SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1995

Furfural Substitutes for Chemical Modification of Asphalt


Researchers at Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) had previously prepared furfural-modified asphalts that were stiffer at higher temperatures and more flexible at low temperatures than the original asphalts; that is, they were less temperature-susceptible. Such changes in the rheological properties of asphalts have historically improved their performance in asphalt pavement. The objectives of this work were to determine the nature of the chemical reactions involved and to examine why furfural is improving asphalt properties.

An AC-5 asphalt was reacted with four furfural partial analogs [3- (2-furyl)acrolein, furan, allyl alcohol, and furanone]. These reactants were selected because they had structural units similar to those found in furfural. The observed physical changes in the modified products were then correlated with the structural units contained in each reactant. The correlation of those units with related properties of the substituted asphalt products can show why the furfural-modified product is improved as well as the nature of the reaction.

A mechanism for the polymerization of asphalt with furfural and these surrogate compounds is provided based on infrared spectral and gel permeation chromatographic data.

Data from dynamic mechanical analysis, differential scanning calorimetry, and traditional physical methods for the four substitute products and the furfural modified product showed that the furan ring is the principal component in producing modified asphalts with increasing viscous and stiffness properties at high temperatures, and the furan ring with or without a conjugated aldehyde group is important in producing modified products that can lower the stiffness and can sustain a lower temperature than the other modified asphalts before becoming a brittle material.

Author Information

Memon, GM
EBA Engineering, Inc., Mclean, VA
Boone, JG
Federal Highway Administration, Mclean, VA
Chollar, BH
Federal Highway Administration, Mclean, VA
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Developed by Committee: D04
Pages: 186–198
DOI: 10.1520/STP18195S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5303-5
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1988-8