Evaluation of warm mix asphalt mixtures containing reclaimed asphalt pavement through mechanical performance tests and an acoustic emission approach

Brian Hill, Behzad Behnia, William G. Buttlar, Henrique Reis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) and warm mix asphalt (WMA) have become the primary methods for enhancing sustainability in the asphalt industry in recent years. To further enhance sustainability benefits, asphalt producers have begun using RAP and WMA in combination. Research to date has focused on evaluating WMA-RAP mixtures in terms of moisture sensitivity and permanent deformation characteristics as measured in laboratory performance tests. In the present paper, the authors investigate a set of WMA mixtures that encompass a variety of variables, including four WMA additives (Evotherm 3G, Rediset LQ, Sasobit, and Advera) and three RAP contents (0, 15, and 45%). A common belief among practitioners is that the reduced aging in the asphalt binder associated with lower production temperatures in WMAmixtures leaves additional headroom for the incorporation of higher amounts of RAP, which is generally a stiffer, more brittle material. To fully characterize the performance of WMA-RAP mixtures, the authors evaluated the low-temperature, cracking behavior of these mixtures in conjunction with moisture and rutting resistance characterization. They achieved the low temperature testing of WMARAP mixtures through the disk-shaped compact tension [DC(T)], indirect tension (IDT) creep compliance, and acoustic emission (AE) tests. Test results showed that chemical additives improved moisture susceptibility according to the AASHTO T 283 standard test and fracture and bulk stress relaxation characteristics using the DC(T) and IDT tests, respectively. The organic Fischer-Tropsch wax-modified WMA mixtures performed the best among the WMA mixtures in terms of rutting resistance. The introduction of RAP led to the increased resistance to permanent deformation and moisture damage. Conversely, RAP reduced thermal cracking resistance according to the low-temperature performance tests in both HMA and WMA. The authors observed the same trend in AE test results as WMA-RAP mixtures exhibited warmer embrittlement temperatures as compared with control mixtures and are therefore expected to be more prone to thermal cracking. On the basis of these findings, thermal cracking resistance remains an issue to be considered in WMA mixtures containing RAP. Additionally, performance testing has shown to be a valuable tool for the evaluation of RAP and WMA mix designs to avoid performance issues in the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1887-1897
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Materials in Civil Engineering
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2013


  • Acoustic emissions
  • Embrittlement temperature.
  • Fracture energy
  • Low temperature cracking
  • Reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP)
  • WMA chemical additives
  • Warm mix asphalt (WMA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials


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