What is Thermoplastic?
Thermoplastic is a long life road marking material that was first used in the USA in 1958, It is a mixture of glass beads, binder, pigment and filler material. Thermoplastic as its name suggests has to do with heat. Dry thermoplastic compound is generally heated in a thermostatically controlled pre-heater/boiler to a temperature of 350-400°F and agitated continuously until a homogenised liquid is achieved, before transferring to an application vehicle. Applied at this temperature, the thermoplastic melts into the upper surface of the asphalt forming a thermal bond. When applying onto a concrete surface, the use of a tack coat primer is recommended.
Thermoplastic markings are of high quality and excel through improved durability, excellent reflection properties at night and day and in wet conditions. Moreover, thermoplastics can be used to achieve additional security features like delineation with an acoustic and rumbling effect
The thermoplastic mix is heated in trucks before being fed to the application apparatus. Immediately after the thermoplastic has been applied, glass beads are laid onto the hot material so that they embed before the plastic hardens. These beads provide initial retroreflection. As the marking wears during use and the initial beads are lost, the beads mixed with the binder are uncovered, providing long term retroreflectivity. Most thermoplastic is produced in white and yellow colors, but other colors such as red may also be produced.