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Asphalt Mixtures Containing RAS and/or RAP: Relationships Amongst Binder Composition Analysis and Mixture Low Temperature Cracking Performance



As the price of asphalt binder continues to rise, state agencies are looking for sustainable ways to reduce the cost of asphalt pavements without compromising performance. One such alternative is the use of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) and/or recycled asphalt shingle (RAS) to replace virgin binders and aggregates in asphalt mixtures. To better understand low-temperature cracking resistance of asphalt mixtures containing RAP and/or RAS, 11 asphalt mixtures with various combinations of RAP, RAS, and recycling agent were evaluated. Thermal stress restrained specimen test (TSRST) was performed to evaluate asphalt mixtures’ low-temperature cracking resistance. Saturate-aromatic-resin-asphaltenes (SARA), gel-permeation chromatography (GPC), and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) were conducted on extracted binders from the 11 corresponding mixtures for analyzing the molecular compositions of the asphalt binders. In addition, dynamic shear rheometer (DSR) and bending beam rheometer (BBR) tests were carried out to determine the rheological index (R) and difference in critical temperatures (Tc), respectively. It was consistently observed from the inter-comparisons of test results that the addition of RAS, RAP, and RAs adversely affected the low-temperature properties of both the asphalt binders and mixtures studied herein. Improvement in low-temperature properties of asphalt binder and mixture was observed when a softer virgin asphalt binder (PG 58-28) was used in lieu of the control styrene-butadiene-styrene modified PG 70-22 binder. It was also found that the molecular components fractionated from GPC have better correlations with mixtures’ low-temperature cracking performance parameters compared to that from SARA and FTIR analysis. Further, it was concluded that the use of RAS and RAP in asphalt mixtures increased the larger molecular weight species in asphalt binders (i.e., asphaltenes), which contributes to stiffening of asphalt binder and mixtures at low temperatures and, in turn, impairs the low-temperature cracking resistance of asphalt binders and mixtures.


reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP), recycled asphalt shingles (RAS), gel permeation chromatography (GPC), SARA, low-temperature cracking, thermal stress restrained specimen test (TSRST)Text


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