The NBTC goes global
In early November, the National Binder Technician Certification program hopped the Atlantic. Asphalt Institute’s Technical Training Coordinator Mike Beavin joined John D’Angelo in Doha, Qatar to conduct the first NBTC outside of North America. The program was hosted by International Testing Laboratories.
Doha is currently undergoing what is widely considered the most rapid infrastructure growth in the world. Several multi-billion dollar projects are underway and, with the anticipation of the FIFA World Cup in 2022, there is extra urgency to complete this transformation. Projects include skyscrapers that rival the most elaborate in Dubai, a 35-billion dollar light rail system, a 16-billion dollar airport and a 22-billion dollar overhaul of local road/drainage and major highways.
But with the rapid growth, AI’s sponsors recognized that there must be an excellent understanding and implementation of quality control systems. Qatar recently adopted AASHTO M 332, ‘Performance-Graded Asphalt Binder Using Multiple Stress Creep Recovery (MSCR) Test’ and in the last two years, technicians have been practicing the tests associated with the system. There was no consistent way, however, to evaluate their progress. This was about to change.
Twenty-five individuals attended 1.5 days of lectures covering the M 320 and M 332 specifications. The attendees represented agency, contractors and laboratory technicians and those with the minimum laboratory experience completed written and hands-on examinations.
Like in the U.S., starting in 90s with the NETTCP program and then in 2008 when that program was brought to the rest of the U.S. by the NBTC, the Doha course represented a serious effort by industry and agency to reduce testing variability. Technicians in the U.S., where the PG system and MSCR test were developed, have had years to become familiar with the concepts and techniques. In fact, over three hundred technicians currently hold NBTC/NETTCP certification.
Since 2008, the pass rate has increased from under 50 percent to over 85 percent as word spread that these exams were no-kidding evaluations of proficiency. Doha candidates that passed the exams would represent the first NBTC certified technicians in the region. Growing pains were inevitable. So, how did it go?
Great news. Two technicians, Jean Khnaizer with ITL and Banji Ibikunle Oluwangbemi (Bemi) with the Arab Center for Engineering Studies (ACES) exceeded the minimum scores. Asphalt Institute would like to welcome them as the first NBTC certified technicians in the Middle East.
We know Jean and Bemi will represent the program well and positively influence the quality of QC/QA testing.
- Mike Beavin
Product review: Brookfield Rotational Rheometer DV3T
In our first 2015 issue, this quarter’s tech tip will be a brief review/recommendation for some new lab equipment that the Asphalt Institute recently acquired.
Christmas came early this year in November, in the form of two brand new rotational rheometers. Anytime we find new equipment that particularly tickles our fancy, we like to share that information with the Binder Technician community, and the Brookfield DV3T is no exception.
While we were plenty happy with the Brookfield Rotational viscometers that we were using, the Brookfield II and III, we had been using them for quite some time and felt it was time to take a closer look at some of Brookfield’s newer models. Now before I start bragging on the DV3T, I want to make it very clear that this is NOT
an advertisement for Brookfield. AI is not being compensated for this and additionally we are NOT downgrading any other rotational rheometer/viscometer manufacturers out there.
With that being said, we are very happy with the new addition to our laboratory family. While there are a ton of features that I could speak in-depth about I’ll stick to a few key points that we find particularly cool.
favorite thing about the DV3T is the ease and ability to program multiple temperature rotational readings. I don’t know about you all, but here at AI we often run multi-temperature rotational viscosities, and they can really throw a monkey wrench into multi-tasking. With the DV3T, you simply set your temperatures, run the test, and come back when the test is done, as the device has automatically recorded your numbers at the specified target temperatures. For those of you unfamiliar with the multi-temp procedure, this is very helpful on a busy day where you are running around the lab trying to do a million things at once. It is always nice to have one less thing to think about and one less timer going off!
Another really cool feature is the 7-inch touch screen display that really simplifies all the steps leading up to the running of the test. Not that the earlier models were confusing, but the ease of the step-by-step instruction, makes the navigation of the interface quite simple.
“New rheometers represent the most advanced capability in the worldwide market for viscosity and yield stress measurement,” said Bob McGregor, general manager of marketing at Brookfield Engineering Laboratories. “Ease of use is facilitated by new touch screen interface, which has become the standard thanks to the market proliferation of everyday hand held devices, such as smart phones, iPads, etc."
Here is a list
of some of the features and benefits of the DV3T.
- Madison Pohl, Asphalt Institute Asphalt Materials Technician
Nicole Corbin, Marketing and Seminar Coordinator, Asphalt Institute
Nicole is our newest team member at the Asphalt Institute. She is a 2013 graduate of the University of Kentucky with a degree in Human Communications.
Nicole's role with NBTC is multi-dimensional. She acts as registrar for each class, coordinates class meals while NBTC students are on campus, prepares the materials for each student (MS-25 manual, handouts, etc.) and helps manage the NBTC official badges.
A native of Bardstown, Kentucky, Nicole is married to Steve and they share their Lexington, Kentucky home with their dogs Gracie and Stuart. If you have questions about NBTC or recertifications you can email her
or call her at 859-288-4967.