Comprehensive analysis of surface free energy of asphalts and aggregates and the effects of changes in pH Academic Article uri icon


  • Moisture damage is a major factor in the deterioration of asphalt pavements. In order to combat this problem, it is essential to understand the effects of moisture on the adhesive and cohesive bonds in asphalt concrete mixtures. These effects can be quantified through the use of surface free energy, which is a thermodynamic material property that has been successfully used to select asphalt binders and aggregates that have the necessary compatibility to firm strong bonds and resist moisture damage. This study aimed at understanding the effects of material characteristics and additives on surface energy and the resulting bond between asphalt binders and aggregates. As such, the study involved measuring the surface free energy of 37 neat and polymer modified asphalt binders and 11 aggregates were measured. In addition, the surface free energy was measured for three asphalt binders after two anti-strip agents were added separately (six binder-anti-strip agent combinations) and for nine asphalt binders that were both short and long-term aged. The study also examined the effect of water pH on surface energy and water-aggregate adhesive bond. It was found that anti-strip agents, in general, reduced the cohesive bond energy of asphalt binder, allowing better wetting and adhesion to aggregates and increase in resistance to moisture damage. Aging of the asphalt either increased or decreased the cohesive bond depending upon the chemical composition of the unaged asphalt binder. Statistical analysis was conducted to rank the moisture resistance of asphalt binders and asphalt-aggregate combinations, respectively. The results showed that the pH of the water increased slightly due to contact with the aggregates, but did not significantly alter the total surface tension of the water or surface free energy components of the asphalt binder. 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Construction and Building Materials

author list (cited authors)

  • Howson, J., Masad, E., Bhasin, A., Little, D., & Lytton, R.

citation count

  • 47

complete list of authors

  • Howson, Jonathan||Masad, Eyad||Bhasin, Amit||Little, Dallas||Lytton, Robert

publication date

  • May 2011