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The Novachip process, also known as ultrathin friction course, was developed in France in 1986. The process utilizes a single piece of equipment to place a thin, gap-graded hot mix asphalt (HMA) onto a relatively thick layer of polymer modified asphalt emulsion tack coat. Two Novachip projects were constructed in Alabama in 1992 to achieve the following objectives: (a) Document the materials and the construction procedures utilized in the construction of the Novachip surface course, and (b) monitor and evaluate the performance of the Novachip test sections at regular intervals for a period of three years.
This paper gives the construction details and performance of Novachip after 4 1/2 years in service. Since this was the first Novachip project in the U.S. with the machine imported from France, some equipment related problems were encountered. The surface texture of Novachip is very similar to that of a typical open-graded friction course. No significant raveling was observed on the two-projects after about 4 1/2 years' service, which indicates very good bond between Novachip and underlying surface. Novachip surface has significantly higher pavement surface friction numbers compared to dense graded HMA wearing course. It appears to be a potential alternate for chip seals, micro surfacing, and open-graded friction course.
ultrathin friction course, Novachip, construction, performance, hot mix asphalt
Associate Director, Auburn University, AL
Materials and Test Engineer, Alabama Department of Transportation, Montgomery, AL