Frequency analysis of stress relaxation dynamics in model asphalts

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Asphalt is an amorphous or semi-crystalline material whose mechanical performance relies on viscoelastic responses to applied strain or stress. Chemical composition and its effect on the viscoelastic properties of model asphalts have been investigated here by computing complex modulus from molecular dynamics simulation results for two different model asphalts whose compositions each resemble the Strategic Highway Research Program AAA-1 asphalt in different ways. For a model system that contains smaller molecules, simulation results for storage and loss modulus at 443 K reach both the low and high frequency scaling limits of the Maxwell model. Results for a model system composed of larger molecules (molecular weights 300-900 g/mol) with longer branches show a quantitatively higher complex modulus that decreases significantly as temperature increases over 400-533 K. Simulation results for its loss modulus approach the low frequency scaling limit of the Maxwell model at only the highest temperature simulated. A Black plot or van Gurp-Palman plot of complex modulus vs. phase angle for the system of larger molecules suggests some overlap among results at different temperatures for less high frequencies, with an interdependence consistent with the empirical Christensen-Anderson-Marasteanu model. Both model asphalts are thermorheologically complex at very high frequencies, where they show a loss peak that appears to be independent of temperature and density.

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Journal of Chemical Physics