U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Skip to content


Federal Highway Administration / Publications / Focus / February 1996

Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations

Publication Number: FHWA-SA-96-013
Date: February 1996

Regional Superpave Centers Fully Equipped

The five Superpave regional centers have each received a Superpave shear tester (SST) and an indirect tensile tester (IDT), which means they are now fully outfitted with the Superpave equipment. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) purchased the equipment and loaned it to the Superpave centers. The equipment manufacturers have begun visiting each Superpave center to help set up and demonstrate the new test devices.

FHWA is taking a number of well-planned steps to make sure that technicians and engineers at the centers are adequately trained on the use of the SST and IDT. During a 1-week course at the National Asphalt Training Center (NATC) in Lexington, Kentucky, Superpave center technicians and engineers will learn how to operate the SST and IDT and collect the data, which will then be imported into the Superpave computer models. The course will also prepare them for the functionality and ruggedness testing that begins next month.

"This training is a precursor to ruggedness testing of the SST and IDT," says John Bukowski, FHWA's manager for the project. "Our goal is to look at the procedures for the SST and IDT to make sure the results fromvarious laboratories and operators are reasonable. Later, data from these tests will be tied to models in order to gear up for the performance prediction functions of the Superpave system."

As part of the functionality and ruggedness evaluation, FHWA will prepare identical samples of asphalt mixtures and send them to each of the Superpave centers for testing. The results will confirm if the new equipment is operating properly and the tests are being run correctly.

After the initial testing and evaluations are completed, FHWA will begin the final stage in the pooled-fund purchase of Superpave equipment--namely, procuring SSTs and IDTs for the States. "Now that the Superpave centers are fully equipped," says Bukowski, "FHWA can look at the data and operation of the equipment more closely. We've learned a lot about the equipment through the purchase process and now hope to scrutinize its operation."

In mid January, FHWA held a coordination meeting at the NATC for the staff of the Superpave centers and participating States.

Superpave Centers

Five State departments of transportation and universities have teamed up to form regional Superpave centers for ruggedness and precision and bias testing of the Superpave mix design and analysis equipment. The centers will also train engineers and technicians from highway agencies and industry to use the equipment and offer to test Superpave mixes prepared by highway agencies.

The knowledge gained by the Superpave centers will ensure that the road to implementation of the full Superpave system will be smoother. Located at State universities, the centers are jointly operated by the universities and the State departments of transportation. The State/university team provides laboratory space, engineers, and technicians, and FHWA provides the equipment and initial training.

The regional Superpave centers are located at Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania; Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana; Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama; University of Nevada at Reno; and University of Texas at Austin.

For more information on SST and IDT contact John Bukowski (telephone: 202-366-1287; fax: 202-366-7909).

For more information on the training courses at the National Asphalt Training Center, contact Mandee Hall, workshop coordinator (telephone: 606-288-4964; fax: 606-288-4999).

Back to Articles in this Issue

PDF files can be viewed with the Acrobat® Reader®
Updated: 06/27/2017
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000