Fatigue resistance of hot-mix asphalt concrete (HMAC) mixtures using the calibrated mechanistic with surface energy (CMSE) measurements approach
Ofori-Abebresse, Edward Kwame
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Fatigue cracking is one of the fundamental distresses that occur in the life of a Hot Mix Asphalt Concrete (HMAC) pavement. This load induced distress leads to structural collapse of the entire pavement ultimately and can only be remedied by rehabilitation. There is the need, therefore, for a total understanding of the phenomenon to be able to counter its occurrence. The fatigue resistance of hot mix asphalt concrete (HMAC) has been estimated using approaches ranging from empirical methods to mechanistic-empirical methods to purely mechanistic methods. A continuum mechanics based approach called the Calibrated Mechanistic with Surface Energy (CMSE) measurements was developed at Texas A&M University and recommended after comparison with other approaches in predicting fatigue lives of two Texas HMAC mixtures. The CMSE approach which includes fundamental material properties such as fracture, aging, healing, and anisotropy has been shown to effectively model the parameters that affect the performance of HMAC pavements exposed to repetitive traffic loads. Polymer modified asphalt (PMA) improves pavement performance by providing additional resistance to the primary distresses in flexible pavements, including permanent deformation or rutting, thermal cracking, and fatigue cracking. In this research, the CMSE approach was utilized to estimate the fatigue resistance of HMAC fabricated with asphalts modified with Styrene-butadiene-Styrene (SBS) co-block polymer. These HMAC mixtures were fabricated from materials used on three different road sections in Texas and one test pavement in Minnesota. The CMSE approach was validated as an effective approach for estimating the fatigue resistance of HMAC mixtures with PMA. The effect of oxidative aging on the fatigue resistance of the HMAC mixtures was also verified. Oxidative aging of the mixtures resulted in a corresponding decrease in mixture fatigue resistance. In addition, for two HMAC mixtures with the same binder content and aggregate gradation, the mixture with the softer of the two Performance Grade (PG) binders exhibited greater fatigue resistance. The use of the Utility Theory revealed the possible effects of aggregate geometric properties on the HMAC mixture properties and consequently on their fatigue resistance.