Trinidad Lake Asphalt
Trinidad Lake Asphalt (TLA, TNA, Epuré) is perhaps the most famous source of natural bitumen. It occurs as a semi-solid emulsion of soluble bitumen, mineral matter and other minor constituents. Mined from the world famous ‘Pitch Lake’ in the south west of Trinidad, West Indies, it has enjoyed continuous use in asphalt products for well over 100 years.

TLA is first surface mined from the 100 acre ‘lake’. The mined Trinidad Lake Asphalt is subjected to a simple refining process resulting in a material remarkably constant in its soluble bitumen content of 53 to 55%. The mineral component is similarly fixed at 36-37%. This mineral constituent works in combination with the bitumen component to produce the beneficial properties of TLA.

Until recently TLA has only been available in 240kg drums but is now available as a granulated product (TNAC 0/8) pre-packed in easily handled low-melt bags. It can also be supplied blended with cellulose fibres (NAF501) for addition to SMA mixtures. Both products are manufactured to DIN EN ISO 9001. TLA will soon be available in a new pelletised form that will revolutionise its ease of use. Further details will follow soon.

TLA modified asphalt materials provide:
Increased durability
Increased mixture stability
Improved anti-rutting performance
Improved pavement load carrying
Improved whole-life pavement costs
A light coloured, safer, surface
Enhanced skid resistance properties
Enhanced workability of asphalt mixtures
Layer equivalency benefits
Improved fatigue performance
Improved low temperature cracking characteristics
Improved resistance to high-temperature deformation
Improved ability to display pigments effectively
Effective blending with other additives and bitumens
Typical Physical Properties

Softening point 93-99°C
Ash (mineral matter) 35-39%
Penetration (25°C, 100gm,
5 sec.)
0-4
Soluble bitumen (trichloroethylene) 52-55%
Specific Gravity 1.39-1.44
Maltenes (as % of bitumen) 63- 66%
Asphaltenes (as % of bitumen) 33-37%
Packaging low-melt bags / silo
1 tonne big-bags
Supply 1 tonne – bulk shipment
in drums 

TLA has a proven history of successful asphalt mix modification, backed up by exhaustive test data from around the globe. TLA has proved to be particularly effective in heavy duty pavements which must demonstrate cost-effectiveness and high performance. These applications include race tracks, container handling facilities, highways, bridges and airports.

TLA can be stored with no detrimental effect, in marked contrast to many polymers. TLA can easily be added to any asphalt mixture, in any quantity, at any time and mixed at elevated temperatures with no degradation or loss of performance.

In recent years, TLA has demonstrated that it is particularly well suited to use in modern thin surfacing systems. It is routinely used in Stone Mastic Asphalt (SMA), Asphaltic Concrete, Gussasphalt and Mastic Asphalt materials.

For SMA, replacing 20 to 30% of the binder with TLA is normally specified, which produces an economical alternative to polymer modification, with the added benefits of easy storage and addition.

Major projects where Trinidad Lake Asphalt has been successfully used include:
Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge (Japan)
Tsing Ma Bridge (Hong Kong)
Lincoln and Holland Tunnels (USA)
The Nurburgring Race Circuit (Germany)
Seagirt Marine Terminal (USA)
The Mall (London)
Piarco (Trinidad), Grantley Adams (Barbados) and Copenhagen (Denmark), and JFK (USA) Airports
Major highways in Japan, Europe, USA and elsewhere
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