Performance-Engineered Mixtures (PEM)
We have traditionally accepted concrete based on measurements like strength, slump, and air. These measurements, in their current form, have very limited correlation to future performance. However, recent developments in concrete testing technologies have yielded methods that are better predictors of long-term performance.
It is the goal of the PEM Transportation Pooled Fund—TPF-5(368): Performance-Engineered Concrete Paving Mixtures—to bring these newer technologies to state agencies and to assist states in adoption of the test methods that will help them deliver on the promise of concrete durability. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), 19 state departments of transportation, and 4 national associations representing the concrete paving industry have come together to fund this project. It is a coalition of federal, state, and industry leaders dedicated to maximizing pavement performance.
What defines the PEM approach to concrete paving? What benefits does the PEM approach provide agencies and contractors? How have advancements in PEM continued expanding these benefits? View the following webinar videos to find out.
- Advancements In Performance-Engineered Mixtures (PEM) (Taylor & Praul–2021)—Slides / Q&A
- PEM and Reduced-Cement Paving Mixes in Iowa (Hanson & King–2021)—Slides
- Durable Concrete in a Low-Ash World (Gross & King–2020)—Slides
About the PEM Project
The PEM project is broken down into the following:
- Implementing what we know: This task is intended to provide support to study participants with implementation of performance-engineered paving mixtures within their states. Implementation support includes education, training, and project-level assistance.
- Performance monitoring and specification refinement: This task will provide field performance data for use in making decisions on specification limits in the areas of salt damage, transport, and freeze-thaw damage.
- Measuring and relating early-age concrete properties to performance: This task will build upon the foundational work in measurement technologies done to date to design and control concrete pavement mixtures around key engineering properties. It is planned that work under this task will address improved testing methods for increased accuracy and reduced cost.
PEM Test Methods
Guidance for test methods falling under the PEM umbrella that may be new to many agencies, contractors, testing labs, and consultants is provided below as follows:
PEM Test for Strength
PEM Tests for Workability
Vibrating Kelly Ball (VKelly) Test
PEM Test for Cold Weather (Freeze-Thaw Durability)
Super Air Meter (SAM) Test
PEM Test for Oxychloride
Oxychloride Expansion Test (via Low Temperature Differential Scanning Calorimetry/LT-DSC)
PEM Test for Transport
Resistivity/Formation Factor Test
Additional Related Videos
- Oregon State University’s Performance-Engineered Concrete Mixtures Recorded Video Series
- Tyler Ley’s YouTube Channel
PEM Project Information
- Performance-Engineered Concrete Paving Mixtures (PEM): Delivering Concrete to Survive the Environment (Slides–June 2018)
- Developing a Quality Assurance Program for Implementing Performance-Engineered Mixtures (PEM) for Concrete Pavements (MAP Brief–July 2017)
- Performance-Engineered Mixtures (PEM) for Concrete Pavements (MAP Brief–April 2017)
- Performance-Engineered Mixtures (PEM) Program Overview (Brochure–2017)
Shadow Project Reports
- North Carolina MCT Report (September 2020)
- North Carolina DOT PEM Demonstration Project Report (May 2020)
- Minnesota DOT PEM Demonstration Project Report (April 2021)
- Minnesota DOT PEM Demonstration Project Report (April 2020)
- Minnesota MCT Report (July 2018)
- PEM State Specification Review
- AASHTO TP 135 – Total Pore Volume in Hardened Concrete Using Vacuum Saturation
- AASHTO TP 136 – Degree of Saturation of Hydraulic-Cement Concrete
Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) Meeting Notes
Regional Meeting Notes
PEM Project Sponsors
- Iowa (lead agency)
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Dakota