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Low density polyethylene is a major part of the waste plastic stream. Its use as a recycled additive in hot mix asphalt concrete pavement extends back to the mid-1970's in Europe. Recent and extensive testing has demonstrated that waste or recycled polyethylene is as effective in modifying the hot mix asphalt concrete as is virgin polyethylene as long as the recycled polymer is free of metals and paper and the percentage of additional polymer does not exceed 17 percent. The resistance to deformation of hot mix asphalt concrete modified with approximately 5 percent low density polyethylene is significantly better than that of the unmodified mix. Results of uniaxial creep testing parameters, including creep modulus, slope of the steady state portion of the creep curve and time to tertiary creep, on a large number of mixtures are used to evaluate the influence of recycled polyethylene modification. Moderate and low temperature fatigue properties are also evaluated based on controlled stress and controlled deformation fracture fatigue testing.
hot mix, polymer, polyethylene, modification, additives, creep test, permanent deformation, fatigue, rutting, pavement performance
Kelleher Professor of Civil Engineering, Texas A&M University,