Evaluating Applications of Field Spectroscopy Devices to Fingerprint Commonly Used Construction Materials

Several DOTs have reported quality control issues with many of the materials routinely used in highway construction. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray florescence (XRF), and Raman technologies have recently been used for transportation materials on a limited basis, particularly for "fingerprinting" or identifying by provider materials such as deicing compounds or anti-strip agents, and occasionally for quantitative analyses such as polymer content in asphalt and sulfate content of soils. There is the potential for much broader use of these technologies for other quality assurance tests, for example in testing cements, paints, thermoplastics, epoxies, asphalt emulsions and possibly many others. Using these new technologies, rather than traditional chemical tests, for such applications can allow faster, more accurate measurements. Recently, many advances have been made in the equipment area. The chemical composition of typical materials requires developing acceptable spectra with laboratory based equipment. Very recently, however, low cost (around $20k) field hand-held devices have become available for validating that the delivered materials have similar chemical spectra to those obtained in the lab. These are point-and-shoot applications that could potentially be used by field technicians. If this technology is proven to be successful, individual deliveries of project materials can be tested prior to or during their use. The new equipment has become more available due to the lower cost of the device and to software applications that allow easy interpretation of the results, so the use of the instrument for a wider range of applications has become much more practical. The purpose of this project is to identify and evaluate practical hand-held equipment such as XRF, FTIR or Raman-spectroscopy for quantitative analyses of applications such as: (1) quantity of anti-stripping agent(s) in asphalt concrete; (2)quantification of recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) content (oxidation of pavement); (3) quality and uniformity of asphalt emulsions and neat binders; (4) polymer content in asphalt binders; (5) quality and uniformity of curing compounds; (6) quality and uniformity of epoxy materials used for concrete spall repair; and (7) quality and uniformity of cement and/or concrete. An additional objective is to develop relatively simple and easy-to-use NDT procedures and protocols that inspectors and front-line personnel could use in the field to ensure quality construction. The results from the new methods should be easy to interpret. For each application the research team will demonstrate in the laboratory how these technologies can capture the basic fingerprint of the material. It will also be necessary to determine the feasibility of using these technologies in the field on construction projects. The technologies and applications that appear most promising for implementation will be field tested.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $399792.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project R06(B)

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Strategic Highway Research Program 2

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Starnes, Monica

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Connecticut, Storrs

    Storrs, CT  United States  06268-5202
  • Principal Investigators:

    Zofka, Adam

  • Start Date: 20090204
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20100203
  • Source Data: RiP Project 18487

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01462540
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project R06(B)
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:05PM