Adhesive surface characteristics of bitumen binders investigated by Atomic Force Microscopy
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Bitumen is a complex hydrocarbon whose composition-structure-property relationship is not well-understood. In this paper, microphase-separated topographic morphologies of unaged penetration grade 70/100 bitumen binders have been visualized by means of AFM QNM, and the relationship to local mechanical properties has been demonstrated. AFM QNM is a surface force mapping technique which measures parameters such as topography, adhesion and elastic modulus simultaneously. The resulting data can then be presented as images representing individual or overlaid parameters, e.g. topographic images with an adhesion overlay or topographic images with a modulus overlay. AFM QNM results show that the adhesive forces measured in the region surrounding (peri phase) the periodic topographic features resembling 'bees' (catana phase) and the region in the 'bee' areas are lower than the adhesive force measured in the smooth matrix (para phase). Likewise it was observed that Young's moduli in the region surrounding (peri phase) the 'bees' (catana phase) and in the 'bees' are higher than Young's modulus of the smooth matrix (para phase). 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.