Discrete fracture modeling of asphalt concrete

Hyunwook Kim, William G. Buttlar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A heterogeneous fracture approach is presented for modeling asphalt concrete that is composed of solid inclusions and a viscous matrix, and is subjected to mode-I loading in the fracture test configuration. A heterogeneous fracture model, based on the discrete element method (DEM), is developed to investigate various fracture toughening mechanisms of asphalt materials using a high-resolution image processing technique. An energy-based bilinear cohesive zone model is used to model the crack initiation and propagation of materials, and is implemented as a user-defined model within the discrete element method. Experimental fracture tests are performed to investigate various fracture behavior of asphalt concrete and obtain material input parameters for numerical models. Also, bulk material properties are necessary for each material phase for heterogeneous numerical models; these properties are determined by uniaxial complex modulus tests and indirect tensile strength tests. The main objective of this study is to integrate the experimental tests and numerical models in order to better understand the fracture mechanisms of asphaltic heterogeneous materials. Experimental results and numerical simulations are compared at different test conditions with excellent agreement. The heterogeneous DEM fracture modeling approach has the potential capability to understand various crack mechanisms of quasi-brittle materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2593-2604
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Solids and Structures
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jun 15 2009


  • Asphalt concrete
  • Bilinear cohesive zone model
  • Discrete element method
  • Fracture
  • Heterogeneous
  • Image processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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