SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1961

A Method for Measuring the Air Permeabilities of Asphalt Concrete Pavements


The permeability of asphalt-concrete pavements to air and water appears to be a primary factor in controlling pavement durability. Early investigators (Hveem (1) and McKesson (2)) were concerned with obtaining permeabilities low enough to prevent liquid water from entering the base but, at the same time, high enough to allow water vapor to escape. Pfeiffer (3) and a few others have shown the main cause of pavement hardening to be the action of oxygen from the atmosphere. He has also shown that the influence of air is dependent on the voids content at the time of construction. In this case, the permeability of the pavements is proportional to the voids content. More recently, Ekse and Zia (4) proposed using permeability for construction control and discussed the importance of permeability with respect to durability. They described a method for measuring air permeabilities of pavement cores and suggested that their equipment could be adapted to measure the permeability of pavements in place. The device works on the principle of a decaying pressure as air flows through the pavement. McLaughlin and Goetz (5) have also devised a method for measuring air permeability of pavement cores. With it, they have studied the relationship between permeability and a laboratory durability test (loss in sonic modulus caused by alternate freezing and thawing). They found a correlation between voids and permeability and showed that asphalt content, compactive effort, and aggregate gradation are factors affecting permeability.

Author Information

Ellis, W.
California Research Corp., Richmond, Calif.
Schmidt, R.
California Research Corp., Richmond, Calif.
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Developed by Committee: D04
Pages: 85–91
DOI: 10.1520/STP46391S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-6588-5
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-6587-8