Evaluation of low-temperature cracking performance of asphalt pavements using Acoustic Emission: A review

Behzad Behnia, William Buttlar, Henrique Reis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Low-temperature cracking is a major form of distress that can compromise the structural integrity of asphalt pavements located in cold regions. A review of an Acoustic Emission (AE)-based approach is presented that is capable of assessing the low-temperature cracking performance of asphalt binders and asphalt pavement materials through determining their embrittlement temperatures. A review of the background and fundamental aspects of the AE-based approach with a brief overview of its application to estimate low-temperature performance of unaged, short-term, and long-term aged binders, as well as asphalt materials, is presented. The application of asphalt pavements containing recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) and recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) materials to thermal cracking assessment is also presented and discussed. Using the Felicity effect, the approach is capable of evaluating the self-healing characteristics of asphalt pavements and the effect of cooling cycles upon their fracture behavior. Using an iterative AE source location technique, the approach is also used to evaluate the efficiency of rejuvenators, which can restore aged asphalt pavements to their original crack-resistant state. Results indicate that AE allows for relatively rapid and inexpensive characterization of pavement materials and can be used towards enhancing pavement sustainability and resiliency to thermal loading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number306
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 21 2018


  • Acoustic emission
  • Asphalt pavements
  • Cooling cycles
  • Embrittlement temperatures
  • Recycled asphalt pavements
  • Recycled asphalt shingles
  • Thermal cracking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering(all)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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