Evaluation of healing in asphalt binders using dynamic shear rheometer and molecular modeling techniques
Bommavaram, Ramamohan Reddy
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A self-healing material has the inherent ability to partially reverse damage such as crack formation that might have occurred during its service. Significant evidence exists in the literature to indicate that asphalt binder is a self-healing material. It is also well known that healing has a substantial affect on the performance of asphalt mixtures and consequently on the serviceable life of asphalt pavements. For example, shift factors from laboratory experimental data to field observed data show that laboratory data underpredict field observations. There is a need to understand the mechanisms that are responsible for healing in asphalt binders as well as to develop test methods that can be used to determine properties related to these mechanisms. This thesis presents details and findings from a two-part study that addresses each one of these two aspects. In the first part of this study, a test method based on the use of a Dynamic Shear Rheometer (DSR) was developed to determine the parameters of characteristic healing function of asphalt binders. In the second part of this study, Molecular Modeling (MM) techniques were used to determine the interrelationship between molecular structure, surface free energy, self diffusivity, and other healing properties of asphalt binders.The healing characteristic equation parameter (Ro) which represents the instantaneous healing nature of the asphalt binders is analogous to surface energy in terms of effect on healing in asphalt binders. Ro values for three asphalt binders AAM, AAD and ABD are calculated and compared with the surface energy values available from the literature. It was observed that the Ro values are proportional to surface energy values. Surface energy values for five asphalt binders AAM, AAD, AAB, AAG and AAF are calculated using MM method based on SHRP representative molecules. These values were observed to be proportional to the surface energy values from literature. Bulk and surface diffusion coefficients of asphalt molecules are calculated using MM method. Parametric analysis was done to determine the effect of chemical structure of asphalt on its diffusion properties. It was observed that the higher percentage of saturates in the chemical structure results into higher diffusion coefficients.