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Comprehensive Evaluation of Low Temperature Fracture Indices for Asphalt Mixtures

Yuefeng Zhu, Eshan V. Dave, Reyhaneh Rahbar-Rastegar, Jo Sias Daniel, Adam Zofka


For performance based specifications and design processes, a number of cracking related index parameters have been proposed for asphalt mixtures in recent years. A number of these parameters have been developed to utilize results from fracture tests. This study conducted a comprehensive evaluation of various fracture index parameters including fracture energy, Illinois flexibility index, stress intensity factor and toughness index. Over 200 tests from 61 distinct test data sets representing 21 asphalt mixtures are included. The focus of this study is on low temperature cracking and all indices were evaluated using test results from the disk shaped compact tension (DCT) fracture tests conducted at low temperatures. The objective of this study was to determine if there is a relationship between various fracture index parameters as well as to determine typical measurement variability associated with each parameter. Comparisons were made between different indices and correlations were determined for the mix rankings provided by individual indices. The results indicate that fracture energy successfully captured the mix rankings and showed strong correlation with other indices. In order to better capture post-peak softening behavior of asphalt mixtures the flexibility and toughness indices have been utilized, however these parameters were found to have high variability. A new index called fracture strain tolerance (FST) has been proposed that was shown to provide the same level of distinction between mixtures as the flexibility and toughness indices while having considerably lower variability. Finally, several areas were identified for future extension of this research.

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