Micromechanical Modeling of the Viscoelastic Behavior of Asphalt Mixtures Using the Discrete-Element Method
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This paper presents a methodology for analyzing the viscoelastic response of asphalt mixtures using the discrete-element method (DEM). Two unmodified (neat) and seven modified binders were mixed with the same aggregate blend in order to prepare the nine hot mix asphalt (HMA) mixtures used in this study. The HMA microstructure was captured using images of vertically cut sections of specimens. The captured grayscale images were processed into black and white images representing the mastic and the aggregate phases, respectively. These microstructure images were used to represent the DEM model geometry. Rheological data for the nine binders were obtained using the dynamic shear rheometer. These data were used to estimate the parameters of the viscoelastic contact models that define the interaction among the mix constituents. The DEM models were subjected to sinusoidal loads similar to those applied in the simple performance test (SPT). The DEM model predictions compared favorably with the SPT measurements. However, the simulation results tended to overpredict the dynamic modulus, E*, for mixtures made with neat binders and underpredict E* for those that consisted of modified binders. The DEM models gave mix phase angles, mix, higher than the experimental measurements. 2007 ASCE.