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A new short-term aging model for asphalt binders based on rheological activation energy


Short-term aging of asphalt binders is an inevitable phenomenon during mix production and laydown that significantly affects the rheological properties of asphalt binders and further contributes to the deterioration of pavement performance. This paper presents a new short-term aging model for asphalt binders. The new model focuses on the binder viscosity as the target property and incorporates the rheological activation energy for the model development. It consists of four model coefficients and two essential binder specific inputs (i.e. viscosity and rheological activation energy of the unaged asphalt binder). The rheological activation energy is calculated from the conventional properties of unaged asphalt binders like penetration, kinematic viscosity, and absolute viscosity measured at various temperatures or from the known Viscosity Temperature Susceptibility parameters (i.e. “A-VTS” values) of unaged asphalt binders. The global model coefficients are determined using data extracted from the long-term pavement performance database. The short-term aging is verified to increase the rheological activation energy of the asphalt binder to a certain amount which is linearly proportional to that of the unaged binder. It is also found that the new model delivers more accurate viscosity prediction capabilities over the existing binder aging model. The new model is then validated through data collected from multiple independent data sources. The validation results indicate that the new model provides fairly accurate predictions in both laboratory and field short-term aging. Thus, it can be concluded that the new model is a good candidate for the short-term aging prediction.

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Correspondence to Derun Zhang.

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Appendix: Data collection from long-term pavement performance (LTPP) database

Appendix: Data collection from long-term pavement performance (LTPP) database

Data used in this study for the model development were collected from the long-term pavement performance (LTPP) online database, which included the following conventional properties for both the unaged and RTFO (or TFO) aged asphalt binders:

  • Penetration at 25 °C;

  • Absolute viscosity at 60 °C; and

  • Kinematic viscosity at 135 °C.

A number of 208 pavement sections from the United States and Canada including 446 qualifying viscosity data records were finally collected, which covered various types of asphalt binder that were used for different asphalt layers, such as AC-20/Pen 120-150/AR-1000 graded virgin asphalt binders, and modified asphalt binders using natural latex, reclaimed rubber, block copolymer, etc. as modifiers. According to the climate criterion, the collected pavement sections are classified into four different climate zones, namely the Wet No-Freeze (WNF), Wet-Freeze (WF), Dry No-Freeze (DNF), and Dry-Freeze (DF) zone. An overview of distribution of all the pavement sections selected in different climate zones is given in Fig. 7. The number of pavement sections in each climate zone is summarized in Table 4, while the raw data that are used for the model development are listed in Table 5.

Fig. 7

Distribution of the selected pavement sections from LTPP database [11]

Table 4 Number of pavement sections in different climate zones
Table 5 Data collected for the new short-term aging model development

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Zhang, D., Birgisson, B., Luo, X. et al. A new short-term aging model for asphalt binders based on rheological activation energy. Mater Struct 52, 68 (2019).

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  • Short-term aging
  • Viscosity
  • Rheological activation energy
  • Asphalt binder