DART Field Validation and Prototype Refinement

This project is evaluating the Duomorph Asphalt Rheology Tester (DART) technology to monitor the consistency and uniformity of asphalt binders in real-world production environment beyond controlled research grade settings. Work in Stage 1 is focusing on ruggedizing the device for field operation and moving it to a supplier facility. In the present quarter, physical improvements were made to the instrument for field portability along with software improvements to enhance automation and reduce user controls. The sensors have also been adjusted to operate in the range of binder stiffness and types commonly used by the highway agencies. These adjustments are expected to improve accuracy and effectiveness of the DART as a result of more appropriate sensors (different sizes and piezoelectric properties) to match sensor rigidity with binder stiffness. The project team has also developed preliminary protocols for verification in the plant production control/process control which will be further refined as necessary during the course of the Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis (IDEA) project. The project work is being coordinated with the partnering asphalt binder supplier (Emulsicoat, Inc.) and state departments of transportation (DOTs). Although the asphalt plant is not in a production mode at this time of the year, it has samples blended in various proportions of flux and hard binder to produce various blends conforming to the 64-22 grade. These blends will be used in the testing, which will simulate the production process. In addition, modified binder samples will be selected from the binder grades 64-28, 70-28, 76-22, and 76-28. Material-specific response signatures will be developed for samples included in the experimental design and the repeatability of the device will be evaluated. All Stage 1 testing and data analyses are scheduled to be completed by early spring. Work in Stage 2 will focus on field evaluation from a state’s quality assurance (QA) perspective. Working in collaboration with two state DOT laboratories, the DART will be used to test material samples at a higher sampling rate than the conventional QA sampling rate afforded by its capabilities for rapid testing. These tests will show whether DART provides a solution for the continued need to cost effectively monitor changes in binder properties in real time. Test results from Stage 2 will be validated against results from routine laboratory tests using current standard test protocols. The research will also provide an opportunity to further refine the device, the developed test procedures, and the criteria established in Stage 1. If findings from this project show DART to be a viable technology, plans for nationwide implementation will be developed.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $50000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-30, IDEA 193

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Jawed, Inam

  • Performing Organizations:

    RAO Research and Consulting

    Champaign, IL  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Rao, Chetana

  • Start Date: 20170108
  • Expected Completion Date: 20180930
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 41384

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01622200
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-30, IDEA 193
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Jan 8 2017 1:00AM