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    ASTM D6927 - 15

    Standard Test Method for Marshall Stability and Flow of Asphalt Mixtures

    Active Standard ASTM D6927 | Developed by Subcommittee: D04.20

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.03


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    Significance and Use

    4.1 Marshall stability and flow values along with density; air voids in the total mix, voids in the mineral aggregate, or voids filled with asphalt, or both, filled with asphalt are used for laboratory mix design and evaluation of asphalt mixtures. In addition, Marshall stability and flow can be used to monitor the plant process of producing asphalt mixture. Marshall stability and flow may also be used to relatively evaluate different mixes and the effects of conditioning such as with water.

    4.1.1 Marshall stability and flow are asphalt mixture characteristics determined from tests of compacted specimens of a specified geometry. The Marshall Test can be conducted with two different types of equipment: (1) Method A—using a loading frame with a load ring and a dial gauge for deformation or flow meter (Traditional Method) or (2) Method B—using a load-deformation recorder in conjunction with a load cell and linear variable differential transducer (LVDT) or other automatic recording device (Automated Method).

    4.1.2 Typically, Marshall stability is the peak resistance load obtained during a constant rate of deformation loading sequence. However, depending on the composition and behavior of the mixture, a less defined type of failure has been observed, as illustrated in Fig. 1. As an alternative method, Marshall stability can also be defined as the load obtained, when the rate of loading increase begins to decrease, such that the curve starts to become horizontal, as shown in the bottom graph of Fig. 1. The magnitude of Marshall Stability varies with aggregate type and grading and bitumen type, grade and amount. Various agencies have criteria for Marshall stability.

    4.1.3 Marshall flow is a measure of deformation (elastic plus plastic) of the asphalt mix determined during the stability test. In both types of failure, the Marshall flow is the total sample deformation from the point where the projected tangent of the linear part of the curve intersects the x-axis (deformation) to the point where the curve starts to become horizontal. As shown in Fig. 1, this latter point usually corresponds to the peak stability; however, as an alternative when the failure condition is not clearly defined, it can be selected as the point on the curve which is six flow points or 0.01 in. (1.5 mm) to the right of the tangent line. There is no ideal value but there are acceptable limits. If flow at the selected optimum binder content is above the upper limit, the mix is considered too plastic or unstable and if below the lower limit, it is considered too brittle.

    4.1.4 The Marshall stability and flow test results are applicable to dense-graded asphalt mixtures with maximum size aggregate up to 1 in. (25 mm) in size. For the purpose of mix design, Marshall stability and flow test results should consist of the average of a minimum of three specimens at each increment of binder content where the binder content varies in one-half percent increments over a range of binder content. The binder content range is generally selected on the basis of experience and historical testing data of the component materials, but may involve trial and error to include the desirable range of mix properties. Dense-graded mixtures will generally show a peak in stability within the range of binder contents tested. Stability, flow, density, air voids, and voids filled with asphalt binder, may be plotted against binder content to allow selection of an optimum binder content for the mixture. The above test properties may also be weighted differently to reflect a particular mix design philosophy. In addition, a mixture design may be required to meet minimum voids in the mineral aggregate based on nominal maximum aggregate size in the mixture.

    4.1.5 Field laboratory Marshall stability and flow tests on specimens made with plant mix laboratory compacted (PMLC) asphalt mixture mix may vary significantly from laboratory design values because of differences in plant mixing versus laboratory mixing. This includes mixing efficiency and aging.

    4.1.6 Significant differences in Marshall stability and flow from one set of tests to another or from an average value of several sets of data or specimens, prepared from plant-produced mix may indicate poor sampling, incorrect testing technique, change of grading, change of binder content, or a malfunction in the plant process. The source of the variation should be resolved and the problem corrected.

    4.1.7 Specimens will most often be prepared using Practice D6926 but may be prepared using other types of compaction procedures as long as specimens satisfy geometry requirements. Other types of compaction may cause specimens to have different stress strain characteristics than specimens prepared by Marshall impact compaction. Marshall stability and flow may also be determined using field cores from in situ pavement for information or evaluation. However, these results may not compare with results from Lab Mix Lab Compacted (LMLC) Asphalt Mixture, Plant Mix Laboratory Compacted (PMLC) Asphalt Mixture, or Reheated Plant Mix Lab Compacted (RPMLC) Asphalt Mixture specimens and shall not be used for specification or acceptance purposes. One source of error in testing field cores arises when the side of the core is not smooth or perpendicular to the core faces. Such conditions can create stress concentrations in loading and low Marshall stability.

    Note 1: The quality of the results produced by this standard are dependent on the competence of the personnel performing the procedure and the capability, calibration, and maintenance of the equipment used. Agencies that meet the criteria of Specification D3666 are generally considered capable of competent and objective testing/sampling/inspection/etc. Users of this standard are cautioned that compliance with Specification D3666 alone does not completely assure reliable results. Reliable results depend on many factors; following the suggestions of Specification D3666 or some similar acceptable guideline provides a means of evaluating and controlling some of those factors.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers measurement of resistance to plastic flow of 4 in. (102 mm) cylindrical specimens of asphalt paving mixture loaded in a direction perpendicular to the cylindrical axis by means of the Marshall apparatus. This test method is for use with dense graded asphalt mixtures prepared with asphalt cement (modified and unmodified), cutback asphalt, tar, and tar-rubber with maximum size aggregate up to 1 in. (25 mm) in size (passing 1 in. (25 mm) sieve).

    1.2 Units—The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard.

    1.3 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    C670 Practice for Preparing Precision and Bias Statements for Test Methods for Construction Materials


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 93.080.20 (Road construction materials)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 30121500(Bituminous derivatives); 30120000(Roads and landscape)


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/D6927-15

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM D6927-15, Standard Test Method for Marshall Stability and Flow of Asphalt Mixtures, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2015, www.astm.org

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