S-3 Asphalt: Everything You Need to Know

S-3 Asphalt, also known as Stone Mastic Asphalt (SMA), is a popular type of asphalt pavement that offers exceptional durability, longevity, and resistance to heavy traffic loads. This high-performance material is widely used in highway construction, airport runways, and other applications where strength and resilience are crucial. S-3 Asphalt is composed of a carefully graded aggregate mixture, high-quality asphalt binder, and a precise amount of filler material. The unique design of S-3 Asphalt allows for excellent resistance to rutting, cracking, and deformation, making it ideal for areas with heavy traffic volumes and extreme weather conditions. So, let's dive in and discover the fascinating world of this remarkable paving material.

What Is Type III Asphalt Concrete?

Type III asphalt concrete, also known as Superpave asphalt concrete, is a specific type of asphalt pavement course that’s constructed using a specific mixture of materials. This mixture includes stone or slag screenings, silica sand, asphalt cement, and sometimes mineral filler if necessary. This type of asphalt concrete is designed to meet specific performance requirements and is commonly used in high traffic areas or areas with heavy loads.

The use of stone or slag screenings in Type III asphalt concrete provides excellent stability and durability to the pavement. These screenings are carefully graded to ensure optimal performance and to withstand the stresses of heavy traffic. Silica sand is added to the mixture to enhance the overall strength and stability of the asphalt concrete. It’s fine particles help to fill the voids in the pavement and increase it’s resistance to rutting and cracking.

Asphalt cement is the binder that holds the aggregate materials together in Type III asphalt concrete. It’s a petroleum-based material that’s mixed with the aggregate and then heated to form a flexible and durable pavement. The amount of asphalt cement used in the mixture is carefully determined based on the specific requirements of the project, such as traffic volume and climate conditions.

In some cases, mineral filler may be added to the Type III asphalt concrete mixture to provide additional stability and performance. This filler, such as hydrated lime or fly ash, helps to improve the cohesion and strength of the pavement. It also helps to reduce moisture susceptibility and increase resistance to stripping.

Asphalt concrete, a widely used construction material, goes by various names depending on it’s composition and production method. Some commonly known types include hot mix asphalt (HMA), warm mix asphalt (WMA), cold mix asphalt (CMA), plant mix, bituminous mix, and bituminous concrete. These different variations offer specific characteristics and application requirements that cater to diverse construction needs.

What Are the Different Types of Asphalt Concrete?

Asphalt concrete is a versatile and widely used material in the construction industry. It’s known by several different names, depending on the specific mixture and production method. Understanding the different types of asphalt concrete can help in choosing the right type for specific applications.

Hot mix asphalt (HMA) is the most commonly used type of asphalt concrete. It’s produced at high temperatures and is characterized by it’s excellent strength and durability. HMA is suitable for high traffic areas like highways and interstates.

Warm mix asphalt (WMA) is a newer type of asphalt concrete that’s produced at lower temperatures compared to HMA. This innovative technology saves energy and reduces emissions during the production process. WMA has similar performance characteristics to HMA and is becoming increasingly popular in road construction.

Cold mix asphalt (CMA) is a type of asphalt concrete that can be used at ambient temperatures. It consists of a mixture of asphalt emulsion, aggregates, and water. CMA is commonly used for temporary repairs, pothole filling, and other small-scale applications.

Plant mix, bituminous mix, and bituminous concrete are all collective terms used to refer to any type of asphalt concrete that’s produced in a batch plant or drum mix plant. These terms are often used interchangeably and are generic descriptions of asphalt concrete mixtures used in various construction projects.

Hot mix asphalt, warm mix asphalt, and cold mix asphalt are the most commonly used types, each with it’s own advantages and applications.

Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP): This Type of Asphalt Concrete Includes Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement Materials, Which Are Recycled and Reused in New Asphalt Mixtures. RAP Is an Environmentally-Friendly Option That Reduces the Need for New Raw Materials and Helps to Conserve Natural Resources.

Recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) is a sustainable solution that involves reusing reclaimed asphalt materials in new asphalt mixtures. By recycling and repurposing these materials, RAP helps to reduce the demand for new raw materials and minimize waste. This environmentally-friendly option not only conserves natural resources but also helps to lower the carbon footprint associated with asphalt production. Incorporating RAP into asphalt mixtures can enhance performance and durability while maintaining cost-effectiveness. Overall, RAP is an excellent choice for sustainable and eco-friendly asphalt construction projects.

Type S-III asphalt, also known as Type S Grade III asphalt, is a specific type of asphalt that’s used exclusively for the final layer of pavement construction. It’s important to note that Type S-III asphalt is limited to this final structural layer and shouldn’t be used in the first layer of courses over a certain thickness. Additionally, it isn’t recommended for use in the first layer of courses on limited access facilities if they exceed a particular thickness.

What Is Type S III Asphalt?

Type S-III asphalt, also known as Type S III asphalt, is a specific type of asphalt mix used in road construction and paving projects. It refers to a limited application of asphalt that’s typically used for the final layer or top structural layer of the road surface.

It’s formulated with a specific aggregate mix that ensures proper compaction and resistance to wear and tear. The asphalt mix also contains a precise amount of bitumen, a sticky and viscous binder that holds the aggregate particles together.

For instance, it may not be used in the first layer of courses over 3 1/2 inches [90 mm] thick or in the first layer of courses over 2 3/4 inches [70 mm] thick on limited access facilities. These restrictions are in place to ensure that the pavement structure is adequately designed and that the road surface performs optimally.

In road construction projects, the proper selection and application of asphalt mixes are crucial for the longevity and performance of the road.

It’s designed to provide a smooth and durable road surface that can withstand heavy traffic loads and adverse weather conditions.

Differences Between Type S-Iii Asphalt and Other Types of Asphalt Mixes.

  • Type S-III asphalt has a higher viscosity compared to other types of asphalt.
  • It contains a higher percentage of polymer modifiers, which improves it’s durability and resistance to cracking.
  • Type S-III asphalt has excellent resistance to rutting and deformation under heavy traffic loads.
  • It’s commonly used for high-traffic areas such as highways, airports, and major roadways.
  • Other types of asphalt mixes may have lower viscosity and fewer polymer modifiers.
  • They may be more suitable for low-traffic areas or residential streets.
  • Type S-III asphalt is known for it’s longer lifespan and decreased maintenance needs.
  • It provides better performance in extreme weather conditions, including freezing temperatures and high temperatures.
  • Other types of asphalt mixes may require more frequent repairs and maintenance.
  • It’s important to consider the specific project requirements and traffic conditions when selecting the appropriate asphalt mix.


It’s a versatile material that offers excellent durability, weather resistance, and flexibility, making it suitable for various climates and traffic conditions. By considering the factors mentioned, such as aggregate gradation, binder content, and temperature susceptibility, professionals can ensure optimal performance and longevity of the asphalt pavement.

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