- Hot mix asphalt (HMA) is a composite material that consists of mineral aggregates, asphalt binders, and air voids. A finite element model of the HMA microstructure is developed to study the influence of localized strain distribution on the HMA mechanical response. Image analysis techniques are used to capture the HMA microstructure. Due to limitations on the image resolution, the microstructure is divided into two phases: aggregates larger than 0.3 mm and mastic (binder and aggregates smaller than 0.3 mm). A viscoelastic constitutive relationship is used to represent the mastic phase of the HMA microstructure. The mastic viscoelastic properties are obtained from the results of testing asphalt binders in a dynamic shear rheometer and microstructure analysis of idealized mastic. A step-wise finite element procedure is employed in order to account for the influence of the localized high strains on the mastic viscoelastic properties, and HMA mechanical response. The mastic and binder elements of the microstructure are shown to exhibit high strain values within the nonlinear viscoelastic range. The HMA viscoelastic properties are calculated at different strain levels, and the results are compared with experimental data obtained from the frequency sweep shear test.