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.

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 will include education, training, and project-level support.
  • 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 done to date in measurement technologies 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 improved 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
Maturity Test
PEM Tests for Workability
Vibrating Kelly Ball (VKelly) Test

Box 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


PEM Project Information



Shadow Project Reports

New York

North Carolina


South Dakota


Related Information

Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) Meeting Notes

Regional Meeting Notes

PEM Project Sponsors

Federal Sponsor

State Sponsors

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Iowa (lead agency)
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Wisconsin

Industry Sponsors