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Construction and Building Materials 88 (2015) 56–63

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Construction and Building Materials


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/conbuildmat

Laboratory evaluation of the effect of low-temperature application


of warm-mix asphalts on interface shear strength
E. Pasquini a,⇑, G. Giacomello b, M. Pasetto b, F. Canestrari a
a
Department of Civil and Building Engineering and Architecture, Polytechnic University of Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona, Italy
b
Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, University of Padua, Via Marzolo 9, 35131 Padua, Italy

h i g h l i g h t s

 Low application temperatures of the upper layer may lead to weak interface bonding.
 Using a polymer modified binder in the upper layer reduces the risk of debonding.
 The use of the warm modifier does not clearly affect the interface shear strength.

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: A potential drawback, not yet investigated, of low application temperatures of asphalt mixes could be a
Received 21 January 2015 reduced interface shear strength. Such low temperatures could be due to improper construction as well
Received in revised form 11 March 2015 as to the use of warm mix asphalt (WMA) technology. In this sense, this paper illustrates an experimental
Accepted 12 April 2015
laboratory research aimed at characterizing interface shear properties of double-layered asphalt systems.
The upper layer of the specimens (WMA or hot mix asphalt control mix) was mixed and compacted at
different temperatures in order to simulate different application conditions. A plain bitumen and a poly-
Keywords:
mer modified binder were used for the asphalt mixes whereas an organic (wax) additive was selected as
Warm mix asphalt
Interface shear strength
warm modifier. Experimental data were also compared with the stress field of a typical flexible pavement
Wax additive calculated through a layered elastic theory (LET) model. The research study mainly showed that interface
Application temperature shear strength sensibly decreases for low application temperatures of the upper layer (below 140 °C)
regardless of bitumen type and presence of the warm additive. However, the use of polymer modified
bitumen as binder for the upper layer asphalt concrete leads to noticeably higher interface shear strength
at any test temperature reducing the risk of delamination.
Ó 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction any more. This occurrence seriously affects pavement characteris-


tics and could lead to premature failure even though durability and
A potential drawback, not yet investigated, of low application mechanical performance of the single layers are appropriate [1].
and compaction temperatures of asphalt mixes could be a reduced Low application temperatures can occur due to an improper con-
interface shear strength. This fact potentially leads to de-bonding struction or to a proper use of warm mix asphalt (WMA) technol-
failure of interfaces close to the road surface (where the shear ogy. In this sense, it is worth noting that WMA technology has
stresses transmitted by vehicles remain still high) causing both recently gained increasing interest due to the fact that environ-
structural and functional damage to the pavement. In fact, a mental considerations about the preservation and protection of
multi-layered pavement system is composed of several layers natural and working environments have become of strategic
whose interfaces should be able to transfer shear stresses. In case importance.
of interlayer de-bonding, this stress transfer is not possible and In fact, hot mix asphalt (HMA) production requires high tem-
the multi-layered structure does not act as a composite system peratures (>150 °C) that lead to considerable energy consumption
and emission of pollutants whereas WMA is a modified asphalt
concrete, obtained by using organic (wax), chemical or foaming
⇑ Corresponding author. Tel.: +39 071 220 4507; fax: +39 071 220 4510.
additives, which can be produced, applied and compacted at lower
E-mail addresses: e.pasquini@univpm.it (E. Pasquini), giovanni.giacomello@
unipd.it (G. Giacomello), marco.pasetto@unipd.it (M. Pasetto), f.canestrari@
temperatures (100–140 °C) than HMA. In particular, the most com-
univpm.it (F. Canestrari). mon commercial organic products available are Fischer–Tropsch

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2015.04.009
0950-0618/Ó 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
E. Pasquini et al. / Construction and Building Materials 88 (2015) 56–63 57

(F–T) synthesis waxes that, thanks to their melting/crystallizing application temperatures can occur due to improper construction
properties, are solid at ambient temperature and melt at higher or proper use of WMA technology, the main goal of this experi-
temperatures producing a low viscosity liquid. mental laboratory study is the evaluation of interface shear proper-
The F–T process is used to convert synthesis gas containing ties of double-layered asphalt systems whose upper layer (HMA or
hydrogen and carbon monoxide to hydrocarbon products that are WMA) was mixed and compacted at different temperatures simu-
mostly liquid at ambient temperature, such as alcohols, diesel fuel, lating different application conditions. This objective was accom-
kerosene, and waxes. The F–T wax is in the carbon chain length plished by performing Ancona Shear Testing Research and
ranging from C40 to C120, with a melting point of approximately Analysis (ASTRA) tests on double-layered specimens according to
100 °C. Thus, it can be considered a fluidifying agent suitable for the experimental plan schematized in Fig. 1.
WMA applications since it reduces the viscosity of the bitumen In particular, the upper layer of the tested double-layered sys-
above its melting point, allowing lower mixing and compaction tems consisted of a dense graded asphalt mixture prepared with
temperatures than traditional HMA, without affecting bitumen limestone aggregates and plain (P) or SBS polymer modified (M)
consistency at pavement service temperatures [2–5]. binder. A commercial organic additive (F–T synthesis wax) was
The use of WMA can lead to environmental benefits (reduced selected as warm modifier, obtaining four different mixes prepared
energy consumption, gas and fume emissions) as well as to opera- with both binders (P and M) including or not the synthetic wax. For
tional advantages such as longer hauling distances and extended each mixture, four double-layered slabs were prepared in the lab-
construction periods [2–5]. oratory varying the mixing and compaction temperatures of the
Clearly, the basic WMA challenge is the production of a pave- upper layer from 100 °C to 160 °C, for a total of 16 slabs, each
ment mixture characterized by at least the same performance of one representing a different interface configuration. It is worth
traditional HMA, thus able to assure acceptable in-service specifying that HMA was mixed and compacted also at low tem-
mechanical performance and durability. In this sense, it is worth peratures (100 °C and 120 °C) in order to simulate wrong applica-
noting that the mechanical properties of WMA mixes can vary in tion procedures whereas WMA was applied also at high
a large range mainly depending on the amount of additive and temperatures (140 °C and 160 °C) for comparison purposes.
the type of WMA technology used [3]. Hereafter, each system is coded as ‘‘XYnnn’’ depending on the
Generally, besides uncertainties regarding long-term WMA per- characteristics of the upper layer where ‘‘X’’ = H (hot mix asphalt)
formance, the most documented drawbacks related to the reduc- or W (warm mix asphalt), ‘‘Y’’ = P (plain bitumen) or M (modified
tion of mixing and compaction temperatures are greater bitumen) and ‘‘nnn’’ = 100, 120, 140 or 160 depending on the appli-
moisture susceptibility, higher rutting potential, reduced cracking cation temperature (in °C) of the upper layer. For example, WP100
resistance as well as coating and bonding problems depending means an upper layer realized with an asphalt mixture containing
on the adopted warm-mix asphalt technology, i.e. organic, chemi- the warm additive (W), prepared with plain bitumen (P) and
cal or foaming additives [3–5]. In this sense, F–T organic waxes applied at 100 °C.
should be able to offset the rutting problem since at in-service From each slab, eight cylindrical specimens were cored to be
temperatures they solidify (crystallize) providing enhanced stiff- tested at 20 °C with the ASTRA equipment carrying out a total of
ness and permanent deformation resistance. However, at mid- 128 interface shear tests by applying three different normal stress
range and low service temperatures, waxes may increase fatigue levels (3 replicates at 0.0 and 0.2 MPa and 2 replicates at 0.4 MPa).
and thermal cracking susceptibility [3–14]. Experimental data were also compared with the stress field of a
As anticipated, a further possible drawback of using WMA could typical flexible pavement calculated through a layered elastic the-
be a reduced interface shear strength. In this sense, possible reduc- ory (LET) model.
tion of interface shear strength due to low mixing and compaction
temperatures could make the environmental and economic advan-
3. Materials and methods
tages provided by WMA fruitless.
3.1. Materials
2. Research objective and description
Dense graded asphalt mixtures prepared in the laboratory were used for the
upper layer of the tested double-layered systems.
Despite the huge literature concerning shear strength of asphalt A plain bitumen, classified as 70/100 according to EN 12591, and a SBS polymer
interfaces, the influence of application and compaction tempera- modified binder, classified as PMB 25/55-75 according to EN 14023, were selected
tures has received no attention yet. In particular, since low as the base binders for this study.

Fig. 1. Experimental plan.


58 E. Pasquini et al. / Construction and Building Materials 88 (2015) 56–63

Table 1
Basic properties of binders.

Properties Standard Unit Value


HP WP HM WM
Penetration (25 °C) EN 1426 dmm 61 49 37 34
Softening point EN 1427 °C 45 49 78 79
Viscosity (100 °C) EN 13302 Pa  s 1.58 1.51 32.43 21.42
Viscosity (120 °C) EN 13302 Pa  s 0.42 0.36 4.68 4.11
Viscosity (140 °C) EN 13302 Pa  s 0.15 0.13 1.25 1.19
Viscosity (160 °C) EN 13302 Pa  s 0.07 0.06 0.49 0.48

Table 2
Basic properties of limestone aggregates.

Properties Standard Unit Value


0/4 4/8 8/12 12/20
Particle density EN 1097-6 mg/m3 2.76 2.75 2.74 2.71
L.A. coefficient EN 1097-2 % – – 16.0 –
Shape index EN 933-4 % – 12.8 7.5 10.5
Flakiness index EN 933-3 % – 10.5 11.8 13.8
Sand equivalent EN 933-8 % 78 – – –

Table 3 Fig. 3. Peak and friction envelopes.


Mixture gradations.

Sieves (mm) Upper layer mixture Lower layer mixture


% passing % passing
Crushed limestone aggregates provided in four different fractions (0/4, 4/8, 8/
20 100.0 100.0
12, 12/20 mm) were used to prepare the tested mixtures. A mineral limestone filler
14 96.5 100.0
was also used. The main physical and mechanical properties of different aggregate
10 87.1 90.8
fractions are given in Table 2.
6.3 62.4 68.7
To accomplish the objectives of this study, four dense graded asphalt mixtures
2 28.9 38.0
with same gradation and bitumen content were prepared for the upper layer of
0.5 17.7 19.5
double-layered systems using the above-mentioned raw materials. In particular,
0.25 14.5 15.0
two warm mixes respectively prepared with warm plain (WP) and warm polymer
0.063 9.0 7.3
modified (WM) binders were investigated. Moreover, two corresponding HMA pre-
pared with the same control bitumens (not wax-modified) were also used for com-
These bitumens were also modified by adding a commercial organic WMA addi- parison purpose by using HP and HM binders. A binder content of 5% by the weight
tive. The additive is a synthetic paraffin wax obtained from the Fischer–Tropsch (F– of the aggregate was selected for all mixtures in order to reduce the variables to be
T) process. A WMA additive dosage of 3% by weight of binder was selected as accounted for during the comparison of the mixes. The proportions of the different
recommended by the producer. The binder modification was obtained in the lab- aggregate fractions were selected in order to obtain a grading curve fulfilling typical
oratory where the prefixed amount of wax pellets was added to the hot binder Italian motorway technical specifications for dense graded wearing courses [15].
(150 °C) with a portable mixer operating at high stirring rates. The basic properties Such mixtures can be classified as AC14 according to EN 13108.
of studied bitumens are showed in Table 1. Finally, the lower layer of the tested specimens consisted of a dense graded
In particular, a coaxial viscometer was used to assess the dynamic viscosity of asphalt concrete taken from the asphalt plant and classified as AC14 according to
virgin and warm-modified binders at four different temperatures (100 °C, 120 °C, EN 13108. Such a mixture was prepared with limestone aggregates, having a maxi-
140 °C and 160 °C). mum size of 14 mm, and plain bitumen (50/70 penetration grade) dosed at 6.5% by
It is worth noting that wax modification slightly reduces viscosity at the the weight of the aggregate.
selected temperatures also leading to a certain stiffening effect by increasing soft- The selected design curve for the upper layer mixture is shown in Table 3 along
ening point and decreasing penetration value. with the mixture gradation of the lower layer material.

Fig. 2. Working scheme of ASTRA equipment.


E. Pasquini et al. / Construction and Building Materials 88 (2015) 56–63 59

Table 4 Finally, eight cylindrical specimens (diameter = 95 mm) were obtained by cor-
Envelope characteristic parameters of ASTRA test. ing from each slab to carry out ASTRA tests.

Configuration speak = c0 + r tg Upeak sres = r tg Ures


3.3. ASTRA test
2
c0 [MPa] Upeak [°] R Ures [°] R2
HP100 0.08 49.7 0.72 41.5 0.98 The ASTRA test allowed the evaluation of the influence of the mixing and com-
HP120 0.21 46.1 0.69 41.6 0.99 paction temperature of HMA and WMA on the interlayer shear strength of double-
HP140 0.45 43.4 0.82 43.4 0.97 layered cylindrical specimens.
HP160 0.45 45.2 0.99 40.6 0.99 The ASTRA device (Fig. 2), compliant with the European Standard prEN 12697-
48, consists of a direct shear box for the characterization of bituminous interface
WP100 0.08 45.8 0.98 39.7 0.99 performance [16,17].
WP120 0.13 46.7 0.81 43.2 0.94 A double-layered specimen is installed in two cylindrical half-boxes separated
WP140 0.38 42.0 0.58 40.9 0.96 by an unconfined interlayer shear zone. During the test, a constant horizontal dis-
WP160 0.44 51.5 0.92 41.8 0.96 placement rate of 2.5 mm/min occurs while a constant vertical load, perpendicular
HM100 0.15 46.2 0.61 40.6 0.98 to the interface plane, can be applied in order to generate a given normal stress (rn).
HM120 0.28 40.5 0.81 42.4 0.96 The whole apparatus is located in a climatic chamber with temperature and relative
HM140 0.49 44.5 0.97 42.5 0.99 humidity control.
HM160 0.53 41.0 0.99 39.8 0.98 This test returns a data-set where interlayer shear stress (s), horizontal (n) and
vertical (g) displacement are reported, allowing the calculation, for each specimen,
WM100 0.24 39.9 0.98 42.1 0.97 of the interlayer shear strength (speak) that represents the maximum value assumed
WM120 0.35 45.5 0.71 40.8 0.95 by s [16,18]. Carrying out ASTRA tests at various stress levels rn, it is possible to
WM140 0.56 42.0 0.90 42.9 0.99 obtain a complete assessment of failure and residual (post-peak) properties of
WM160 0.56 45.3 0.66 41.3 0.96 interfaces [16,18] in terms of peak and friction envelopes obtained as linear regres-
sion of the representative shear data (Fig. 3).
The envelope characteristic parameters are the pure shear resistance c0, the
3.2. Specimen preparation peak friction angle Upeak and the residual friction angle Ures. In particular, previous
studies [16,18,19] have shown how residual friction, inner cohesion, dilatancy and
Double-layered slabs with a plan dimension of 300  400 mm2 were compacted tack coat adhesion affect the interlayer shear resistance in multi-layered bitumi-
in the laboratory using a steel roller compactor compliant with EN 12697-33 and nous systems. Obviously, when no emulsion is applied, the adhesion quota is only
adopting a height-controlled compaction mode. due to the asphalt binder of the two layers and it could become negligible.
The lower layer was compacted at 150 °C with a thickness of 40 mm assuming a
target of 3% air voids content. Then, after cooling at room temperature for 4 h, a 4. Results and analysis
30 mm thick upper layer was compacted with a target air voids content of 4% vary-
ing the mixing and compaction temperature from 100 °C to 160 °C according to the
experimental program illustrated in Fig. 1. All upper layers (HMA and WMA mix- The overall results of ASTRA tests are summarized in Table 4 in
tures) were compacted at the same target air voids content to allow a reliable com- terms of envelope characteristic parameters c0, Upeak and Ures
parison of interface performance. A tack coat was not applied at the interface. coming from the peak and friction envelopes obtained as linear

Fig. 4. ASTRA test results: influence of application temperature.


60 E. Pasquini et al. / Construction and Building Materials 88 (2015) 56–63

regression of the representative shear data measured applying dif- type mixes) do not clearly affect the interface shear strength with
ferent normal stresses rn = 0.0, 0.2 and 0.4 MPa. respect to HMA mixes (H-type mixes) at any test temperature.
First of all, it is worth noting that the residual friction angle Ures In particular, the use of the selected warm technology slightly
is negligibly influenced by configuration characteristics (laying penalizes interface shear properties in the case of modification of
temperature, bitumen type, presence of warm technology). Thus, the plain 70/100 penetration grade bitumen (-P type mixes)
it is possible to assert that this envelope characteristic can be con- whereas a certain performance increase seems to be provided in
sidered as an intrinsic property of the interface since it appears to the case of the SBS polymer modified binder (-M type mixes), espe-
be mainly dependent on the granulometric composition of the cially at low application temperatures.
aggregates. On the other hand, variations of peak friction angle This finding is in accordance with viscosity test results reported
Upeak as well as significant changes of the pure shear resistance in Table 1 and could be explained by the fact that the selected wax
c0 were observed among the different interface configurations as additive mainly carries out its ‘‘warm function’’ in the presence of
discussed in the following. high viscosity binders (e.g. polymer modified bitumen at low
temperatures).

4.1. Influence of application temperature of the upper layer

As far as the influence of application temperature on the inter- 4.3. Influence of bitumen type
face shear strength concerns, Table 4 and Fig. 4 clearly show that,
as expected, the higher the mixing and compaction temperature of Experimental data reported in Table 4 and depicted in Fig. 5 also
the upper layer, the higher the shear strength at the interface, allow the evaluation of the influence of bitumen type on interface
regardless of bitumen type and presence of warm technology. shear properties of the studied double-layered asphalt systems.
Overall, it can be noted that an evident enhancement of inter- Such findings evidently demonstrate that, at any test tempera-
face shear strength is provided by increasing mixing and com- ture, the interface shear strength in the case of an upper layer pre-
paction temperatures from 100 °C to 140 °C (in particular from pared with the asphalt mixture containing a SBS polymer modified
120 °C to 140 °C) whereas minor variations occur between 140 °C binder (-M type mixes) is noticeably higher than that experienced
and 160 °C. in the case of plain 70/100 penetration grade bitumen (-P type
mixes), regardless of the use of the warm additive.
This result is likely due to the enhanced rheological properties
4.2. Influence of warm technology of the polymer modified binder which is able to guarantee an
improved shear strength at the interface with the underneath layer
Test results presented in Table 4 and Fig. 5 generally show that at any test condition (i.e. enhancing the adhesion and the inner
warm mixes obtained by adding a F–T wax organic additive (W- cohesion contribution to speak), particularly in absence of the

Fig. 5. ASTRA test results: influence of warm technology and bitumen type.
E. Pasquini et al. / Construction and Building Materials 88 (2015) 56–63 61

Fig. 6. ASTRA test results for typical HMA and WMA applications.

adhesion contribution provided by the application of a bituminous 252 mm


tack coat at the interface.

5. Discussion FV = 30 kN
FH = 24 kN
Experimental results emerged during the present research
x
involve important practical considerations concerning field pave-
ment performance. In fact, the main finding of the study is that z 168 mm
mixing and compaction temperatures of the upper layer below Asphalt Concrete (E = 3000 MPa)
140 °C could not be able to guarantee the required bonding with
the underneath layer in the case of both HMA and WMA materials
prepared with plain or polymer modified bitumens.
In this sense, the results depicted in Fig. 4 for HP and HM mix-
tures suggest that in case of improper laying operations (applica-
tion temperature 6 120 °C) of such traditional hot mixes, a
Granular Base (E = 300 MPa) 350 mm
significant decrease of interface shear strength will occur leading
to reduced overall efficiency of the pavement system (hindered full
transmission of horizontal shear stress between asphalt layers) or
even to de-bonding phenomena, in particular in the case of inter-
faces located close to the road surface where the shear stresses
transmitted by vehicles remain still high. In fact, a too much low
Subgrade (E = 30 MPa)
shear strength at the interface could imply the risk of delamination
between the wearing and the binder courses causing both struc- Fig. 7. Adopted LET simulation model.
tural and functional damage to the pavement.
Similar remarks can be made also in the case of proper laying of
warm mixes (low application temperatures) as depicted in Fig. 6. was selected because it is recognized as a simple and effective tool
In fact, data reported in such a figure are selected hypothesizing for a first-approach analysis of the pavement response. A sche-
typical warm applications of asphalt mixes prepared with plain or matic representation of the adopted LET model is given in Fig. 7.
polymer modified binders. In particular, assuming an abatement of In particular, a three-layered pavement model was adopted.
application temperatures with respect to plain HMA (typical appli- Such a model comprised of a 168 mm asphalt surface layer, a
cation temperature 140 °C) of at least 20 °C, it is assumed that WP- 350 mm granular base and a subgrade. Typical elastic moduli (E)
type mixes will be applied at temperatures equal or below 120 °C. of 3000, 300 and 30 MPa were assigned to the asphalt concrete
Similarly, laying temperatures of WM-type mixes could be 140 °C (20 °C), granular base and subgrade, respectively. Moreover, the
or 120 °C with respect to 160 °C, typical application temperature Poisson’s ratio was chosen equal to 0.30 for the asphalt concrete
for hot polymer modified asphalt mixtures. Results show that, in [20] and the granular base whereas a value of 0.40 was selected
the case of plain mixes, the warm application will involve a sub- for the subgrade. Full bonding between adjacent layers was also
stantial reduction of interface shear strength, whereas no perfor- assumed. A single tire loading was simulated by means of vertical
mance decrease will be experienced by polymer modified and horizontal static loads evenly applied on a circular area having
materials if the application temperatures of warm-modified mix- a diameter (D) of 252 mm. The simultaneous application of a 30 kN
tures is not below 140 °C. vertical load (FV) along with a 24 kN horizontal load (FH) was
Thus, experimental results suggest that the application of WMA hypothesized. The LET model was implemented to calculate hori-
at low temperatures should be carefully designed as a function of zontal shear stresses sxz and vertical stresses rzz inside the asphalt
predicted stresses and strains at the interface. layer at different positions (x = 0, 42, 84, 125, 168, 210, 252, 378,
In this sense, experimental peak envelopes can be compared 504 and 756 mm; z = 42, 63, 84, 105, 126, 147 and 168 mm).
with the stress field of a typical flexible pavement calculated Fig. 8 shows in the Mohr’s plane the comparison between some
through a layered elastic theory (LET) model. Such a LET model representative peak envelopes obtained with ASTRA tests for hot
62 E. Pasquini et al. / Construction and Building Materials 88 (2015) 56–63

Fig. 8. Interface stress state vs. shear strength (x = distance from the loading centreline).

and warm materials prepared with plain and modified binders and the studied warm organic additive) leading to a lower risk of
the stress state at selected distances from the loading centreline delamination.
and at different depths (z = 42, 105 and 147 mm).
Results seem to confirm that, in the case of upper layers The stimulating results obtained in this study represent only
prepared with unmodified bitumens (Fig. 8 left), a low laying tem- the first attempt to evaluate the influence of the application tem-
perature (100 °C, 120 °C) of such layers (due to improper construc- perature of asphalt mixtures on the overall pavement performance
tion or use of warm mixes) along with the absence of a tack coat at through a comparative interface shear strength characterization.
the interface leads to high risk of delamination, even for 105 mm Such first study intended to investigate different significant aspects
deep interface. On the other hand, good performance should be using a reliable approach. However, a statistical validation of the
ensured in the case of proper laying temperatures (140 °C). The achieved conclusions should be performed using higher amount
same problems related to low laying temperatures should not of experimental data. Further studies should also be carried out
happen in the case of upper layers containing polymer modified to investigate, for example, the influence on interface shear
bitumens (Fig. 8 right) thanks to the enhanced rheological proper- strength of other types of warm additives (chemical or foaming
ties of such binders which guarantee a shear strength higher than products) and/or asphalt mixtures (e.g. porous asphalts, hot-
the calculated stress state also in the case of interfaces located recycled mixtures, etc.). Moreover, the possible use of a tack coat
close to the road surface at any distance from the loading (prepared with plain or modified bitumen) should also be taken
centreline. into account.

6. Conclusions
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