An interesting but unique challenge in our industry lies in how we hold and move our asphalt samples from place to place.
It would be one thing if our samples were small and light but as it just so happens, asphalt is pretty heavy. On top of that, our samples need to stay mixed up for the most reliable results. Segregation of your sample kills any hope of that.
To make matters worse, the liquid in asphalt sticks to just about everything and when it hardens, well, good luck getting it out of its container.
Sticky, heavy, and temperamental; not exactly the easiest substance to work with. That’s why we here at Gordon Technical have dedicated years to sourcing proper storage vessels for your asphalt samples. In this weeks article we are going to be taking a deep dive into the top five asphalt sample containers that we sell the most of to asphalt testing laboratories.
#1, The Humble Steam Pan
One of the most common pans you’ll find in any lab also happens to be the most popular item (imagine that). Steam pans have been used for decades thanks to their rounded corners and lightweight material.
Most steam pans are made from a 20-22 gauge stainless steel and can withstand most cleaners in the industry. The stainless steel also makes these pans rigid enough to handle a lot of sample.
The steam table pan comes in about 9 different sizes and a bunch of different depths to suit your needs. The most popular size is the half pan.
- Each steam pan is rigid and can handle the weight of your asphalt sample easily
- The pans are rounded at the bottom which helps to limit segregation
- They are made from a lighter weight gauge of stainless steel so there’s no added weight
- Steam tray pans are stackable which will save space in your lab
- Mixing samples easily
- Storing samples in the oven
- Most state specifications
- Premium Stainless Steel Pan$13.50 – $88.00
The steam table pan is widely popular and does exactly what it needs to do. Its low price and rounded corners makes these ideal for any lab.
We give the steam table pan the rating:
4.5 Pucks out of 5
#2 The Ultimate Non-Stick Pan
This pan has been in our arsenal for about 6 years now. In that time it has built a small but strong following. Labs that have purchased these pans haven’t had the need to purchase new pans since.
Each pan comes with a patented non-stick coating that is oven and metal tool safe. The sides are angled so the pans can be stacked but we have found that they make pouring easier too.
We’re usually skeptical when something is labeled “non-stick” but in this case, the non-stick coating works. Hot mix asphalt just doesn’t seem to stick to it.
- Non-Stick Coating allows all of the asphalt sample to slide out of the pan freely
- The coating is metal tool safe and can withstand even your toughest techs out there
- The angled sides makes pouring out of this pan a lot easier
- The pan is stackable to save space
- Labs that have that technician that loves to drop a flask every other week
- Using all of your sample and leaving nothing behind
- Labs with attachment issues, these pans will be here for the long haul
- TechGuard Nonstick Pan$22.00 – $57.00
The Non-Stick pan is remarkably reliable and its non-stick coating is insanely good. The high price tag may scare some of you away though.
We give the Non-stick pan a rating of:
4 Pucks out of 5
#3 Asphalt Sample Bag
Bags have helped humans carry stuff since the beginning of time. In your asphalt testing laboratory, these bags are no different. Slide one of them into a 5 gallon bucket and start shoveling till you can’t any more.
We source our bags from a mining supplier to ensure that they can hold any type of aggregate. These asphalt sample bags have a reinforced inseam and come with drawstrings to keep them together.
You may end up breaking your back trying to lift it, but this bag will never fail you.
- Tight woven fabric designed to prevent your sample from leaching into the fibers
- Reinforced seams that prevent heavy loads from splitting the bag
- Drawstrings to actually keep your sample where it needs to be
- Flexible shape to make it fit in ovens better
- If your state requires them. I know this one’s obvious but it’s true.
- Transporting samples one-handed
- Storing a large amount of sample
- Showing off your strength and maintaining order in your lab
- Asphalt Sample Bag$3.75
These bags are a great deal. They are super strong and aren’t likely to break on you. They fit easily in most lab ovens, although you might have trouble lifting it in there.
We give the Asphalt sample bag a rating of
4 Pucks out of 5
#4 Asphalt Sample Box
“If you want something done right, sometimes you have to do it yourself.” ~Somebody at some point in time
We developed the asphalt sample boxes to make sample collection easy. We noticed that a lot of labs were lining cardboard boxes with lab lease paper in order to send a sample off for testing.
We thought hey, why don’t we try making a box with the lining in it? Then we decided to make them out of an oven safe material, add tabs, make stencils so that techs could write on them, and make 3 different sizes.
We were told that these boxes work especially well in smaller ovens and that there is no difference in temperature between samples in our boxes and samples in pans. Although we don’t condone it, you could also store some samples long-term and bring them back up to temperature later.
- Made out of a strong oven-safe paperboard
- Has a silicone based lining that can remove an asphalt sample with one jerk leaving behind little to no residue
- Easily stackable in the oven to maximize sample preparation
- Re-usable up to five times
- Stacking multiple samples in the oven
- Not leaving behind your sample on the container
- Organizing samples for big projects
- Individual Asphalt Sample Box$2.97 – $4.00
These sample boxes solve a lot of the issues that come with transporting samples and should be considered in your lab. They are new and the fact that “new” isn’t a great word in our industry shouldn’t deter you from trying something. The quick release works way better than you are imagining and they are able to handle a lot of weight.
We give this product a rating of:
4.5 / 5 Pucks
#5 The Chicken Bucket
Ah the noble chicken bucket. For some reason you are a staple that will simply not disappear. No matter how badly you work, how often you fall apart, or how often you manage to lose your coating, our customers buy you up by the truckload. Seriously we wish there was a list of asphalt tests that showed how ineffective these things are.
Granted most customers purchase them un-lined because of the coating issue, but now their sample sticks to the walls. On top of that when a chicken bucket gets hot they tend to fall apart.
Now if you’re one of the states that uses them for aggregate separation I just want you to know that none of this is directed towards you.
- Can come with a coating that will melt off into your sample (is that a good thing?)
- Can come un-lined for obvious reasons
- Extremely light as they are made from paper
- Very bendable and can easily pour your asphalt sample where it needs to go
- Saving Money
- If you are craving KFC
Now obviously this one is going to be low on our list, but a lot of my disdain for these comes from having to purchase these out from under KFC and Bojangles. They are fierce competitors and they don’t give up their chicken buckets easily.
We give the chicken bucket a
2.5 / 5 Pucks
Although we obviously have a preference since one of the items was developed by us, you really can’t go wrong by choosing any one of these (except for the chicken bucket).
The steam pan is the highest rating for a reason because it can be used in mix design and in daily lab activities.
We would love for you to give our asphalt sample boxes a try. I know they’re not for everyone, but there’s no denying that they can be extremely useful.
Asphalt sample bags are a required spec in many states so we decided to make sure ours was high quality.
The non-stick pan is an absolute favorite of ours but even we’re still hesitant to promote them because of the cost.
I would really like to not have to sell chicken buckets anymore. They are annoying to source and even more annoying to stock.