A methodology for characterization of low-temperature fracture behavior of paving mixtures is presented. The critical elasto-plastic energy release rate, the JIc parameter, is adopted as the fracture criterion. The methodology permits the study of fracture in plasticized sulfur (Sulphlex) and asphaltic paving mixtures. To accommodate special fracture characteristics of pavement materials, certain modifications to the standard ASTM fracture testing procedures are proposed. The rationale for these modifications is also discussed. Approximate values of KIc, KQ, are correlated to the JQ measurements, which are a provisional representation of JIc, and results are compared with theoretical predictions. Tearing modulus is also investigated. The overall results of this study indicate that the JQ parameter can be effectively utilized for characterization of thermal cracking susceptibility of pavement materials.
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