Numerical and experimental evaluation of the influence of the filler-bitumen interface in mastics
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The successful use of additives in modified asphalt mixtures, such as warm mix asphalt, depends largely on the effect such modification has on the mastic. Previous research indicated that such modifiers do not simply change the bitumen properties, but can also change the interaction between the filler and the bitumen matrix. Understanding the effect of the properties of the fillers, the bitumen and their interaction is thus important for future asphalt mix design. In order to investigate this and to define the dominant relationships, this paper combines a numerical and experimental approach. In the experiments, the viscosities of modified and unmodified mastics with different filler concentrations and types were systematically investigated utilizing a novel testing protocol. In the numerical analyses, the Finite Element Method was utilized for a micro-mechanical analysis, in which the shape and size of the filler particles were varied in the bitumen matrix. Combining the experimental and numerical results allowed for a detailed investigation of the effect of the interface properties, with and without modifiers. The research further indicated that the effect of the shape and size of the fillers varied, depending on the interface properties. From the research relationships were established between the overall mastic viscosity and the influence of the filler-bitumen interface, considering shape and size. The conclusion of this paper can thus be useful for the effective development of modified asphalt mixtures and gives strong indications towards future research directions. 2013 RILEM.