Performance Modification of Asphalt Binders using Thermoplastic Polymers


H. I. Al-Abdul Wahhab and I. Abaker  


The Journal of Engineering Research 1 (2004) 19-8



            There is a need to improve the performance of asphalt binders to minimize stress cracking that occurs at low temperatures and plastic deformation at high temperatures. Importation of used asphalt-polymers from abroad, leads to an increase in the total construction cost as compared to the cost if the used polymers were of local origin. The main objective of this research was to modify locally produced asphalt. Ten polymers were identified as potential asphalt modifiers based on their physical properties and chemical composition. After preliminary laboratory evaluation for the melting point of these polymers, five polymers were selected for local asphalt modification. In the initial stage, required mixing time was decided based on the relation between shear loss modulus and mixing time. The optimum polymer content was selected based on Superpave binder performance grade specifications. The suitability of improvement was verified through the evaluation of permanent deformation and fatigue behavior of laboratory prepared asphalt concrete mixes. The results indicated that the rheological properties of the modified binders improved significantly with sufficient polymer content (3%). The aging properties of the modified binders were found to be dependent on the type of polymer. The fatigue life and resistance to permanent deformation were significantly improved due to enhanced binder rheological properties. Thus, local asphalts can be modified using thermoplastic polymers.



Keywords: Polymers, Modified asphalt, Fatigue cracking, Rutting, Roads