Evaluation of the effects of aging on asphalt rubber
Oxidative aging is an important factor in the long term performance of asphalt pavements. Oxidation and the associated stiffening can lead to cracking, which in turn can lead to the functional and structural failure of the pavement system. Therefore, a greater understanding of the nature of oxidative aging in asphalt pavements can potentially be of great importance in estimating the performance of a pavement before it is constructed. Of particular interest are the effects of aging on asphalt rubber pavements, due to the fact that, as a newer technology, few asphalt rubber pavement sections have been evaluated for their full service life. This study endeavors to shed some light on this topic. This study includes three experimental programs on the aging of asphalt rubber binders and mixtures. The first phase addresses aging in asphalt rubber binders and their virgin bases. The binders were subjected to various aging conditions and then tested for viscosity. The change in viscosity was analyzed and it was found that asphalt rubber binders exhibited less long term aging. The second phase looks at aging in a laboratory environment, including both a comparison of accelerated oxidative aging techniques and aging effects that occur during long term storage. Dynamic modulus was used as a tool to assess the aging of the tested materials. It was found that aging materials in a compacted state is ideal, while aging in a loose state is unrealistic. Results not only showed a clear distinction in aged versus unaged material but also showed that the effects of aging on AR mixes is highly dependant on temperature; lower temperatures induce relatively minor stiffening while higher temperatures promote much more significant aging effects. The third experimental program is a field study that builds upon a previous study of pavement test sections. Field pavement samples were taken and tested after being in service for 7 years and tested for dynamic modulus and beam fatigue. As with the laboratory aging, the dynamic modulus samples show less stiffening at low temperatures and more at higher temperatures. Beam fatigue testing showed not only stiffening but also a brittle behavior.