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Thread: Night Shift

  1. #61

    Default Re: Night Shift

    Glad the photos work for you mr pond.

    Yeah, that contrast of tint was a great thing to see Jean-Luc.

    Last night the Bones got the most use. Sometimes to look for eyes in the distance while taking a nature call break. Other times just to see the pavement exposed after the asphalt eater had done its thing and sweepers had cleaned off the leftover crumbs. I have to decide if what they left needs a trim or if pavement remaining needs re-enforcement. The triple beam of the Bones meant I could see potential problems at a distance by the hot spot, the middle beam shows me things up close without being too bright and the broad spill keeps me from getting run over.

    Tonight we move back to a place where the top surface of pavement was removed to cover it up with an experimental asphalt mix. Being the mixture is an experiment means lots of bosses will be around. If all goes well lots of office dwellers will be patting each other on the back. If not "who was the inspector?" will be the topic of discussion in their offices tomorrow. Luckily this time I'm low guy on the totum pole.

    My daily supervisor is a young, up and comer so he will be facing a big test tonight. He will be interviewed by folks with PhD's, carrying clip boards and cameras. Part of me misses all that attention as I've been in his shoes a dozen times. Part of me thinks 'better you than me kid's and part of me thinks "which flashlight will be best tonight?" I'll focus on the third option. In the meantime I will present my kid boss an NIP Energizer hardcase so he won't embarass himself by trying to light an area with a celphone that some PhD wants to see
    Last edited by bykfixer; 09-15-2020 at 02:02 PM.
    John 3:16

  2. #62
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    Default Re: Night Shift

    Me thinks Flood.. If possible hi-cri so all the clip board holders can view in HD?

  3. #63

    Default Re: Night Shift

    As luck would have it KG the guru that came to the project has a ring of LED's that wrap around his hard hat. He was a like a walking light bulb. A cool white bulb. So my little honeycomb lens on my head lamp was not needed when I was within 25 feet from the human lamp. I did have a round head 6P with me. One with a group buy M361w.

    So when my kid boss and the other helper heard scientists were coming to our project they "found" reasons to not be around. Well me being me I welcomed the chance to hang out with the one person who did come out to the job. He was one of those guys who can look left and explain why heat rises and a scientist understands the geek speak, turn and look at me and have me understanding as well. So I bombarded the guy with questions about the materials we use to build roads. Some about how things the folks he works with began using 15-20 years ago. Others about what they have on their roster for the future.

    He told me a story of how they invented pavement using ground up glass in it and how it glitters. He said "our current president" paid the city he used to live in to pave the road in front of his hotel with it as a way to attract high end guests who see the roadway from their balconey twinkle when cars drove past. Apparently there are asphalt roads in America with shingles from houses, glass, rubber from tires, slag from metal factories, coal, shredded newspaper, water bottles, and lots of other waste products we never consider where it goes when the recycle truck picks it up from our homes.

    The product I was watching was a new way of blending recycled asphalt into new asphalt and how it will hold up under lots of heavy trucks going over it. They picked a country road with a miniscule amount of structure that gets extreme loads over it in order to almost torture the new pavement to see how it holds up in the worst conditions. So I was observing pavement history in the making (again). See, I watched this same road get paved with a new idea about 15 years ago. A pavement they said they hoped would last 5 years (back then) that lasted 15 and really wasn't that bad when we got here.

    Between the walking light bulb, lighting on the equipment and my headlamp I really did not need a flashlight this night.


    To the right is the walking light bulb.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 09-16-2020 at 12:30 AM.
    John 3:16

  4. #64
    Enlightened Jean-Luc Descarte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Night Shift

    Beautiful! Guys that know how to explain things to anyone no matter their education level are true masters of the craft. Even if you got no use of your lights, that sounded like a great night.

    If you enjoyed your brilliant pal's explanations, you may like the Practical Engineering channel on YouTube. The host, Grady, is amazing at making complex topics easier to understand, including the recyclability of asphalt, the design of roads, and how potholes form and expand.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMO...42UUQIdVoKwjlQ
    Last edited by Jean-Luc Descarte; 09-16-2020 at 05:27 AM. Reason: I hate typos

  5. #65

    Default Re: Night Shift

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    See, I watched this same road get paved with a new idea about 15 years ago. A pavement they said they hoped would last 5 years (back then) that lasted 15 and really wasn't that bad when we got here.
    Been subscribed and lurking in this thread for some time. Very interesting. Happy customer. Some speculation and conjecture to follow.

    bykfixer, I know you're in Virginia, and this is key. I used to live in Western PA outside Pittsburgh, and travelled the PA Turnpike (first in the nation) from time to time. Roads up there are, or at least were, horrible (I think in the last 10 years the PA Turnpike has mostly been fixed). It is not necessarily the colder winters and more frozen precipitation, but rather the salt PennDOT throws down, that destroys the roads. I have seen some severe snow storms in Virginia (, and one that comes to mind is the Winter of 2001. Another is the Storm of the Century, during which I was in the mountains in Blacksburg with a 240 wagon. Another is a storm in Winter 2003, I was outside Blacksburg in McCoy, but commuting 15mi to Dublin at 4AM to sling packages for the UPS hub there... could not have made it without the pre-Chrystler 4WD Cherokee I was lucky to have. Snow so deep I only see the tops of the road signs. Commute that morning was like skippering a small boat on choppy water, up and down, up and down.). But generally, in the lower elevation flat eastern side of Virginia, and thanks to proximity to the Bay, it seems to snow half an inch here once or twice a Winter, and unless it snowed at night, that snow is gone within 6 hours. No reason to salt, so roads here benefit and last longer.

    Here's the conjecture and skew to your post. Virginia has built some beautiful 4 lane highways and bridges (like in West Point) deep into the sticks where it doesn't seem the population warrants such a thing. They are not new (well, the West Point bridges are reasonably new). I believe the 4 lane highways into the sticks must have been made during an economy boom period, and have just lasted and lasted because the traffic is really low, and the Virginia winters are mild, so hardly any salt gets spread on them, if ever, no need. And salt may not be available in Virginia, because road authorities do not stock up.

    I really upset some born here friends when I observed that when it snows during the day here, half an inch, you see pickup after pickup in ditches along these rural highways, even 4WD pickups. The implication they picked up, that I am not sure I consciously intended, is that Virginia drivers can't drive in even a dusting of snow. The schools all close here when there's a half inch of snow. Up north, kids are lucky to see a 1 hour delay if there's 6 feet of snow, and usually none. What I really meant is that Virginia does not have the winter infrastructure or winter road support that you'll see in the northern states, because generally, there is no need.

    But fwiw, I learned to drive in a standard transmission RWD vehicle in the snow. FWD and AWD and 4WD and automatic transmissions makes slick travel effortless for me. But of course... not on ice, just on slick roads. You can't drive on ice. I was once completely stopped, at a standstill, at a stop sign, and I saw the ice ahead and I was considering what to do, when the wind pushed my Volvo 240 forward into the ice... brakes locked... madly turning the steering wheel back and forth (which sometimes works). I had time to put it in reverse, nothing, wheels spinning... slid 300 feet into a parked beautiful brand new dual cab pickup. I could not believe it happened. Not a good day.

    Anyway, everyone likes the wide tires, better summer traction, better cornering, tires stick to dry roads. But, though it seems counter intuitive, you need skinnier tires for snow, so there is more pressure in a smaller area to push the tires through the snow to the road underneath. Virginia drivers probably will sometimes not get all weather tires, and go for the cooler looking wider wheel base. No good in snow. Wide knobby tires are for sand, perhaps offroad, too. Cool as hell looking, but a bad choice. Vanity. Go all weather, and don't get the cheapest option. There is no substitute for good tires. They are everything.

    tl;dr, Virginia roads last because of the milder winters, and you can drive on snow if you know how, but you can't drive on ice without proper studded tires (which, btw, damage and destroy the road).

    P.S. I know you can rent and race 911's on ice somewhere, sounds like hella fun, but it would be impossible without the proper tires.
    Last edited by chillinn; 09-16-2020 at 08:02 AM.

  6. #66

    Default Re: Night Shift

    Freeze thaw cycles play a big part in the PA road system. Lots of people I have run across over the years have said "it's the salts they use" but salt is salt everywhere. Some places in PA have 2 freeze thaw cycles in a 24 hour period for months at a time where other states have one or less.

    Actually one of the reasons the scientists picked the asphalt mix at the road I was watching was because it is in an area of the US that gets frequent freeze thaw cycles. VA is a test pit for the FEDS a lot a well and they really like using an area between Charlottsville and Richmond due to the number of freeze thaw cycles compared to other parts of the state. They throw $ at the VA Research Council and tell them "we are looking for X Y and Z characteristics in a pavement". The research council in turn reaches out to contractors, both large and small for input on how they can change the actual production and placement of the materials.

    Using up the mountains of recycled asphalt for example. Can it be used for roadway base since it is flexible, therefore resists the freeze thaw cycles better than gravels? Yet what "specialized" equipment has to be invented versus using what everybody already has? Specialized equipment means only the big rich contractor can compete for the business since they have the money to buy this special equipment.

    It's a very complicated situation, building roads. Federal input ensures everybody has a chance to compete. Or at least that is the intent. One year I worked with an up and coming contractor who did a lot of guinea pig work for the research council while some new ideas were being tried out. Another history in the making project where I had the pleasure of over seeing the quality control.

    I'll check out that channel Jean Luc. Tonight my assignment is going to be like watching grass grow so I should have some spare time. Being low guy on the totum pole I go where there is a space that needs filling. Tonight they need a striping monitor. I will monitor a couple of quality control checks at first and sign some documents before going home. Coffee is my friend during those situations.

    Tonight I'll carry my E2D with warm Tana and a throwey cool beam number made by SOG (DE-05).
    John 3:16

  7. #67

    Default Re: Night Shift

    I think the salt camp isn't suggesting salt, itself, does much of anything to roads, but that salt is hard and abrasive, and after it works and thaws the snow and ice, it hangs out on the road until pushed to the side. Until then, tires rolling over salt is (again, conjecture) pitting the road, little pits fill with water, water freezes and expands, opening the pits into little potholes, and enough cycles of that, bigger potholes. Salt just does the little pits, and water freezing does the rest. I have seen snow plows in VA, but never a salt truck. I'm sure there must be some, but in PA in winter after snow, they're pretty common. So are pot holes. Coincidence? Ok, ok... correlation is not causation.

  8. #68

    Default Re: Night Shift

    In VA the sand that sprays from snow plows has about 25% salt. And bridges get pure salt at times depending on temperature. Below a certain temp salt actually hardens the frozen liquids.
    I drove a plow for 15 years before becoming a consultant.

    Salt piles are stored in giant sheds and mixed in with the sand piles whenever snow is predicted. PA used to use slag and cinders for traction, which is way more abrasive than sand due to sand particles being polished over time. Slag and cinders are more flat faced. But with industries drying up in PA the slag and cinder waste may not be as available as it once was. But it's the rapid expansion and contraction during freeze cycles is what accelarates the degradation of pavement surfaces. Especially asphalts.
    John 3:16

  9. #69
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    Default Re: Night Shift

    I didn’t know there were parts of Virginia without salt trucks. Our plows even run the sand/salt here
    Big butnotsomuch-burly

  10. #70
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    Default Re: Night Shift

    Caltrans uses a salt brine water mixture. Supposedly easier on the environment but still harsh to your vehicles

    What ever happened to using retired scrap tires ground and added to asphalt mixture.. scrapped the idea?

  11. #71

    Default Re: Night Shift

    I asked the walking light bulb that very question KG.

    A met an inspector from San Diego while working in North Carolina who said in Cali you guys use rubber tire rollers since the rock in the asphalt mixture is pulverized when using vibrating steel drums like we do. He said out your way the heated rubber in the oil stuck to the rubber tires real bad so Cali got away from it. Now it seems back then the rubber was not ground up all that fine like it is now. So you may see it resume in the future out west.

    Here in my state the walking light bulb said that the process of mixing rubber with liquid asphalt had to be done at high heat. And that kept resulting in catastrophic fires of asphalt plants. After a few major fires the industry said "screw that" and stopped using it. He said a new process of finely grinding the rubber into a powder, mixing it into the liquid asphalt prior to mixing it with the sand and gravel shows promise and that a few roads in the mountains here already have some pavements with it including a section of an east west truck route called I-81. He said a 3 mile strip done 5 years ago is holding up better than they had hoped using a blending system California has used for decades. It has a foaming liquid added that allows things to be blended at much lower temperatures.

    I think I'll start a thread in the off topic area to discuss roadways, recycling, snow removal etc. That way this one can focus on lighting tools in light pollution while the other thread can meander around the roadway topic like a winding country road. I'd also like to bring up a topic there about kinder gentler cleaning products being used to keep giant Tonka toys free of build up from grimes, dirt, concrete and petroleum such as tar.
    https://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...36#post5413536

    Right now I'm back on Main St USA where parking lot lights bombard the area with pinks, oranges, yellows and cool whites that cast a million shadows on the work taking place. Right now my blue and white shirt appears orange and dark something or other. Tint snobs would suffer PTSD in these conditions, and it's PWM purgetory. lol.


    Ugh!!


    Double UGH!!
    Last edited by bykfixer; 09-16-2020 at 06:26 PM.
    John 3:16

  12. #72
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    Default Re: Night Shift

    car lot?

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    Right now I'm back on Main St USA where parking lot lights bombard the area with pinks, oranges, yellows and cool whites that cast a million shadows on the work taking place. Right now my blue and white shirt appears orange and dark something or other. Tint snobs would suffer PTSD in these conditions, and it's PWM purgetory. lol.


    Ugh!!


    Double UGH!!

  13. #73

    Default Re: Night Shift

    To the right is a car lot. To the right is a furniture store chain. In the distance a gas station convenience store.

    Will the stripes and arrows reflect well? This is where tint and all that isn't really all that important. It's what will it look like to halogen headlights. So I whipped out a light and used it at about the angle of an autombile headlights. I was looking for dark places in the reflective beads. Usually this contractor does a good job, but my job is to check.


    The native light at a given location.


    What a car sees.
    Streaks in the photo are showing how humid the air is a few hours before the arrival of what remains of hurricane Sally. Water droplets being tossed around by a light breeze.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 09-17-2020 at 01:06 AM.
    John 3:16

  14. #74

    Default Re: Night Shift

    Tonights assignment is watching reflector installation. The dept of transportation is trying out a new reflector to go between stripes on a new pavement. No brighter than before but instead of metal housing they are polyester. They stay in place pretty good, but on the occasion one does break free and become air born, instead of being a flying brick the new polyester ones would be like a flying empty soda can. Scare the crap out of you still but not climb into your automobile.

    Brb, phone ringing. It was the boss.

    So a stripe has been placed and every other skip line gets a reflector between it.


    Skip line before reflector placed.

    The a truck with a specialized set of grinders grinds a 4 foot long cut, then a 6" long by 1" deep groove then another 4 foot long groove is cut. The 4 foot long grooves start out at pavement grade and slope down to the deep part, then back up. That allows the reflector to set below the pavement so that snow plows slide over it. The tapered depths allow your headlights to hit the reflector.


    The grinder truck

    Then a worker places a bit of expoxy into the 1" hole, then squashes a reflector down into the epoxy glue.


    The worker pushes down on the reflector with his boot.

    After that they move to the next one. The process takes about one minute total. Yet each lane gets hundreds before the shift is over. This lane got 344.


    The tiny dot was lit by my throwey flashlight for this photo.

    The reflectors don't make as much impact on a new dark black pavement with shiney new stripes. But in a few years when the pavement has faded to a light gray and the stripes are dull the reflectors are like lights on an airstrip at night, worth their weight in gold. Especially in the rain.

    My flashlight comes in handy for checking the depth of the groove, to ensure the epoxy is placed on a dust free surface and to double check that the reflector was placed in the correct direction since the back side has a red reflector to alert motorists driving on the wrong side of the road that they are……
    Last edited by bykfixer; Yesterday at 01:49 AM.
    John 3:16

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