Application of Balanced Mix Design Methodology to Optimize Surface Mixes with High-RAP Content

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title




The most common use of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) is in the lower layers of a pavement structure, where it has been proven as a valid substitute for virgin materials. The use of RAP in surface mixes is more limited, since a major concern is that the high-RAP mixes may not perform as well as traditional mixes. To reduce risks or compromised performance, the use of RAP has commonly been controlled by specifications that limit the allowed amount of recycled material in the mixes. However, the ability to include greater quantities of RAP in the surface mix while maintaining a satisfying field performance would result in potential cost savings for the agencies and environmental savings for the public. The main purpose of this research was to produce highly recycled surface mixes capable of performing well in the field, verify the performance-based design procedure, and analyze the results. To produce the mixes, a balanced mix design (BMD) methodology was used and a comparison with traditional mixes, prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s volumetric mix design, was performed. Through the BMD procedure, which featured the indirect tensile cracking test for evaluating cracking resistance and the Asphalt Pavement Analyzer (APA) for evaluating rutting resistance, it was possible to obtain a highly recycled mix (45% RAP) capable of achieving a better overall laboratory performance than traditional mixes designed using volumetric constraints while resulting in a reduction in production cost.



pavement recycling, RAP, surface mix, balanced mix design, laboratory performance


Meroni, F.; Flintsch, G.W.; Diefenderfer, B.K.; Diefenderfer, S.D. Application of Balanced Mix Design Methodology to Optimize Surface Mixes with High-RAP Content. Materials 2020, 13, 5638.