Volume 40, Issue 5 (September 2012)
Evaluating Laboratory Compaction of Asphalt Mixtures Using the Shear Box Compactor
Laboratory produced test specimens are usually obtained with devices like Marshall compaction, gyratory compaction, or roller compaction. However, with these methods it is difficult to control the sample-to-sample variation of the final density of the test specimens, which can strongly influence the results of performance testing. It is very important to have a repeatable and efficient production method of test specimens available in the laboratory. The shear box compactor was recently developed to simulate field compaction with a constant compressive force and a cyclic shear force with constant maximum shear angle applied to the asphalt mixture. The shear box compactor produces asphalt blocks with a size of 450 mm in length, 150 mm in width, and 145–185 mm in height. Test specimens like beams or cylinders can be obtained from the block for laboratory performance testing. In this paper, the compaction results with the shear box compactor are reported for asphalt mixtures with different gradations and binder types. Asphalt specimens with different mixture compositions, shapes, sizes, and sampling positions were investigated by volumetric properties. Finite element modeling was introduced to obtain more understanding of the compacting process of the shear box compactor. The results indicate that the decreasing of voids content of asphalt mixtures during compaction process is dependent on the gradation than the binder type. The asphalt mixture specimens obtained from the same asphalt mixture block has a variation in voids content of less than 1 %. Test specimens obtained from the upper part of the asphalt block are more compacted than specimens from the lower part. And the specimens obtained close to the side of the block are less compacted due to lack of shear stress. As a result, the shear box compactor provides a reliable means of sample preparation, making it very suitable for producing specimens with constant volumetric properties.