Fun Facts About Asphalt | 4 Things You Didn’t Know!

There are many fun facts about asphalt that the average individual does not know about. Keep reading to learn four of the most common asphalt facts that come as a surprise to the majority of folks!

Asphalt Occurs Naturally

Many people have the interpretation that asphalt is a manufactured substance, but it can actually be found in abundance in nature. Asphalt is usually found in deposits in bodies of water, like lakes. In fact, the biggest deposit discovered to date is in a relatively small lake in the Caribbean. At just 100 acres, Pitch Lake is smaller than most. However, it contains an estimated 10 million tons of asphalt. You heard us right, 10 million!

Not all Asphalt Cracks are the Same

It is natural to see every crack in asphalt as homogenous, but this isn’t the case. And it is important to know the difference so you can use the best method of repair for each type. 

Alligator cracks resemble the skin of an alligator, as they are collections of small, tight cracks in the same area. Transverse cracks occur in areas that receive the most traffic, usually from vehicles. Transverse cracks run perpendicular to the direction of traffic and are bigger than alligator cracks. Edge cracking occurs where the asphalt ends and can lead to pieces of asphalt breaking off entirely. Slippage cracks can be identified by their crescent-moon shape, and these cracks can lead to potholes forming in the asphalt. These are the cracks you see on lots of roads and highways. 

Grass Growing Through

Contrary to popular belief, asphalt is not a completely solid surface. In fact, 10% of all asphalt is an air void, meaning there is room for grass and plants to grow. Given enough time, these weeds can completely push through the surface of the asphalt. This has the potential to lead to massive cracking if not taken care of. Have some weed killer on standby to kill any buds that start to peak through the top of the asphalt. 

Smooth Asphalt

The smoother the asphalt, the better gas mileage cars will get. What’s more, smoother asphalt lengthens the lifespan of tire treads, it’s physics! Rough asphalt creates more friction between the wheels of a car and the road. This friction acts against the forward momentum of the car and requires the engine to use more horsepower to continue forward. This will decrease the gas mileage on any car. This is especially true for trucks with more than 4 tires since they have more surface area touching the asphalt there is more friction. A study by the Federal Highway Administration found that smooth asphalt can reduce fuel consumption by up to 4.5%. Similarly, the friction between tire and asphalt can wear down the treads on the tire if the asphalt is rough. 

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Looking for a new asphalt parking lot or have questions on aftercare? Pro-Pave, Inc. is a premier commercial concrete and asphalt paving company serving general contractors, property managers, and HOAs in the Mid-Atlantic. We are Class A-licensed, VDOT-certified, and fully bonded/insured for jobs of all sizes. 

We work with many commercial clients, including federal, state, and local governments; commercial property owners; K-12 schools; higher education institutions; military groups; retail stores; and more.

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