U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations
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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-08-059
Date: November 2008
Chemistry Research Facility Fact Sheet
PDF version of Fact Sheet (2.61 MB)
Research that is Essential, Indispensable, and Connected to our Customers.
The Turner Fairbank Highway Research Center Chemistry Research Facility (CRF) conducts fundamental studies of highway materials from a chemical point of view. Investigations into the chemical mechanisms involved in well-known distress modes in concrete and asphalt pavements helps to generate new testing methods and foster the development of new materials. CRF validates Federal Highway Administration sponsored off-site research, offers unbiased support for State agencies and industry partners, and assists with the forensic evaluation of pavement failures.
Research projects conducted within the CRF support both the goals of the Federal Highway Administration and provide assistance to State agencies and industry partners.
CRF is composed of the following three laboratories:
The Chemistry Laboratory synthesizes and characterizes highway materials and evaluates their susceptibility to in-service damage. This synthesis includes evaluating the susceptibility of highway materials to weathering, moisture damage, oxidation, deleterious aggregates, and ASR gel formation, as well as studying the harmful effects of deicing chemicals on the materials.
The Analytical Laboratory uses highly specialized equipment for the identification and chemical analysis of materials used in paving structures and for the development of standard test methods for the paving industry.
Instrumentation includes the following:
The Materials Characterization Laboratory contains several microscopes including a scanning electron microscope with an Energy Dispersive X-ray Microanalysis (EDAX-ray) fluorescence spectrometer. These microscopes enable researchers to identify the compositions of highway related materials and study the morphological properties of polymer modified asphalt binders.
Developed a test method to detect and measure the presence of lime in hot mix asphalt. This method is being adopted by American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) as a standard procedure.
Developed a simple test method to demonstrate the presence of phosphoric acid in asphalt binders.
Provided technical assistance to a number of State agencies in forensic investigations. These investigations included the use of lime as an antistrip additive, the use of phosphoric acid as an asphalt modifier, and various cases of contaminated binders and aggregates.
Laboratory personnel provide technical representation for the Federal Highway Administration on panels for the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, the National Science Foundation, and the Transportation Research Board task groups. Staff members also serve on oversight work groups and review papers for the Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists and the Transportation Research Board. CRF collaborates with the Western Research Institute in Laramie, Wyoming; the European Bitumen Association, Eurobitume, based in Belgium; and Technische Universiteit Delft, the technical university based in the Netherlands, as well as several universities in the United States.
Chemistry Research Facility Manager:
Publication No. FHWA-HRT-08-059
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