What causes asphalt to break down?

Standard asphalt is very susceptible to natural land man made elements such as sun, wind, rain, snow, frost and ice. These elements cause oxidation to the pavement, drying out the asphalt. Man made elements such as fuel, oil, antifreeze, and salts break down the oils and cohesive properties in the asphalt.

As new asphalt age’s small open cracks are formed between the asphalt, from oxidation and rain. These small cracks permit water, salt, fuel, oil, and ultraviolet rays to penetrate into the base leading to greater damage, unless repaired properly. Water is said to be the most damaging agent to asphalt. When water enters the base of the pavement the base material moves and settles leading to further cracking and an “alligator appearance”. This leads to larger cracks, eventually collapsing into the eroded voids, causing potholes. When the pavement reaches this stage the only option is removal and replacement of the old asphalt.

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