Effects of waste high-density polyethylene (HDPE) on asphalt binder and airfield mixes

Javier J. García Mainieri, Imad L. Al-Qadi, Rouzbeh Ghabchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Flexible airport pavements may require polymer-modified asphalt binder for their asphalt concrete (AC) mixes to withstand heavy gear loading and slow traffic moving in taxiways and aprons. Waste plastics could be repurposed as a possible alternative to Styrene–butadiene-styrene (SBS) modifiers. In this study, the feasibility of using granulated recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE) waste was evaluated as an asphalt binder modifier for airfield pavements. A base asphalt binder was modified with waste HDPE to obtain a Superpave performance grade (PG) of 70-22. Adding waste HDPE would increase binder’s stiffness and bond to aggregate, it slightly improved ductility and elasticity; but less than SBS polymer-modified binders. The AC mixes prepared with waste HDPE-modified binder showed less potential for rutting and cracking compared control AC mixes with PG 64-22. However, the rutting and cracking potential was higher when compared to their SBS-modified PG 70–22 counterparts. On the other hand, AC mixes containing waste HDPE-modified binder were less susceptible to moisture-induced damage. It appears that using waste HDPE-modified binder is feasible where improving adhesion and resistance to moisture-induced damage AC mixes are needed and embrittlement and elastic recovery are not critical, while meeting rutting and cracking potential regional thresholds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2303661
JournalInternational Journal of Pavement Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • High-density polyethylene
  • asphalt binder
  • asphalt concrete sustainability
  • asphalt mixes
  • plastic
  • recycling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials


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