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Field Investigation of Clay Balls in Full-Depth Asphalt Pavement

School of Transportation, Southeast University, Nanjing 211189, China
Indiana Department of Transportation, West Lafayette, IN 47906, USA
Virginia Department of Transportation, Richmond, VA 23219, USA
JSTI Group, Nanjing 210019, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2019, 12(18), 2879;
Received: 7 August 2019 / Revised: 29 August 2019 / Accepted: 4 September 2019 / Published: 6 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Designed Pavement Materials)
Clay ball is a pavement surface defect which refers to a clump in which clay or dirt is mixed with hot asphalt mixture. Clay ball is typically caused by a combination of aggregate contamination of clay or soil, high aggregate moisture, and low production temperature at the asphalt plant. It usually appears a few weeks or months after paving under traffic load, after being liquefied and knocked from the pavement surface. Clay balls can be the source of potholing, raveling, and other issues such as moisture infiltration and reduced ride quality. This paper presents an investigation of the clay balls on US-31 one winter after construction in Hamilton County, Indiana. In order to understand the pavement condition, their severity was measured using both visual observation and infrared image collection system. In addition, a clay ball amount, its distribution pattern, and cores condition were evaluated. A precipitation effect on clay ball formation was investigated for finding a cause of the clay balls. The investigation found that infrared image collection system was appropriate in detecting the clay balls. The clay balls were elliptic in shape with 2.5 cm to 10 cm in diameter, and the maximum clay ball depth was almost penetrating the entire surface course. It was also found that the asphalt paving on the raining days or right after raining could increase the potential of clay balls. Monitoring of aggregate moisture during construction on or after raining days should be able to reduce the risk of clay balls. View Full-Text
Keywords: clay ball; asphalt pavement; pattern and density; infrared image collection system; field core clay ball; asphalt pavement; pattern and density; infrared image collection system; field core
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhang, W.; Lee, J.; Ahn, H.J.; Le, Q.; Wu, M.; Zhu, H.; Zhang, J. Field Investigation of Clay Balls in Full-Depth Asphalt Pavement. Materials 2019, 12, 2879.

AMA Style

Zhang W, Lee J, Ahn HJ, Le Q, Wu M, Zhu H, Zhang J. Field Investigation of Clay Balls in Full-Depth Asphalt Pavement. Materials. 2019; 12(18):2879.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zhang, Weiguang, Jusang Lee, Hyung J. Ahn, Qiqi Le, Meng Wu, Haoran Zhu, and Jing Zhang. 2019. "Field Investigation of Clay Balls in Full-Depth Asphalt Pavement" Materials 12, no. 18: 2879.

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