Volume 2, Issue 3 (March 2005)
Identification of a Physical Model to Evaluate Rutting Performance of Asphalt Mixtures
The objective of this study is to identify a physical model that can provide reliable predictions about a mixture's ability to resist permanent deformation under realistic stress states. Key differences were identified between stress states under the existing Asphalt Pavement Analyzer (APA) loading device (hose) and stress states under radial truck tires, which may indicate potentially different rutting mechanisms. It was shown that the APA hose was not capturing the critical lateral stresses found to be detrimental to rutting and cracking of HMA pavements. A new loading device (rib) was designed and constructed for use in the APA that more closely represents stress states found under radial tires.
Contact-stress measurements under the two loading devices — hose and rib — showed that the rib was able to reproduce the lateral stresses found under individual ribs on a radial-tire tread. Subsequent finite element modeling also showed that the rib appeared to generate similar shear stress patterns to those found under the modeled radial-tire load.
A new method was developed to measure deformations on the surface of APA specimens, where a contour gauge was used to record and store the entire surface profile of the sample throughout the progress of the test. An area-change parameter, which reflects volume change, was introduced to calculate the volumetric changes in the specimen. The area-change parameter can be used to determine whether specimen rutting is primarily due to shear instability or consolidation.
Two mixtures of known field performance — poor and good — were tested to evaluate the test's ability to predict performance with the new loading device and the new measurement and interpretation system. Results showed that the new system (loading strip and profile measurement method) appears to have greater potential of evaluating a mixture's potential for instability rutting than the original (hose and single rut-depth measurement) configuration.