AN OVERVIEW OF THE VISCOSITY GRADING SYSTEM ADOPTED ININDIA FOR PAVING BITUMEN
ByProf. Prithvi Singh Kandhal*
[This paper was published in the Indian Roads Congress, “Indian Highways”, Volume 35, No. 4, April2007]
Viscosity graded system has recently been adopted in India for paving bitumen based onIS 73:2006 Paving Bitumen – Specification (Third Revision) issued in July 2006. Theviscosity grading system replaces a 100-year old penetration grading system. This systemspecifies paving bitumen by viscosity at 60 C rather than penetration at 25 C.The paper reviews the history of grading paving bitumen over the last 125 years. The progression of grading systems: grading by chewing, penetration grading, viscositygrading, and Superpave performance grading, has been discussed with their respectiveadvantages and disadvantages.The paper gives an overview of the newly adopted viscosity grading system to acquainthighway engineers, contractors, suppliers, and consultants with it to make the necessarychange over from penetration grades to viscosity grades in practice. The new viscositygraded (VG) bitumen specification has been compared with the old penetration graded bitumen specification. Selection criteria for VG grades based on climate and traffic has been recommended. Recommendations have also been made to implement the VG gradesas soon as possible to improve the consistency, quality, and durability of bituminous pavements in India. Information about the viscosity test such as testing equipment,testing procedure, and estimated cost of the equipment has been given.
India has now adopted a viscosity grading system for paving bitumen. The Bureau of Indian Standards has issued IS 73:2006 Paving Bitumen – Specification (ThirdRevision)
in July 2006, which specifies paving bitumen by viscosity at 60 C rather thanthe old system
of grading paving bitumen by penetration at 25 C. The Ministry of RoadTransport and Highways (MORTH) is expected to revise its highway specificationsrelated to bituminous materials and pavements soon to reflect this significant change ingrades of paving bitumen. ______________________________________________________________________ *Associate Director Emeritus, US National Center for Asphalt Technology, KaranpuraHouse, 50 Raj Bhawan Road, Civil Lines, Jaipur (Email: email@example.com