Investigation of Asphalt Mixtures Compaction using a Novel Approach based on Tribology

Principal Investigator(s):

Mihai Marasteanu, Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project summary:

Compaction is one of the most important factors that affects the durability of asphalt pavements. Many studies have been focused on developing methods to improve compaction. Previously, the authors found that the addition of small percentages of graphite nanoplatelets (GNPs) significantly increased the compactability of asphalt mixture. Traditional viscosity test results showed that the increase in compactability was not a result of viscosity reduction, which implies that other mechanisms are responsible for the increase in compactability of GNP-modified mixtures. This project investigated the lubricating behavior of the binder. A new test method, referred to as a tribological test, was conducted to evaluate the lubricating behavior of binders modified with different percentages of GNP (0, 3, and 6 percent). To better simulate the roughness of the aggregate surface, the tribological fixture was modified using textured contact surfaces instead of smooth ones. The results of rough surface tribological tests showed that the addition of GNPs increased the lubrication behavior of the thin film binder between rough surfaces. It was hypothesized that the increase in compactability could be attributed to the increase in the lubricating behavior of the binder due to the addition of GNP.

Project details: