Hot Tires Stop Pavement Pickup

September 28, 2010

Sakai pneumatic roller
Some manufacturers are making heat-retaining skirts standard equipment on pneumatic rollers to discourage asphalt pickup.

One of the most persistent problems with using pneumatic rollers to compact asphalt, especially at today's high rolling speeds, is the asphalt's tendency to stick to the rubber tires.

Contractors who use rubber-tired rollers find they have to adapt to changing mixtures with different release agents to solve what becomes a severe pickup problem on mats of polymer-modified asphalt. But on unmodified asphalt, consulting engineer Jim Scherocman says the solution can be simple.

"Few contractors take the time to warm up tires prior to putting the roller on the hot mat," Scherocman says.

He strongly suggests driving the roller back and forth on an established pavement for about 15 minutes before going to work to bring tires up to operating temperature, and discourages spraying water on the tires, which tends to cool them. He also recommends maintaining tire heat during the day.

"If you find yourself waiting for trucks to arrive, don't shut the pneumatic roller down because the tires will cool," Scherocman says. "Keep it moving. Tire deflection will keep the tires warm."