Introduction to Asphalt Basics

Quality Control Analyst Program

In partnership with MassDOT, UMTC and UMass Dartmouth

Come spend a week at UMass Dartmouth and start a career!

Workforce development improves the capabilities of the Commonwealth’s transportation sector.  There is currently a high demand in the paving industry for Asphalt Quality Control Technicians This program will provide training to become a Qualified Asphalt Technician.  Classes will be held this fall/winter, Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at the UMass Dartmouth Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Building, Fall River, MA.
The classes and labs will cover the following aggregate training topics:

I. Aggregate and Asphalt Sampling & Testing

Participants will learn, according to AASHTO specifications, the steps to obtain testing samples of asphalt binder and aggregates. Also, the required tests to measure the properties of asphalt binder and aggregate that are needed for the design an asphalt mixture will be presented. This workshop will include one 3-hours lecture and one 3-hours hands-on laboratory. The lecture will cover the steps followed to sample asphalt binders and aggregates, rheological properties of asphalt binders, the physical properties of aggregates, and the associated experiments with measuring the properties of asphalt binders and aggregates. In the laboratory, students will observe and conduct the experiments needed to measure the necessary properties of asphalt binders and aggregates that are needed to conduct an asphalt mixture mix design.

II. Asphalt Mix Design Basics

The basic objectives of an asphalt mixture design and how to meet them will be presented. The focus will be on explaining the required volumetrics for an asphalt mixture. The different types of asphalt mixtures will also be introduced to the participants. This workshop will include one 3-hours lecture and one 3-hours hands-on laboratory. The lecture will introduce the students to the basics of designing a cost effective, durable, and sustainable asphalt mixtures. In the laboratory, students will observe how to mix and compact asphalt and aggregates to fabricate laboratory produced laboratory compacted (LPLC) asphalt mixture specimens.

III. Asphalt Mix Design Math

All the necessary calculations involved in an asphalt mixture design will be presented. The calculations of specific gravities of aggregates, specific gravities of asphalt mixture, and the volumetrics of an asphalt mixture will be covered. Examples will be presented to the participants. This workshop will consist of one 3-hours lecture. The lecture will cover all the calculations that are conducted during designing an asphalt mixture. 

IV. Blending Aggregates & Binder

This is mainly a hands-on workshop. The workshop will consist of two 3-hours laboratory. The participants will be divided in groups. A group could be formed of only a single student. Each group will be taught how to add asphalt binder to aggregates, mix them, and compact the mix using a Superpave gyratory compactor. The instructor will provide a demo at the beginning of the workshop, as review to workshop II,  followed by each group performing its own mixing and compaction.

V. Asphalt Spreadsheets & HMA Sampling  and Testing (Part I)

An introduction to Excel will be the first part of this workshop followed by examples of spreadsheets that are used in an asphalt mixture design. These spreadsheets are used to blend aggregates and calculate the volumetrics of an asphalt mixture. This workshop will consist of one 3-hours lecture.

VI. HMA Sampling and Testing (Part II)

Participants will be introduced to the AASHTO method of sampling asphalt mixture in the field in order to perform Quality Assurance (QA) testing. This workshop will consist of a 3-hours lecture and a field trip to an asphalt plant. The 3-hours lecture will cover the quality control/assurance testing that is conducted according to MassDOT specifications during the production of the asphalt mixtures. The field trip will be for the students to observe the QC/QA testing in real time.

If you are interested in attending the Asphalt Academy please fill out the application below and email Jeff Cathcart ( or Matt Mann (

Link to Asphalt Basics Application

Link to Asphalt Basics Survey