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National Asphalt Laboratory

The National Asphalt Laboratory (NAL) is a world-class research center. Located at Ohio University's Lancaster campus in 1600 ft2 laboratory space, it serves as a complement to the Accelerated Pavement Load Facility (APLF). The APLF allows for the construction and testing of a full-size two-lane road under fully controlled environmental conditions and under various wheel loads. Facilitating the hands-on training of students, technology transfer to the private sector and government, and advanced research, this new laboratory focuses on design and analysis of flexible pavement, evaluation of the mechanical properties of each ingredient in a pavement mix, and physical modeling. 

The National Asphalt Laboratory is equipped for the following testing:

  • new directions in asphalt research
  • complete SuperPave specifications (SuperPave is a new asphalt pavement designed to match material capabilities to actual conditions experienced by the roads.)
  • AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) Pavement Design Guide methods
  • warm mix asphalt (new asphalt additives and mixes that allow longer working times at lower temperatures)
  • future changes in asphalt specifications
  • new sensor technologies for asphalt pavements


The National Asphalt Laboratory, when fully implemented, will have a full spectrum of test equipment to complement existing test equipment at Ohio University used to test concrete, aggregate, soil, plastics, steel, and other infrastructure materials.


Benefits include better, longer-lasting highways with fewer maintenance and construction delays, meaning ultimately reduced maintenance and construction costs, reduced travel delays due to road work, and reduced overall resource consumption. The establishment of a National Asphalt Laboratory that is integrated with the existing Accelerated Pavement Load Facility (APLF) and that offers training on new quality-assurance and quality-control (QA and QC) techniques and equipment, provides an invaluable resource to modernize highways in the state of Ohio, which can serve as a model for other states.

Ohio Research Institute for Transportation and the Environment
Russ College of Engineering and Technology
Ohio University
136 Stocker Center
Athens, OH 45701-2979
Tel: (740) 593-1465
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