Optimizing Asphalt Mixture Designs for Low-Volume Roads of Minnesota

Principal Investigator(s):

Manik Barman, Assistant Professor, UMD-Civil Engineering


Project summary:

The state of Minnesota has a large number of low-volume asphalt roads. As the traffic volumes of these roads are usually low, the pavement failure is typically not traffic load related, rather mostly driven by environmental factors such as oxidation, freeze-thaw, and seasonal and daily temperature variations. These environmental factors create block cracking, moisture damage, thermal cracking (transverse cracking) and potholes in low-volume roads. Ironically, the asphalt mixtures for such low-volume roads are usually designed based on a procedure that was actually developed for high volume roads which fails by load-related distresses (e.g., rutting and fatigue cracking). The objective of this proposed research study is to develop a mixture design guideline for producing durable asphalt mixtures for the low-volume roads of Minnesota. The study includes several tasks, such as (i) a literature search and an online survey to gather information on the existing mixture design practices of Minnesota and other nearby cold climate states, (ii) a distress survey on a few selected low-volume roads and collection of field cores to understand typical distresses and field densification of asphalt in the low volume roads, (iii) design and performance testing of various asphalt mixtures, and (iv) development of a guideline on asphalt mixture design for low-volume roads. The study will propose a a??go toa?? mixture design with a recommendation will be made on the range of minimum effective binder content (Pbe).

Project details:

  • Project number: 2020008
  • Start date: 06/2019
  • Project status: Active
  • Research area: Infrastructure