Microstructural simulation of asphalt materials: Modeling and experimental studies

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Asphalt concrete is a heterogeneous material composed of aggregates, binder cement, and air voids, and may be described as a cemented particulate system. The load carrying behavior of such a material is strongly related to the local load transfer between aggregate particles, and this is taken as the microstructural response. Simulation of this material behavior was accomplished using a finite element technique, which was constructed to simulate the micromechanical response of the aggregate/binder system. The model incorporated a network of special frame elements with a stiffness matrix developed to predict the load transfer between cemented particles. The stiffness matrix was created from an approximate elasticity solution of the stress and displacement field in a cementation layer between particle pairs. A damage mechanics approach was then incorporated with this solution, and this lead to the construction of a softening model capable of predicting typical global inelastic behaviors found in asphalt materials. This theory was then implemented within the ABAQUS finite element analysis code to conduct simulations of particular laboratory specimens. Experimental verification of the elastic response has included tests on specially prepared cemented particulate systems, which allowed detailed measurement of aggregate displacements and rotations using video imaging and computer analysis. Model simulations compared favorably with these experimental results. Additional simulations including inelastic behavior of laboratory indirect tension tests have been conducted, and while preliminary in nature these results also compared well with experimental data. © ASCE.

Publication Title

Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering