Kraton Performance Polymers and NCAT Announce Performance Results

Kraton HiMA technology performed against competing asphalt pavement technologies at the National Center for Asphalt Technology's Pavement Test Track.

Kraton Performance Polymers Inc., a leading global producer of styrenic block copolymers or "SBCs," in partnership with the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT), has announced the findings of the NCAT Pavement Test Track project that tested and compared the performance of Kraton HiMA technology against competing asphalt pavement technologies.

The NCAT Pavement Test Track, a road and bridge industry-renowned, accelerated pavement-testing facility has been operating for 11 years. It's a cooperative project with individual test sections sponsored by highway transportation agencies and commercial interest groups to validate and develop new technologies for improving roadways to make them smoother, quieter, safer, last longer, and more economical. It is NCAT's proving ground to help validate those technologies in an accelerated fashion. To view an edited video about the NCAT Test Track, please click here.

Kraton Polymers sponsored test section North 7 (N7) to determine if a highly modified binder using its HiMA technology could reduce the total pavement thickness and still achieve adequate and even superior performance. Kraton kept the same gradation and mix design and simply replaced the binder, which gave the Kraton section a total thickness of 5 3/4 inches versus seven inches (18% reduction in thickness) from the control section.

"Even though there is no cracking to date, NCAT has conducted an analysis based on actual pavement strain and back calculated modulus data along with laboratory fatigue tests," says Bob Kluttz, Sr. Scientist, Research and Development at Kraton Polymers. "The analysis shows many times the fatigue life of the control indicating that our thinner section may significantly outperform the control in bottom up fatigue cracking as well. At the end of the 2009-2011 trafficking cycle, the average rut depth of section N7 was 2.2 mm versus 7.1 mm for the control section S9."

"Partnerships between the NCAT Pavement Test Track and private industries such as Kraton Polymers are key to the continued success of both organizations," says Test Track Manager Buzz Powell. "Funding for projects on public roads is scarce, and the test track gives Kraton a solid proving ground for their new technologies."

Polymer modification of asphalt binder is the government transportation agency solution of choice to enhance the durability of roads exposed to heavy traffic or harsh climates. The added performance asphalt binder achieves through polymer modification is required to meet the evolving expectations of drivers, road agencies and authorities and the wider community. As pioneers in asphalt modification, Kraton Polymers leads the paving industry by offering new and innovative polymers that deliver greater performance and processability.

The current NCAT test track sponsors include the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), numerous state departments of transportation and four private industry groups. NCAT's annual budget is about $5 million.

For additional information about Kraton HiMA technology, please contact Marcie Coronado at or 281-504-4975. For information regarding the test track and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Karen Hunley at the National Center for Asphalt Technology at or (334) 844-7328.