Development of paint stripe testing protocol

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Description

Nighttime visibility of pavement markings is provided by glass beads embedded into the striping surface. The glass beads take light from the vehicle headlamps and reflect it back to the

Nighttime visibility of pavement markings is provided by glass beads embedded into the striping surface. The glass beads take light from the vehicle headlamps and reflect it back to the driver. This phenomenon is known as retroreflection. Literature suggests that the amount of the bead embedded into the striping surface has a profound impact on the intensity of the retroreflected light. In order to gain insight into how the glass beads provide retroreflection, an experiment was carried out to produce paint stripes with glass beads and measure the retroreflection. Samples were created at various application rates and embedment depths, in an attempt to verify the optimal embedment and observe the effect of application rate on retroreflection. The experiment was conducted using large, airport quality beads and small, road quality beads. Image analysis was used to calculate the degree to which beads were embedded and in an attempt to quantify bead distribution on the stripe surface. The results from the large beads showed that retroreflection was maximized when the beads were embedded approximately seventy percent by bead volume. The results also showed that as the application rate increased, the retroreflection increased, up to a point and then decreased. A model was developed to estimate the retroreflectivity given the amount of beads, bead spacing, and distribution of bead embedment. Results from the small beads were less conclusive, but did demonstrate that the larger beads are better at providing retroreflection. Avenues for future work in this area were identified as the experiment was conducted.