Joints are needed in portland cement concrete pavements to control cracking, relieve pavement stresses due to volume change, and to protect immovable structures. However, when the joints are not properly designed, constructed, and maintained, they may become a source of multiple problems. It is the opinion of many pavement management engineers that the most effective way to prevent and/or correct problems with joints is to use a joint sealer material. The purpose of the sealer is to keep surface water and fine, incompressible material from entering the pavement joint.

The Kentucky Transportation Center was contracted by the Kentucky Department of Highways to evaluate the installation and short-term performance of four different types of joint sealants used for portland cement concrete pavements. The four cement concrete pavement joint sealers used in the project were: silicone rubber, self-leveling silicone rubber, preformed polychloroprene compression seal, and conventional hot-poured elastic sealant. The silicone sealants were supplied for the project by the DOW Corning Company. The preformed polychloroprene compression seals were supplied by the D. S. Brown Company.

The silicone rubber sealant was sticky, difficult to install properly, and subsequently, is displaying evidence of increased wear. The self-leveling silicone rubber sealant was more fluid, less sticky, easier to install, obtained the correct depth in the joint most consistently, and has performed extremely well to date. The preformed polychloroprene compression seals appeared to be easily installed. However, uniformity in depth below the surface of the joint was not achieved and twisting of some seals was observed. A greater amount of incompressible materials are collecting in the pavement joints containing the preformed polychloroprene compression seals. The hot-poured elastic joint sealer was easily installed but installers had difficulties controlling the rate of application.

It was concluded that with proper construction techniques, successful applications of silicone rubber joint sealers will result. The silicone sealants provide an effective means of preventing moisture and incompressible fines from entering the pavement joint. Based on this successful initial application and the excellent short-term performance exhibited thus far, it was recommended that self-leveling silicone rubber sealant be used on a number of additional projects so that a more extensive performance data base may be developed by the Department of Highways.

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The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors, who are responsible for the facts and accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the University of Kentucky, or the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. The inclusion of manufacturer names or trade names are for identification purposes and are not to be considered as endorsements.