Micro-mechanical Investigation of Low Temperature Fatigue Cracking Behaviour of Bitumen
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In an effort to understand the effect of low temperature fatigue cracking, atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to characterize the morphology of bitumen. In addition, thermal analysis and chemical characterization was done using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thin-layer chromatography/flame ionization detection (TLC/FID), respectively. The AFM topographic and phase contrast image confirmed the existence of bee-shaped microstructure and different phases. The bitumen samples were subjected to both environmental and mechanical loading and after loading, micro-cracks appeared in the interfaces of the bitumen surface, confirming bitumen itself may also crack. It was also found that the presence of wax and wax crystallization plays a vital role in low temperature cracking performance of bitumen. RILEM 2012.