide cracks and potholes that may pop up any time during the year.

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