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Fundamental Properties of Asphalts and Modified Asphalts III

Project Information

Project ID: 
Project Status: 
Start Date: 
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
End Date: 
Monday, July 8, 2013
FHWA Program: 
FHWA Subprogram: 
Pavement and Materials
FHWA Topics: 
Research/Technologies--Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC)
TRT Terms: 
Binders; Warm Mix; Paving Mixtures; Reclaimed Asphalt Pavements; Oxidation; Asphalt Emulsions; Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement; Infrastructure; Pavements
FHWA Discipline: 
Pavement and Materials
TRB Subject Area: 
Maintenance and Preservation, Materials

Contact Information

First Name: 
Last Name: 
(202) 493-3090
Email Address: 
Infrastructure Materials Team
Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Office Code: 

Project Details

Project Description: 

Identify, initiate, and complete fundamental research on conventional and modified binders. Material characterization: (1) Understand, predict, and prevent moisture susceptibility.(2) Develop procedures, tests, and models that can accurately predict long-term pavement performance.(3) Understand asphalt composition and its relationship to pavement performance.(4) Construct and monitor pavement validation sites akin to the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) specific pavement studies (SPS) six sites.


Research addresses five focus areas:

  • Optimization of pavement performance.
  • Advanced quality systems.
  • Pavement surface characteristics.
  • Technical capability building.
  • Environmental stewardship.

This work has subsequently been repackaged in the following four areas:

  • Determination of Moisture in Asphalt Binders and Mixes for hot-mix asphalts and warm-mix asphalts.
  • Development of Rapid and Microbinder Characterization tools to assess environmental effects on performance.
  • Characterization of Comingling of Virgin and Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement Material.
  • Development of Asphalt Oxidation Model.
Partners and Other Sponsor/Managing/Performing Organizations: 
Organization Role: 
Project Findings: 

MoistureDeveloped small-scale separation methods to expand knowledge of molecular components that may be contributors to moisture-related premature roadway failures.Karl Fischer titration technique appears to be the most profitable approach of the various methods tried for ascertaining moisture content of asphalt binders.RapidDeveloped rheological instrumental technique for evaluating small quantities of binder at both high and low temperatures. This approach (4-mm parallel plate) has been found useful in characterizing asphalt emulsions.Developing methods for using Atomic Force Microscopy as a nano-rheometer. At present the nano-rheometer is capable of determining the rheological phase angle but not the moduli.Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP)/Warm-Mix Asphalt (WMA)Monitored existing validation sites (constructed under previous contract) and found significant differences in performance. OxidationDeveloped and validated rapid procedure for estimating pavement oxidation levels with depth using infrared spectroscopy on minute samplesDeveloped and applied Asphaltene Determinator Asphalt Aging Index Ratio (ADAIR) to track oxidative aging.


Deliverable Name: 
Rapid and microbinder characterization test methods and specifications
Deliverable Type: 
Research report or guidelines
Deliverable Description: 
This methodology allows low-temperature mechanical properties of binders to be accurately measured using the Dynamic Shear Rheometer (DSR). DSR tests can now be conducted at low temperatures with approximately 25 milligrams of sample per test, about 500 times smaller than needed for current Bending Beam Rheometer (BBR) testing. This reduction in the sample size leads to many applications that previously were expensive, time consuming, impractical, or impossible. This procedure couples rapid drilling and sampling with small-scale extraction and spectroscopic analysis to estimate aging severity of pavement as a function of depth. The procedure offers an alternative to coring and large-scale extraction where time, traffic control, or cosmetic concerns preclude using traditional methods.
Deliverable Name: 
Asphalt Oxidation Model and Tools for Monitoring Asphalt Oxidation.
Deliverable Type: 
Research report or guidelines
Deliverable Description: 
The Asphaltene Determinator (AD) is a methodology developed to separate asphaltenes (the components of asphalt that provide its structure and “skeleton” resulting in good high-temperature performance) into solvent-defined fractions. For asphalt applications, the AD appears to provide a reliable measure of aging severity. For asphalt blenders and users, this system can identify thermally degraded asphalts and air blown asphalts.
Deliverable Name: 
Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP)/Warm-Mix Asphalt (WMA).
Deliverable Type: 
Research report or guidelines
Deliverable Description: 
Reports and guidelines for improving asphalt sustainability.
Deliverable Name: 
Modified Karl Fischer Test
Deliverable Type: 
Research report or guidelines
Deliverable Description: 
Analytical method to quantitatively measure low levels of water in binders and asphalt mixtures.