Experimental Measurement of Water Diffusion through Fine Aggregate Mixtures Academic Article uri icon


  • The water diffusion attributable to concentration gradients is among the main mechanisms of water transport into the asphalt mixture. The transport of small molecules through polymeric materials is a very complex process, and no single model provides a complete explanation because of the small molecule's complex internal structure. The objective of this study was to experimentally determine the diffusion of water in different fine aggregate mixtures (FAM) using simple gravimetric sorption measurements. For the purposes of measuring the diffusivity of water, FAMs were regarded as a representative homogenous volume of the hot-mix asphalt (HMA). Fick's second law is generally used to model diffusion driven by concentration gradients in different materials. The concept of the dual mode diffusion was investigated for FAM cylindrical samples. Although FAM samples have three components (asphalt binder, aggregates, and air voids), the dual mode was an attempt to represent the diffusion process by only two stages that occur simultaneously: (1) the water molecules are completely mobile, and (2) the water molecules are partially mobile. The combination of three asphalt binders and two aggregates selected from the Strategic Highway Research Program's (SHRP) Materials Reference Library (MRL) were evaluated at room temperature [23.9C (75F)] and at 37.8C (100F). The results show that moisture uptake and diffusivity of water through FAM is dependent on the type of aggregate and asphalt binder. At room temperature, the rank order of diffusivity and moisture uptake for the three binders was the same regardless of the type of aggregate. However, this rank order changed at higher temperatures, suggesting that at elevated temperatures different binders may be undergoing a different level of change in the free volume. 2011 American Society of Civil Engineers.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Vasconcelos, K. L., Bhasin, A., Little, D. N., & Lytton, R. L.

citation count

  • 37

complete list of authors

  • Vasconcelos, Kamilla L||Bhasin, Amit||Little, Dallas N||Lytton, Robert L

publication date

  • April 2011