The TRUTH About Infrared

 

These are the most frequently asked questions that we get:

1) ​What is Infrared? 
"Infrared" is a specific wavelength or ray of light. It is invisible to the eye, but results in heat when absorbed by objects.

2) Why heat asphalt? 
When you heat asphalt, you bring it back to a workable consistency just like the day it was first paved. This means you can make repairs instead of replacing it altogether.

3) How does Infrared heat asphalt? 
Infrared rays heat material by penetrating the surface and heating from within, similar to the way a microwave heats food. Infrared rays will not heat more than one layer at a time but will instead heat the entire first layer evenly.

4) Will all of the surface under the heating chamber be heated? 
Yes. Our converter system has reflectors that direct and “bounce” the infrared rays evenly over the entire area under the chamber. This eliminates any "cold spots" of unheated material. We have accomplished this for the last 25+ years with just six rows of converters due to our unique reflector layout and high frequency of infrared rays.

5) Why is Infrared Repair better than cutting and replacing the asphalt? 
Cutting and replacing asphalt gives you a new surface but it doesn't keep the edges from raveling. The only way to get edges that won't fall apart in time is by heating the surface to make a thermal bond between the repair spot and the surrounding asphalt. This means no water or dirt will be able to enter the crevices around the repair area that you would find on a cut and repair job.

6) Is an Infrared Repair permanent? 
Yes. When you create a thermal bond and compact it properly, you will end up with a permanent repair patch. The only time an infrared patch will fail is when it was done on an area that had a bad underlying base issue.

7) How long will it take to perform one repair? 
Typically, it will take 20 minutes to heat, rake, lute and compact one complete area. With our equipment, it will take 6-8 minutes to heat and then you need to rake, bring in some new material, lute and compact it.

8) How is an Infrared Repair performed? 
We have a detailed step-by-step walkthrough of a typical repair on the "How-To" tab on our main menu bar. You can also watch the Demonstrational Video on our Videos tab which is also located on the main menu bar. Anyone thinking about getting into infrared or who already owns a machine should check out both links as they both give a very detailed explanation!

9) Why do heating times matter? 
1) The longer the asphalt is heated, the higher the chance of oxidation or (with some heaters) burning. 2) Faster heats = more repairs per day = more revenue per day. In the case of municipalities, getting the work done quicker obviously means your crews can get on to the next job faster! To help visualize what even a few minutes quicker per heat means, we’ve put together a time comparison sheet that can be found at this link.

10) Should there be any flames? 
No. You should never see flames when using a true infrared heater correctly. The only time you may see a flame is when sealants or crack fillers catch on fire. You should do all you can to try and avoid these materials in the first place, but if you have this issue just move the heater away and rake the burning material out of the patch.

11) Will Infrared burn the asphalt? 
No. True infrared heaters work by heating from the inside out of a material instead of using direct heat. The only time you can burn asphalt with true infrared heat is if you leave it on for an unnecessarily long time. However, there are some other heaters out there that rely on flames and direct heat that can burn asphalt and give infrared a bad name. Be careful to study the product to ensure it does create true infrared rays.

12) Should I use a rejuvenator?

The use of a rejuvenator is up to you. In our experience, we have not seen the need for rejuvenator, but that doesn't mean there can't be situations where it should be used or times when it is required by the government or contracts. This is something that needs to be left up to the operator's discretion. It won’t affect the infrared process if you do use it.

13) Do all Infrared Asphalt Heaters work the same way? 
No, definitely not! The big difference is the heat source. Our equipment heats with the highest frequency, true infrared rays due to our unique converter design. We produce an unmatched average of 1,875ºF temperatures without flames (400ºF+ hotter than our nearest competitor). The higher an object’s temperature, the more infrared radiation it emits. A 400ºF difference may not sound like much, but there is a great difference in the amount of infrared rays available to be absorbed by the asphalt which obviously affects the heating times. There are also manufacturers that rely on blue flame heat which brings us to the next question:

14) What is the difference between Infrared and Blue Flame? 
Infrared heats the asphalt while blue flame heats the air. Think about standing in the sunlight. The sun's rays will warm you even on a cold day. That is similar to how infrared works with an asphalt surface. The infrared rays are emitted and absorbed by the asphalt directly. Now picture being in your house on a cold day. You turn on your furnace and feel the room begin to heat up, but it takes a bit before you warm up. With blue flame heat on asphalt, the chamber is placed tightly over the surface and the air underneath is heated before the asphalt begins to soak in heat from the air, like an oven. That is really the best analogy for blue flame heat. They both heat the asphalt, but infrared is much more direct and therefore much faster.

15) What is the difference between a hot box and a reclaimer? 
A reclaimer is a hotbox that holds new asphalt at a workable temperature but can also heat up cold, used asphalt. This lets you choose between getting new material from the plant or using a stockpile of cold used material.

 

If you have any more questions about the Infrared Asphalt Repair Process, please don't hesitate to call or email us!

Contact Us