Determining the Healing Potential of Asphalt Concrete Mixtures–A Pragmatic Approach
Most design methods for pavements use a factor explaining the difference between pavement life predictions from design models and performance in the road . Part of this correction factor is healing, the natural capacity of asphalt concrete to recover in rest periods, which generally are not present in laboratory fatigue tests in order to limit the test time. In the design method used for Dutch highways  a shift factor of 4 is traditionally used. This factor is based on in-practice behaviour of pavements with mixes using straight run bitumen of limited softness (mostly 40/60 and 70/100 pen bitumen). Currently many developments regarding polymer and chemical modification and the use of hard binders raise questions about the value of the shift factor for these mixtures as well as questions about how much of this factor is actually related to the healing potential of the mixes.
In the project described in this paper it is investigated whether the four point bending test used to assess the fatigue resistance in the European standard can be used in a discontinuous way to determine the healing capacity of a mix. In order to do this, a set of continuous and discontinuous tests was performed on two mixes that deviate only in the softness of their binder, 70/100 or 10/20. Although the approach appears promising in its simplicity and the consistency of the results, finding the correct interpretation remains difficult and may require linking the pragmatic with more fundamental understanding of the mechanism behind healing.
KeywordsFatigue Life Asphalt Concrete Healing Factor Load Repetition Loading Period
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