Application of surface energy measurements to evaluate moisture susceptibility of asphalt and aggregates
Zollinger, Corey James
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Moisture damage in asphalt mixes can be defined as loss of strength and durability due to the presence of moisture at the binder-aggregate interface (adhesive failure) or within the binder (cohesive failure). This research focuses on the evaluation of the susceptibility of aggregates and asphalts to moisture damage through understanding the micro-mechanisms that influence the adhesive bond between aggregates and asphalt and the cohesive strength and durability of the binder. Moisture damage susceptibility is assessed using surface energy measurements and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA). Surface energy is defined as the energy needed to create a new unit surface area of material in vacuum condition. Surface energy measurements are used to compute the adhesive bond strength between the aggregates and asphalt and cohesive bond strength in the binder. DMA testing is used to evaluate the rate of damage accumulation in asphalt binders and mastics. The DMA applies a cyclic, torsional strain controlled loading to cylindrical asphalt mastics until failure. The DMA results are analyzed using continuum damage mechanics that focuses on separating the energy expended in damaging the material from that associated with viscoelastic deformation. A new approach is developed to analyze the DMA results and calculate the rate of damage. The developed approach is used to evaluate six asphalt mixtures which have performed either well or poorly in the field. The resistance of the field mixes to moisture damage is shown to be related to the calculations of bind energies and the accumulated damage in the DMA.