Asphalt Concrete Mix Design Optimization Using Autoencoder Deep Neural Networks

José Rivera-Pérez, Imad L. Al-Qadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Asphalt concrete (AC) balanced mix design (BMD) is based on the selection of aggregate gradation, component volumetrics, and binder content to control pavement cracking and rutting potential. The Illinois Flexibility Index Test (I-FIT) and the Hamburg Wheel Tracking Test (HWTT) results, used to predict cracking and rutting potential, respectively, are used in the BMD approach. However, BMD generally relies on a trial-and-error process to identify the aggregate gradation and binder content needed to meet volumetrics and optimize I-FIT and HWTT results. Minimizing or eliminating the trial-and-error process would increase productivity and accuracy. Therefore, this study proposes an autoencoder deep neural network (ADNN) to develop optimized AC mix design alternatives that can meet a prescribed flexibility index (FI) and rut depth (RD). Autoencoders are a type of neural network designed for representation learning composed of an encoder and a decoder. The encoder detects a structured pattern in the original input data to create a compressed representation of the AC mix design. The decoder reconstructs the compressed representation. The proposed autoencoder is composed of an encoder of five hidden layers, a latent space of one node, and a five-hidden-layer decoder. Models were created from a database of 5,357 data sets that include mix properties, I-FIT FI, and HWTT RD (after data preprocessing was conducted). An autoencoder was then trained to predict the total binder content, and aggregate gradation based on a target mix type, FI, and RD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)426-438
Number of pages13
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • asphalt
  • asphalt materials
  • autoencoder
  • materials
  • mix design
  • pavements
  • performance tests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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