Infrastructure Insider: Online Viscosity Monitoring for Consistent Asphalt Quality

March 30, 2022

Webinar originally aired on March 30, 2022 | Register Here

Viscosity is a key indicator for asphalt properties and quality. In this webinar we will describe the advantages of vibrational sensors for inline monitoring of asphalt and asphalt emulsion viscosity. We will describe a ruggedized torsional inline viscometer that has been successfully integrated into a network of asphalt terminals. A key requirement for inline viscosity measurement, particularly in remote, less-accessible locations, is long-term stability and freedom from maintenance. The unique technology behind the sensor makes it both easy to clean and free from periodic calibration. 

In the webinar, we will discuss the underlying technology of the viscometer, including those features that make it particularly robust and independent of installation position and orientation. We will also discuss the particular demands of asphalt applications, including measures that need to be taken during shutdown and startup of asphalt lines. An important requirement for remote monitoring of viscosity is the interface over which the viscosity data is transmitted. We will summarize the available electronic interfaces and how they contribute to making the system compatible with existing monitoring and logging equipment.  

Learning Objectives:

  1. Why is viscosity important for asphalt production, processing and application?
    • Production requirements
    • Transport & application requirements
  2. How is it measured?
    • Lab instruments 
    • Inline instruments
    • Standards (ASTM, AASTO, etc)
  3. Issues with lab measurements 
  4. Issues with inline instruments 
  5. Key requirements for a fit-for-purpose inline viscometer
    • Functional requirements (viscosity range, temperature, etc)
    • Operational (installation, commissioning, data acquisition and analysis, maintenance)
  6. Building a viscometer that is fit-for-purpose
    • Design
    • Operation
    • Installation and maintenance
    • Data driven control
  7. Advantages of a robust sensor that meets the need of the industry and complete asphalt ecosystem: in production, in loading terminal and on the truck.


Dr. Joe Goodbread

Chief Technical Officer, Rheonics

Joe Goodbread is the founding member of the team that developed Rheonics’ core technologies over the past 30 years. He established and directed the Experimental Mechanics Laboratory at the Institute for Mechanics, ETH Zurich. He has developed substantial IP in the field of fluid properties sensors with 11 granted patents and more than 20 pending. He has a B.SE. in aerospace and mechanical engineering science from Princeton University, a M.S. in biomechanics from Stanford University, and a Dr. Techn. Sc. from the ETH Zurich in biomechanics. Early in his career, Joe worked with SRI (Stanford Research Institute, then) and thereafter headed the IMES labs at ETH Zurich. Joe is also a trained psychotherapist and a founder of the Institute of Process Work. He is an author of 4 books on the subject. Joe’s extensive research and engineering skills form the technical core of the Rheonics’ products and services.

Dr. Sunil Kumar

Chief Executive Officer, Rheonics

Sunil Kumar has extensive experience in the sensors and energy sector, having worked in a variety of roles in engineering and research in his early career. Most recently Sunil worked at Baker Hughes where he led global engineering for drilling Services. Sunil founded companies in US and UK that successfully commercialized innovative products. He graduated with Bachelors in Aerospace from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, Masters in Mechanical engineering from University of California, Irvine and Ph.D in Electrical engineering from Imperial College, London where he developed the Seis-SP seismometer that is part of the main payload for the NASA Insight mission to Mars. He is a prolific inventor with over 25 patents and multiple peer reviewed papers. Sunil’s vision of creating sensors for fluid property measurement that revolutionizes in-line process monitoring, control and optimization serves as the charter for rheonics.