What is Bituminous Testing?

Bituminous testing is an important factor in identifying whether the final performance of laid material is adequate for the life cycle of the wearing course, whether this be a road or car park. Bituminous Testing characterises a material’s viscosity, penetration, softening point, and ductility. This is measured to determine their suitability and to ensure they meet regulatory standards and specifications.

Quality and workmanship of materials are critical to determining compliance with contract specifications and ultimately the end performance of the laid materials, ensuring longevity and reduced maintenance costs.

Core photography and logging

Bituminous Testing Standards

At CTS our expert engineers and technicians are fully accredited specialists ensuring that all Bituminous Testing samples meet specific standards and regulations.

Site Bituminous Testing


Nuclear And PQI Density Meter Surveys (Density And Air Voids)

In-house method

Surface Regularity (Rolling And Transverse Straightedge)

TRRL Supplementary Report 290 / Specification for Highways Works series 700

Sampling Of Delivered And Laid Materials

BS EN 12697-27

Texture And Macrotexture Analysis

BS EN 13036-1

Temperature And Materials Laying Records

BS EN 12697-13

Coring Of Pavement Surfaces

BS EN 12697-27

Rate Of Spread Of Chippings

BS EN 598-1

Skid Resistance (Pendulum)

BS EN 13036-4

Nuclear density testing

CTS also provides laboratory bituminous testing and analysis of materials, either as a standalone service or in conjunction with our site testing services. Bituminous tests can be part of an ongoing pavement project confirming compliance to specifications, as quality checks of one-off or routine samples, or as part of a failure investigation.

Laboratory Bituminous Testing


Binder Content And Aggregate Grading

BS EN 12697-1 & BS EN 12697-2

Maximum Density

BS EN 12697-5

Binder Recovery

BS EN 12697-1 & BS EN 12697-2

Binder Softening Point And Penetration


Hot Sand Test For Adhesivity On Pre-Coated Chipping


Density And Refusal Density, Including Air Voids Of Cored Materials

BS EN 12697-6, BS EN 12697-29

BS EN 12697-8, BS EN 12697-32

Core Logging And Photography

In-house method

Tar Content

In-house method

* For a full list of our UKAS-accredited activities, please visit our Accreditations and Industry Standards 

Measuring a bituminous core

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the tests for bitumen?

A bitumen test is performed to determine the properties of the bitumen, such as penetration and softening point. These tests are to check the material for performance and durability.

What is a core test for asphalt?

Cores are taken from the road construction to establish the make-up of the road and enable the determination of compaction, which is reported as an air void percentage. The cores can then be deconstructed for binder content testing and aggregate gradings.

What is the importance for bitumen adhesion test?

The test between the aggregate and bitumen adhesion will assess the performance of the material and the resistance to distress. The lack of bonding can lead to significant asphalt damage.

What test is used for evaluating consistency of bituminous materials?

A penetration test is performed to measure the consistency of bituminous material. The test measures the depth in tenths of a millimeter to which a standard loaded needle will penetrate vertically into a sample of the material under standard conditions of temperature in 5 seconds. The consistency of bitumen is a measure of its susceptibility to temperature change and resistance to flow, which affects the mixture's ability and resistance to deformation.

What is surface regularity test?

This method ensures that the finished surface is laid to a specified tolerance.

What is a straight edge test?

There are several versions of straight edge tests, from 2m and 3m beams where measurements are taken by hand with a wedge to the rolling straight edge commonly used on carriageways.

What do the basic tests on asphalt materials measure?

Asphalt testing covers many material properties, including stiffness, resistance to deformation, tests on constituent materials, etc.

What is Marshall test on asphalt?

Marshall testing helps to determine the optimal mix design.

Why Choose CTS for Bituminous Testing? 

Whether you require investigation works for existing carriageways or pavements to determine the physical properties, or you’re wanting to examine the quality of freshly laid asphalt and materials when resurfacing a road or motorway our technical staff has extensive experience and expertise within the asphalt industry.

CTS has established a well-earned reputation as one of the leading, national service providers in the UK. We work with regional and national surfacing contractors, treating every project with the same degree of service and professionalism, whether it’s a small housing estate, road, or major highway infrastructure project.

To find out more about our bituminous testing services, please get in touch with a member of the CTS team today, and we’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our services and how we can help you.