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Of All Things Peanut Butter, Toast, and Asphalt

March 2023

What if our roads were made of peanut butter? This gooey concept, and more realistic ones, were spread around at the 14th annual INDOT Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) Certified Field Supervisor Program.

More than 125 Indiana asphalt professionals attended the program Feb. 28. The program was organized by INDOT and the Asphalt Pavement Association of Indiana.

The one-day certification program targets field personnel to learn best practices for asphalt mix placement and compaction. Contracted field supervisors are required to attend every five years for recertification. Additionally, some INDOT employees attend to learn the latest research, updates, and guidelines.

E&B Paving Asphalt Production Manager Brian Crume likened asphalt to peanut butter, but the more he explained it, the more it made sense.

Crume was demonstrating MultiCool, a free mobile app that helps calculate the cooling rate of an HMA mat during construction. After plugging in information such as temperature, wind speed, type and depth of mix, type of liquid, and more, users can see the recommended time to stop rolling for compaction.

“Think of asphalt as pulling toast right out of the toaster, nice and hot, and then slapping some peanut butter on there,” said Crume. “Once that peanut butter gets a little bit warm, it’s kind of gooey. Now, the toast is what’s on the ground and the peanut butter is the asphalt between the air and ground. What’s in-between is squishy and it’s also helping insulate everything.”

INDOT Construction Project Supervisor Scott Goodwin was impressed and said MultiCool could be used by more than just contractors.

“With a plug-and-play spreadsheet that calculates the time needed to complete roller passes, the app could be used by INDOT to get the best compaction possible,” said Goodwin. “It’s great to learn about new products and practices.”

Other presenters talked about HMA placement and compaction, quality assurance procedures, preparation of surface, thickness and tonnage control, and paving operations.

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