Development of a numerical model to predict the dielectric properties of heterogeneous asphalt concrete

Qingqing Cao, Imad L. Al-Qadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) has been used for asphalt concrete (AC) pavement density prediction for the past two decades. Recently, it has been considered as a method for pavement quality control and quality assurance. A numerical method to estimate asphalt pavement specific gravity from its dielectric properties was developed and validated. A three-phase numerical model considering aggregate, binder, and air void components was developed using an AC mixture generation algorithm. A take-and-add algorithm was used to generate the uneven air-void distribution in the three-phase model. The proposed three-phase model is capable of correlating pavement density and bulk and component dielectric properties. The model was validated using field data. Two methods were used to calculate the dielectric constant of the AC mixture, including reflection amplitude and two-way travel time methods. These were simulated and compared when vertical and longitudinal heterogeneity existed within the AC pavement layers. Results indicate that the reflection amplitude method is more sensitive to surface thin layers than the two-way travel time methods. Effect of air-void content, asphalt content, aggregate gradation, and aggregate dielectric constants on the GPR measurements were studied using the numerical model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2643
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Asphalt pavement
  • Finite-difference time-domain modeling
  • Ground-penetrating radar
  • Heterogeneous model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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