The influence of laboratory aging method on the rheological properties of asphalt binders
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Asphalt binders used in asphalt concrete roadway pavements experience aging during construction and subsequently during their service lives. Aging is the combined effect of the evaporation of volatile compounds and the chemical reaction of residual compounds with oxygen. This aging affects the rheological properties of asphalt binders. The Superpave testing and specification system uses two laboratory procedures for aging of binders prior to measuring their rheological properties, namely the rolling thin film oven (RTFO) and the pressure aging vessel (PAV). These two procedures are used to simulate the aging that takes place during construction and during service, respectively. This paper examines whether the Superpave prescribed sequence of binder aging procedures (i.e., the RTFO followed by the PAV) is necessary, or whether similar binder rheological properties are obtained using the PAV procedure only. For this purpose, three binders were tested, namely an unmodified PG 64-28, an SBS polymer-modified binder of the same grade, and an SBS polymer-modified PG 76-28. The low temperature and fatigue rheological properties were measured by a bending beam rheometer (BBR) and a dynamic shear rheometer (DSR), respectively. The findings of the study suggest that, with a few exceptions, the rheological properties measured after aging with the RTFO followed by PAV are significantly different than those obtained after PAV aging only.