Laboratory Tests for Hot-Mix Asphalt Characterization in Virginia
This project reviewed existing laboratory methods for accurately describing the constitutive behavior of the mixes used in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Indirect tensile (IDT) strength, resilient modulus, static creep in the IDT and uniaxial modes, flexural beam fatigue, and dynamic modulus tests were conducted on two typical mixes used in Virginia: SM-9.5A (surface mix) and BM-25.0 (base mix). The tests conducted produced a wealth of data on typical values for the properties of the two mixes studied over a wide range of temperatures and loading frequencies. The results suggest that the IDT strength test is an effective test to characterize the tensile strength of hot-mix asphalt (HMA), especially for thermal cracking evaluation. The resilient modulus test and the static creep test in the IDT setup are practical and simple to perform, but the analysis of the measurements is complicated, and the variability of the results is high. The compressive uniaxial dynamic modulus and the uniaxial static creep tests were found to be simple to conduct and to analyze because of the homogeneous state of stress in the specimen during testing. The flexural fatigue test was time consuming, but the test produces valuable information about the fatigue properties of hot-mix asphalt. The investigation also found good correlations among the IDT strength, resilient modulus, and dynamic modulus results. A variety of tests is recommended for characterizing the mechanistic-empirical pavement analysis and design. These tests would provide the properties needed to characterize the asphalt layers for the pavement analysis and design. The recommended tests are as follows: IDT strength for characterizing HMA susceptibility to thermal cracking, dynamic modulus for characterization of the constitutive behavior of the HMA, uniaxial creep for characterizing permanent deformation characteristics, and flexural fatigue tests to characterize fatigue properties. Materials characterization testing can be a valuable tool in pavement design. The use of mechanistic-empirical modeling can be used to predict the performance of a pavement. With this type of testing and modeling, the materials used in pavements will be of better quality and more resistant to environmental and structural deterioration. A more durable pavement will aid in reducing the frequency and costs associated with maintenance.