The National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) was established in 1986 as a partnership between Auburn University and the NationalAsphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) Research and Education Foundation to provide practical research and development to meet the needs of maintaining America's highway infrastructure (www.eng.auburn.edu). NCAT was formed in order to ensure the nation’s ability to provide quality asphalt pavements that are durable, sustainable, safe and economical. NCAT works with state highway agencies, the Federal Highway Administration and the highway construction industry to develop and evaluate new products, design technologies and construction methods that quickly lead to pavement improvements (www.eng.auburn.edu).
FORTA-FI® Experimental Patch
In October 2013, FORTA-FI® was added to a mix that would be used in a small experimental patch (at a milled depth of 2 inches) on the NCAT test track in Opelika, Alabama. After 1.5 million ESALs, NCAT engineers surveyed the patch and the cracks were painted white, as shown in the picture. Half of the patch was reinforced with FORTA-FI® and the other half, as labeled, was used as a control containing no fiber. The division between the fiber and the control patch halves is the visible white painted line that extends across the picture.
Buzz Powell, NCAT Assistant Director and the Test Track Manager, stated:
“Even though the most severe pre-patch cracking was in the half of the patch treated with FORTA-FI® fibers, it is evident that less cracking had reflected in the FORTA-FI® fiber half of the patch at that time.”
Overall, the FORTA-FI® reinforced asphalt performed extremely well under the NCAT testing standards as compared to the control section, containing no fiber. It is evident, as shown in the picture, that the FORTA-FI® section has far less cracking compared to the control section when tested under identical conditions.