Efficacy of Non-nuclear Methods Used for Hot Mix Asphalt Density Determination

Shah Zaman, Muhammad Hassaan, Jawad Hussain, Umar Hayat


This paper presents research efforts with a major purpose of determining if electromagnetic, non-nuclear density gauges (NNDG) are competent enough for asphalt density measurement in comparison to the already existing standard core method (AASHTO T-166). Field, as well as laboratory studies, were conducted to assess the abilities of available non-nuclear devices as they need the appraisal for future use in many developing countries including Pakistan. NNDG data collected from 45 locations, compared to density determined in the laboratory for the cores extracted from the same location, shows that the results obtained from both the methods are comparable. Laboratory studies conducted on the slabs of open and dense gradations show that such an instrument performed well for dense gradation in comparison to open ones. The Calibration effect of the instrument has a valuable impact on the accurate density determination. Results indicated that such gauges are seriously affected by moisture presence on the surface of testing pavement. Moreover, the temperature dependency of non-nuclear gauges is among the major outcome of this research. Overall the performance of such gauges is valuable, and the results are comparable to the standard results of core methods. However, these results can only be used for Quality Assurance (Q.A) purposes and not for Quality Acceptance (Q.C) of the density of pavement.


Hot Mix Asphalt; Non-nuclear Density Gauge; Core Method; Non-destructive Testing.


Kandhal, Prithvi S., and Sanjoy Chakraborty. “Effect of Asphalt Film Thickness on Short- and Long-Term Aging of Asphalt Paving Mixtures.” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 1535, no. 1 (January 1996): 83–90. doi:10.1177/0361198196153500111.

Caro, Silvia, Eyad Masad, Amit Bhasin, and Dallas Little. “Micromechanical Modeling of the Influence of Material Properties on Moisture-Induced Damage in Asphalt Mixtures.” Construction and Building Materials 24, no. 7 (July 2010): 1184–1192. doi:10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2009.12.022.

Lee, Chanho, Jung-Sik Kim, Hyungsoon Shin, Young-June Park, and Hong-Shick Min. “A New Hole Mobility Model for Hydrodynamic Simulation.” Microelectronics Reliability 40, no. 12 (December 2000): 2019–2022. doi:10.1016/s0026-2714(00)00094-9.

Varveri, A., S. Avgerinopoulos, C. Kasbergen, A. Scarpas, and A. Collop. “Influence of Air Void Content on Moisture Damage Susceptibility of Asphalt Mixtures.” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 2446, no. 1 (January 2014): 8–16. doi:10.3141/2446-02.

Xu, Siyuan, Feipeng Xiao, Serji Amirkhanian, and Dharamveer Singh. “Moisture Characteristics of Mixtures with Warm Mix Asphalt Technologies – A Review.” Construction and Building Materials 142 (July 2017): 148–161. doi:10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2017.03.069.

Luo, Xue, Fan Gu, and Robert L. Lytton. “Prediction of Field Aging Gradient in Asphalt Pavements.” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 2507, no. 1 (January 2015): 19–28. doi:10.3141/2507-03.

Brown, E. Ray, and Stephen A. Cross. “Comparison of laboratory and field density of asphalt mixtures.” National Center for Asphalt Technology (US), (1991). doi:10.21949/1404493.

Association American of State Highways and Transportaion Officials standards, “AASHTO standards.” Part 2A Tests, Twenty eight, 2008, p. 1059.

Chevrou, R. B. "La loi tronquée de de Liocourt." In Annales des sciences forestières, 47, no. 3. EDP Sciences, (1990): 229-239. doi:10.1051/forest:19900304.

Smith, Bryan C., and Brian K. Diefenderfer. “Comparison of Nuclear and Nonnuclear Pavement Density Testing Devices.” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 2081, no. 1 (January 2008): 121–129. doi:10.3141/2081-13.

Van den bergh, Wim, Cedric Vuye, Patricia Kara, Karolien Couscheir, Johan Blom, and Philippe Van Bouwel. “The Use of a Non-Nuclear Density Gauge for Monitoring the Compaction Process of Asphalt Pavement.” IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering 236 (September 2017): 012014. doi:10.1088/1757-899x/236/1/012014.

Padlo, Patrycja, Lisa Aultman-Hall, and Nikiforos Stamatiadis. “Passengers and Other Factors Affecting the Safety of Young and Older Drivers.” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 1937, no. 1 (January 2005): 7–13. doi:10.1177/0361198105193700102.

Jadhav, S. V., and K. V. Marathe. “Micellar Enhanced Ultrafiltration: A Comparative Study.” The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering 91, no. 2 (December 19, 2011): 311–317. doi:10.1002/cjce.21613.

Sully-Miller Contraction, C. O. "A Summary of Operational Differences between Nuclear and Non-nuclear Density Measuring Instruments 5." (October 2000): 1-5.

Korn, James H. “Myth Busters.” Edited by Danny Wedding. PsycCRITIQUES 55, no. 3 (2010). doi:10.1037/a0018442.

T. Systems, “Pavement Quality Indicator TM Model 301 Operator’s Handbook,” Quality, pp. 1–36.

Romero, Pedro. "Evaluation of non-nuclear gauges to measure density of hot-mix asphalt pavements." Pooled Fund Study Final Report, the University of Utah, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (2002).

Rao, Chetana, Harold Von Quintus, and Robert L. Schmitt. “Calibration of Nonnuclear Density Gauge Data for Accurate In-Place Density Prediction.” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 2040, no. 1 (January 2007): 123–136. doi:10.3141/2040-14.

Von Quintus, Harold L., Robert Schmitt, and Chetana Rao. “Non-nuclear density testing devices and systems to evaluate in-place asphalt pavement density.” Wisconsin Highway Research Program, (May 2006).

Williams, Stacy G. “Non-nuclear methods for HMA density measurements: final report, June 2008.” No. MBTC 2075. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Dept. of Civil Engineering, (2008).

Z. Zhuang and Y. K. Cho, “Non-Nuclear Method for HMA density measurements Non-Nuclear Method for HMA density measurements,” no. December, (2017).

Rogge, David F., and Michael Adam Jackson. “Compaction and measurement of field density for Oregon open-graded (F-Mix) asphalt pavement.” No. FHWA-OR-RD-99-26. (1999).

Z. Zhuang, “Effectiveness study of Non-Nuclear Gauge for Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) Pavement Construction,” (2011).

Vasenev, Alexandr, Frank Bijleveld, Timo Hartmann, and André G. Dorée. "A real-time system for prediction cooling within the asphalt layer to support rolling operations." In Euroasphalt and Eurobitume Congress, (2012).

Sargand, Shad M., Sang-Soo Kim, and Stephen P. Farrington. "Non-nuclear density gauge comparative study." Draft Final Report. Ohio Research Institute for Transportation and the Environment 114 (2005): 45701-2979.

Chai, T., and R. R. Draxler. “Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) or Mean Absolute Error (MAE)? – Arguments Against Avoiding RMSE in the Literature.” Geoscientific Model Development 7, no. 3 (June 30, 2014): 1247–1250. doi:10.5194/gmd-7-1247-2014.

Willmott, CJ, and K Matsuura. “Advantages of the Mean Absolute Error (MAE) over the Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) in Assessing Average Model Performance.” Climate Research 30 (2005): 79–82. doi:10.3354/cr030079.

Wen, Haifang, Sunil Sharma, Mark Rose, Jingan Wang, Anthony Timm, and Mary Brown. “Review of Non-Nuclear Density Gauges as Possible Replacements for ITD’s Nuclear Density Gauges.” No. FHWA-ID-15-210. Idaho. Transportation Department, (2015).

Leng, Zhen, Zeyu Zhang, Yuan Zhang, Yangyang Wang, Huayang Yu, and Tianqing Ling. “Laboratory Evaluation of Electromagnetic Density Gauges for Hot-Mix Asphalt Mixture Density Measurement.” Construction and Building Materials 158 (January 2018): 1055–1064. doi:10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2017.09.186.

Leyland, R., and Amrita Maharaj. "Dielectric constant as a means of assessing the properties of road construction materials." South. African Transp. Conference (SATC) 2010 (2010).

Fernandes, Francisco M., Andreia Fernandes, and Jorge Pais. “Assessment of the Density and Moisture Content of Asphalt Mixtures of Road Pavements.” Construction and Building Materials 154 (November 2017): 1216–1225. doi:10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2017.06.119.

“Test Method for Bulk Specific Gravity and Density of Non-Absorptive Compacted Bituminous Mixtures” Mix. ASTM Int. West Conshohocken, PA, USA (2005). doi:10.1520/d2726-09.

Jaselskis, Edward J., Jonas Grigas, and Algirdas Brilingas. "Dielectric properties of asphalt pavement." Journal of materials in civil engineering 15, no. 5 (2003): 427-434. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)0899-1561(2003)15:5(427).

Full Text: PDF

DOI: 10.28991/cej-2020-03091538


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Shah Zaman, Jawad Hussain, Umar Hayyat, Muhammad hassaan

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.