The use of Reclaimed Asphalt Pavements (RAP) in newly produced asphalt mixtures has been gaining a wide attention from state Departments of Transportations (DOTs) during the past four decades. However, the performance of these mixtures in harsh and hot climate areas such as Phoenix, Arizona has not been carefully addressed. This research focuses on evaluating the laboratory and field performance of Hot Mix Asphalt Mixtures (HMA) produced with two different RAP contents 15%, and 25%. A road section was identified by the City of Phoenix where three test sections were constructed; the first being a control (0% RAP), the second and the third sections with 15% and 25% RAP contents, respectively. The 25% RAP mixture used a lower Performance Grade (PG) asphalt per local practices. During construction, loose HMA mixtures were sampled and transported to the laboratory for advanced material characterization.
The testing included Dynamic Modulus (DM) test to characterize the stiffness of the material, Flow Number (FN) test to characterize the rutting resistance of the mixtures, IDEAL CT test to characterize the crack initiation properties, C* Fracture test to investigate the crack propagation properties, Uniaxial Fatigue to evaluate fatigue cracking potential, and Tensile Strength Ratio test (TSR) to evaluate the moisture susceptibility. Field cores were obtained from each test section and were tested for indirect tensile strength characteristics. In addition, asphalt binder testing was done on the extracted and recovered binders.
The laboratory results, compared to the control mixture, indicated that adding 15% and 25% RAP to the mix did not have significant effect on the stiffness, improved the rutting potential, had comparable cracking potential, and gave an acceptable passing performance against potential moisture damage. The binder testing that was done on the extracted and recovered binders indicated that the blended RAP binder yields a high stiffness. Based on results obtained from this study, it is recommended that the City of Phoenix should consider incorporating RAP in their asphalt mixtures using these low to moderate RAP contents. In the future implementation process, it is also recommended to include specifications where proper mixture designs are followed and supported with some of the laboratory tests outlined in this research.