Probabilistic analysis of air void structure and its relationship to permeability and moisture damage of hot mix asphalt
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The permeability of hot mix asphalt (HMA) is of special interest to engineers and researchers due to the effects that water has on asphalt pavement performance. Significant research has been done to study HMA permeability. However, most of the studies primarily focused on relating permeability to the average percent air voids in the mix. Such relationships cannot predict permeability accurately due to the different distributions of air void structures at a given average percent of air voids. Air void distribution is a function of many factors such as mix design, compaction method, and aggregate properties. Recent advances in X-ray computed tomography and image analysis techniques offer a unique opportunity to better quantify the air void structure and, consequently, predict HMA permeability. This study is focused on portraying permeability as a function of air void size distribution by using a probabilistic approach that was previously developed by Garcia Bengochea for soils. This approach expresses permeability as a function of the probability density function (pdf) of the air void size distribution. Equations are derived in this thesis to describe this relationship for laboratory specimens compacted using the linear kneading compactor (LKC) and Superave^TM gyratory compactor (SGC) as well as for field cores (labeled as MS). A good correlation exists between permeability and the pdf of the air voids that formed the flow paths (i.e. connected voids). The relationship between moisture damage, air void structure, and cohesive and adhesive bond energy is also investigated in this study. Moisture damage is evaluated by monitoring changes in mechanical properties due to moisture conditioning. The influence of air void structure on pore pressure is studied using a recently developed program at Texas A&M University that simulates fluid flow and pore pressure in a porous medium. The surface free energy of the aggregates and asphalt are calculated from laboratory measurements using the Universal Sorption Device (USD) and the Wilhelmy Plate method, respectively, in order to test the compatibility of the aggregates with the asphalt in the presence of water.
Castelblanco Torres, Adhara (2004). Probabilistic analysis of air void structure and its relationship to permeability and moisture damage of hot mix asphalt. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from