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Innovative asphalt paving method becomes perfect solution for challenging jobsite.

The conversation about a unique paving project at Ohio Mulch Supply, Inc., in Columbus, Ohio, happened by chance.

Ohio Mulch Owner Jim Weber was on a call with his mulch colorant and mulch-coloring equipment supplier, Colorbiotics, when he mentioned a challenging roadblock: Weber had cleared about 10 acres of a 37-acre lot he wanted to use for truck and equipment storage and a warehouse building. But his paving contractor concluded the ground was too damp, soft and unstable for any kind of paved surface. As it was now, Weber’s trucks were getting stuck in the thick mud. Hanlin Rainaldi Construction suggested Weber wait until summer 2023 to try to drain the area so a suitable subgrade could be applied before a layer of blacktop. Hanlin Rainaldi didn’t think the site would pass a “proof roll” unless they had that subgrade.

“I couldn’t have the land sitting in that condition for too long,” Weber said, “so I was willing to try almost anything.”

That was enough for Colorbiotics vice president Kent Rotert. Colorbiotics was just launching Invigorate Plus re-binder, a soybean-based solution applied to recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) millings that, once compacted and set, provides an asphalt pavement surface ideal for parking and storage lots, driveways and low-traffic roadways. When Rotert suggested the re-binder and explained its potential, Weber quickly agreed to try it.

“The situation Jimmy [Weber] was describing sounded perfect for our product,” Rotert said. So in June, the Colorbiotics team visited Ohio Mulch to help Weber and his crew pave the lot using RAP millings and Invigorate Plus re-binder.

Unlike anything they’d seen.

First, they used a bulldozer to move 6 inches of topsoil before evenly spreading a 6-inch layer of RAP millings evenly across 6 acres of the site. Then, the crew used a truck-mounted sprayer to apply the Invigorate Plus solution and compacted it all with an asphalt roller. The entire job took a day to complete, and as the sun shined on the surface, the team could already see it drying, assuming it would take several weeks to fully set. Within two-and-a-half weeks, Weber invited Ed Rainaldi of Hanlin Rainaldi back out to take another look at the lot.

“Ed asked, ‘What is this?’” Weber said. “They were surprised by the density and how quickly it set. It was unlike anything they’d seen.” The Hanlin Rainaldi Construction team now felt they may have a suitable subgrade for blacktop.

Results rooted in science.

Colorbiotics product manager Austin Hohmann explained how Invigorate Plus re-binder works different from similar solutions used with RAP millings and why everyone was surprised at the fast results.

“Invigorate Plus re-binder uses water as a transport vehicle to get the material down,” he said. “It is almost like a tack weld, binding the points at which the millings connect.”

The true test was the “proof roll,” where a fully loaded semi could drive on the surface without any sinkage or cracking. The new product passed with flying colors, and Hanlin Rainaldi was then able to apply two layers of hot mix asphalt on top of the re-binder to accommodate a new building. The rest of the Invigorate Plus area was already deemed suitable for trucks and landscaping equipment to drive and park on, without sinking and without creating dust.

While Invigorate Plus re-binder is used with 100% RAP millings, it holds up surprisingly well next to traditional hot mix pavement in indirect tensile strength testing. The product shows results of 87 on the pavement serviceability index scale (PSI) while hot mix pavement typically comes in at 130 PSI. In the Ohio Mulch situation and similar projects, it would not be necessary or cost-efficient to use hot mix asphalt on the entire site but having an 87 PSI compared to 130 PSI with a simple three-step method is remarkable. Products like Invigorate Plus re-binder have lower numbers, with testing results showing 45 PSI.

“The dust elimination is a bonus,” Weber said. “It was becoming a problem for our neighbors, but now, we don’t have any dust at all.”

Because it contains a soybean-based polymer, Invigorate Plus re-binder also sealed the surface and forced rainwater to run off rather than penetrate the surface. Meanwhile, any existing water beneath the surface drained out the sides into a lower, unused part of the property.

That Invigorate Plus re-binder set so quickly exceeded Colorbiotics’ expectations as well. “We had predicted it would take maybe two months minimum to really show results,” Hohmann said. “The fact it only took a little over two weeks is incredible.”

The versatility of the soybean.

While utilizing renewable materials certainly benefits asphalt applications, using soy-based ingredients in Invigorate Plus re-binder benefits more than one industry. Finding innovative ways to use crops is also good for the agricultural sector, and it helps reduce waste.

The soy-based formula is an ideal alternative to petroleum or formaldehyde-based products because it is a safer for the environment and is more carbon neutral. This is especially important when applying to surfaces that can have run-off into nearby ditches or grassy areas.

“We take pride in developing products that push the boundaries of what’s been done before,” Hohmann said. “With the Invigorate product line, contractors can make pavement that is good for the planet and even better for their bottom line.”

Invigorate Plus re-binder is part of a product family that includes Invigorate Plus additive and Invigorate Plus sealcoat, both used in high-traffic and heavy-load road paving applications. All provide innovative, environmentally friendly, cost-effective solutions for contractors.

For Jim Weber and Ohio Mulch, that was particularly important. “I’m pleased we could get this job completed in a relatively short amount of time,” he said. “But being environmentally conscious is important for our operation, too. Given the benchmarks Colorbiotics has set before with environmental safety, I’m not surprised they could offer me this.”