Trinidad Lake Asphalt commonly called TLA is among the oldest resources of asphalt products going back to 100 years. The expression applies to Natural Bitumen Lake (pitch Lake) located in south west of Trinidad. The Lake is over 40 hectares which the Lake asphalt has surfaced and is ready to collect. The material is Semi-Solid and an emulsion of water and bituminous compound.
In order to reach a suitable material, the mined Trinidad Lake Asphalt has to be processed to some extent as the gravels and other impurities are pasted to the product within the Lake. The reason is the boiling out of the TLA from the ground causing its mixture with the earth and gravels. Separately from the outside impurity, Trinidad Lake Asphalt also contains a high ratio of Internal Impurities, scientifically called Ash Content which is not possible to remove by refining.
Behavior of Trinidad Lake Asphalt
Trinidad Lake Asphalt has interesting rheology behavior. It reacts well with any refinery bitumen matter considering its bitumen content to be mostly made of maltenes. Also TLA is easily melted at relatively low temperatures causing easy to use procedures in any hot mix of bituminous blends. The reaction of Trinidad lake asphalt with normal Asphalt Binders such as penetration bitumen is solid and considering the same origin of both (crude oil) the bonding evolves into a new material with superior characteristics for the pavement.
Typical Physical Properties
Trinidad Lake Asphalt has the below general properties which is also compared to a similar resource of Lake Asphalt located in Iran:
Applying Trinidad Lake asphalt can enhance the bituminous pavement quality in several aspects. In mixing TLA with common pavement grades of penetration bitumen such as 40/50, 60/70 and 80/100, the complex modulus and phase angle of binders were separately increased and decreased with the rise in TLA content, while aging phenomenon was reduced and RUTTING resistance was increased.
Another study shows Trinidad Lake Asphalt makes it easy to generate segregation phenomenon in binders. Also the range of Viscosity in the asphalt and binder remains stable when applying TLA (Mixture Stability Effect). When applying, the more TLA applied, the larger increase will happen in large molecules, small molecules and Polydispersity Index.
Mixing TLA with common binders also increases anti-aging effects by increasing ketone and sulfoxide molecules. In addition to above, some more advantages of using Trinidad Lake Asphalt are:
Increased Pavement Durability
Improved Resistance to High-Temperature Deformations
Improved pavement load carrying
Improved whole-life pavement costs
A light colored, safer, surface and improved ability to display pigments effectively
Enhanced Skid Resistance Characteristics
Improved low temperature cracking characteristics
Trinidad Lake Asphalt Applications
TLA is used wherever a high quality and strong pavement is required and different type of payments such as Asphaltic Concrete, Mastic Asphalt and SMAs can include TLA. Most common applications of Trinidad Lake Asphalt are for Bridges, Airports, Heavy Traffic Highways, Race Tracks and Container Yards.
Trinidad Lake Asphalt Packaging
Trinidad Lake asphalt is available in Jumbo Bags, Drums and Kraft Paper Capsules. Considering the Semi-Liquid nature of the material, smaller packaging from Trinidad Lake Asphalt Suppliers have Not been successful. Comparing to TLA, Iran Lake Asphalt has a higher softening point allowing it to be powdered before packing resulting in several type of packaging including 25kg Paper/PP/Meltable bags and Jumbo bags.
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