Method of Mixing Crosslinking Blends in Totes for Use to Crosslink Polymer Modified Asphalts
1. A portable tote for use to crosslink polymer modified asphalts, said portable tote comprising a rigid tank having a top portion, a bottom portion and a sidewall, defining a tank interior, and having a gas mixing system fixedly attached to the tank, said gas mixing system containing a hollow wand partially disposed in the interior of the tank, said wand having a proximal end and a distal end, said proximal end exiting the tank and fixedly attached to said tank, said portable tote further comprising a bottom frame supporting said tank, said bottom frame configured to be lifted by a fork lift, said distal end of said wand having at least one accumulator plate positioned thereon, said accumulator plate positioned adjacent the bottom portion of the tank.
A method of mixing a crosslinking blend in a portable tote for use to crosslink polymer modified asphalts. The method includes providing a portable tote, where the tote includes a tank having a sidewall, a top and a bottom portion. Fixedly positioned partially within the tank interior is an air mixing system that includes a hollow wand that has a distal and a proximal end. The proximal end of the wand exits the tank. The distal end of the tote is connected to at least one accumulator plate, where the accumulator plate is adjacent to the interior bottom portion of the tank. Stored in the interior of the tank is a crosslinking blend suitable for use to crosslink polymer modified asphalts. The method includes the steps of attaching a pulsed gas controller to the proximal end of the wand and coupling a source of compressed gas to the controller, then activating the controller to cause mixing of the crosslinking blend by pulsing gases into the crosslinking blend for a sufficient period of time. After, or during mixing, the crosslinking blend is discharged from the interior of the tank, and the controller is removed from the wand, leaving said wand attached to the tank.
- 1. A portable tote for use to crosslink polymer modified asphalts, said portable tote comprising a rigid tank having a top portion, a bottom portion and a sidewall, defining a tank interior, and having a gas mixing system fixedly attached to the tank, said gas mixing system containing a hollow wand partially disposed in the interior of the tank, said wand having a proximal end and a distal end, said proximal end exiting the tank and fixedly attached to said tank, said portable tote further comprising a bottom frame supporting said tank, said bottom frame configured to be lifted by a fork lift, said distal end of said wand having at least one accumulator plate positioned thereon, said accumulator plate positioned adjacent the bottom portion of the tank.
This application is a division of U.S. application Ser. No. 15/623,200, filed on Jun. 14, 2017, which claimed the priority benefit of U.S. Provisional Application 62/350,247, filed on Jun. 15, 2016, both of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
The asphalt industry produces multiple asphalt (bitumen) compositions in preparing aggregate compositions useful as road paving material, such as using bitumen pitch in combination with sand or gravel). The asphalt must meet defined parameters relating to properties such as viscosity, stiffness, penetration, toughness, tenacity and ductility for the specific application. For particular applications, conventional bitumen compositions can be modified by the addition of other substances, such as polymers. A wide variety of polymers have been used as additives in asphalts, to improve physical and mechanical performance properties. Polymer-modified asphalts are routinely used in the road construction/maintenance and roofing industries, and by incorporating into them an elastomeric-type polymer (e.g., a rubber, such as SBR or SBS rubber from Kraton Corp), which may be one such as butyl, polybutadiene, polyisoprene or polyisobutene rubber, ethylene/vinyl acetate copolymer, polyacrylate, polymethacrylate, polychloroprene, polynorbornene, ethylene/propylene/diene (EPDM) polymer and advantageously a random or block copolymer of styrene and a conjugated diene. The modified asphalts thus obtained commonly are referred to variously as bitumen/polymer binders or asphalt/polymer mixes or “modified asphalts.” It is also known that the stability of polymer-bitumen compositions can be increased by the addition of crosslinking agents, including vulcanizing agents such as sulfur, frequently in the form of elemental sulfur. The sulfur chemically couples with the polymer and the bitumen through sulfide and/or polysulfide bonds. See U.S. Pat. No. 6,133,351, and WO-2006-047044, and 6,569,351 all incorporated by reference. These sulfur crosslinked blends or formulations have demonstrated the ability to optimize the polymer addition, reduce production costs, increase production capacity, crosslink at less than 350° F., and improve the compatibility characteristics of the asphalt. The improved compatibility allows use of less expensive generic polymers such as Kraton D1101 (from Kraton Polymers, of Houston, Tex. (a Kraton Corp. company)) with a broad range of asphalts. As used herein, a crosslinking blend includes a sulfur product (not necessarily elemental sulfur) in a suitable carrier, such as, for instance a low viscosity petroleum based oil, for use in combination with modified asphalts.
One method to prepare a crosslinked composition for use in a modified asphalt product is to pre-mix an oil based blended product, containing other desired additives, such as crosslinking additives, accelerators, initiators, and H2S suppressants. The resulting premixed oil based product will later be added or mixed with the polymer asphalt product. For instance, one crosslinking material is AS-3000 Plus available from Alberty Additives, LLC in Baton Rouge, La., and contains a sulfur product in a petroleum oil, such as paraffinic petroleum oil with proprietary accelerators to facilitate rapid reaction of the rubber/polymer with the asphalt. These accelerators allow higher asphalt throughput in the production facility. The crosslinking material may include a proprietary dispersant. Another crosslinking product is BGA, U.S. Pat. No. 6,569,925 B2, from Ergon Armor (an Ergon, Inc. company) of Memphis Tenn., (hereby incorporated by reference).
In application, the crosslinking material is delivered in a container, such as in a 360-gallon barrel or a 275 gallon cone or frustrum tote container, to be mixed with the heated asphalt/polymer material. The crosslinking product is pumped from the tote, such as with a gear pump or air diaphragm pump, to be added to the asphalt polymer composition in specified dosages. Often, the crosslinking materials may be stored in the tote or barrel for a period of time, such as for two-three weeks, prior to being combined with the asphalt mixture. Solids in the tote-stored crosslinking product, over time, will settle out, requiring that the crosslinking product be mixed prior to adding to the asphalt/polymer (e.g., rubber) mixture.
Several techniques have been used to mix the crosslinking products, such as using a hand held blade shear mixer, or using a pulsed air system, such as a Pulsair portable wanded mixer (e.g., a 10-55 tote stick), from Pulsair Systems, Inc. of Bellevue, Wash. The Pulsair system sends pulses of compressed air through a hollow wand or probe. At the distal end of the wand is a flat circular shaped accumulator plate, such as a 4 to 6 inch metal accumulator plate. The accumulator plate helps to shape the released pulse of air to more effectively mix, and when mixing, is preferably positioned near the bottom of the tank. A Pulsair controller is located at the operator end of the wand. The Pulsair controller allows an operator to control the frequency of the pulses and the pressure of pulses. In use, the sudden release of air shocks the crosslinking liquid. As the air squeezes out between the plate and tank floor, it sweeps out the heavier liquids and solids. The air then accumulates above the plate into a very large, single oval shaped bubble. The bubble rises to the surface, a vacuum is created that pulls the heavier bottom liquids and solids up with it. As the bubble rises it also pushes the liquid above it up and out towards the tank perimeter. The liquid moves toward the sides of the tank and travels down the tank wall to the bottom.
To mix the crosslinking composition using the Pulsair system, the Pulsair wand and accumulator is inserted into an opening or bung in the tank. The operator selects a suitable frequency and air pressure, attaches a source of compressed air or gas (such as a compressor which may form part of the Pulsair system) and mixes for a period of time (for instance, a 360-gallon drum may require 20 minutes to two hours of mixing using 40 to 120 psi pressure at a frequency that can be varied, such as from 10-60 cycles per minute). The crosslinking product can be pumped to the asphalt/polymer product while mixing. When finished, the Pulsair mixer is removed from the drum or tote. While not arduous, the spillage or splash out from the open container and drippings from the mixer wand after removal can result in an unwanted discharge of product to the ground, which creates an unsafe and dirty operator environment. A better method of mixing is needed.
One embodiment of the invention includes a portable storage tank or tote that has a pre-installed pulsed air wand in the tank. Shown in
Positioned in the interior of the tank is an air dispersion system that includes a hollow wand having a distal end 4 and proximal end 5. The proximal end 5 is fixedly attached to the tank, such as coupled to a tank opening 40 with a coupling member. As shown, the proximal end 5 of the wand is coupled to the top of the tank 1, such as at the bung opening 40 or at a ½ drilled hole, using a bulk head fitting to secure the wand. The proximal end of the wand 5 protrudes above the top surface of the tank 1, and preferably, terminates in a connector 9, such as a quick connector. A removable cap (such as a threaded cap, or quick connect cap) can cover the protruding terminating proximal end 5 of the wand.
The distal end 4 of the wand terminates in a distribution manifold 60. The manifold 60 is generally one or more hollow pipes, attached or connected to the distal end 4 of the wand (such as by tubing connectors). The distribution manifold 60 terminates in one or more generally planar accumulator plates 3. The accumulator plates 3 may threadably attach to the distribution manifold 60. Preferably, the accumulator plates 3 will be located adjacent to the bottom of the tank (about ½-2 inches off the bottom of the tank) and the planar accumulators 3 will preferably be installed substantially parallel to the tank floor section to which the accumulator is adjacent. As shown in
The wand and distribution manifold are intended to be semi-permanently installed in the tank, but removable for repairs when needed. In use, a tank can be retrofitted with the wand distribution manifold accumulator system. Crosslinking product is then added to the now wanded tank/tote, and shipped to the desired location for combination with the modified asphalt product. At the desired location, when mixing of the crosslinking product is desired, an air or gas controller, such as a Pulsair controller, is attached to the proximal end of the wand, such as with a quick connector. A source of compressed air or inert gas is then coupled to the air controller (such as by coupling to an air compressor) and mixing of the crosslinking product is then performed. When mixing is complete, the air controller may be removed, leaving the wand installed in the tank (alternatively, mixing can be continued as product is discharged from the tote). As the wand remains in the tote, the oil based blended material does not spill or drip on the operator or work area. Clean up is eliminated or reduced, and unsafe working conditions resulting from slippery oil on work surfaces is avoided. This is a significant operational advantage as manpower requirements are pressing and critical during the asphalt crosslink operation. This operational advantage translates into a competitive advantage for Alberty Additives, LLC in the Modified Asphalt market place.
The pulsing air mixing system has shown significant improvement in allowing the crosslink material to be pumped from the tote. Typical heels (material that remains in the tote after application) can be as high as 600 pounds of crosslink material. The internally mounted Pulsair system results in heels as low as 30 pounds and averages less than 100 pounds. The pulses assist in scouring action, lifting deposited materials into suspension.
The mixed crosslinking product or blend is then pumped from the bottom or near the bottom of the tank to be combined with the asphalt. In one sequence, the polymer may have been added and thoroughly mixed into the asphalt prior to addition of the crosslinking product. Alternatively, after suitable mixing, the crosslinking product may be discharged while mixing of the polymer occurs within the asphalt tank. Once the crosslinking product tank is drained, it may be desirable to operate the air system to purge any product within the distribution system/wand. The pulsed gas mixing allows for even distribution of the sulfur in the crosslinking blend (providing for better results when mixing with the modified asphalt) and also allows for removal of substantially all of the crosslinking blend from the tote tank.
For small tanks, two accumulator plates are deployed. For larger tanks, or for tanks with vertical walls, such as a barrel shaped tank, more accumulators may be needed to provide sufficient mixing and scouring of the bottom portion of the tank. With additional accumulators, higher gas pressures may be needed to provide sufficient gas flow to the accumulators.