The design and optimisation of cold asphalt emulsion mixtures

Ojum, Chibuzor Kingsley (2015) The design and optimisation of cold asphalt emulsion mixtures. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

Road structures are important to the survival of nations. As the cost for the rehabilitation and maintenance of highways soars, civil engineers and administrators face the ever present difficulty of meeting current resurfacing and rehabilitation needs. The deterioration of road structures under growing traffic weight and volume is occurring faster than agencies envisaged coupled with increasingly scarce and expensive new materials required. It is now apparent that for planning, design and construction for road structures, the most efficient and cost effective processes, materials and practices available must be appropriately considered.

The use of recycled materials as a sustainable alternative is gaining significant worldwide attention. The overall purpose of this research was to conduct an in-depth investigation and analysis into the design and optimisation of Cold Asphalt Emulsion Mixtures (CAEMs) incorporating high contents of Reclaimed Asphalt Pavements (RAP). To achieve the objectives of the research, four proportions of RAP aggregate materials in addition to Virgin Aggregates (VA) were used as categorised below:

- Category 1: 0% RAP (no RAP, 100% VA)

- Category 2: 50% RAP (50% RAP, 50% VA)

- Category 3: 85% RAP (85% RAP, 15% VA)

- Category 4: 95% RAP (95% RAP, 5% VA)

The effect of mixing and compaction temperatures at 5°C, 20°C and 32°C and how cement at 0%, 1% and 3% OPC influenced the CAEMs was also investigated.

This study presents a practical mix design procedure to act as a guideline for CAEMs incorporating high RAP contents by identifying critical parameters for the various categories of CAEMs which stemmed from the fact that currently there is no universally accepted mix design. The proposed mix design guideline is presented in this thesis. The effect of accelerated curing was investigated to study the effects of temperature, curing duration, conditioning and the influence of cement on the CAEMs. The research showed that an increase in curing temperature results in an increase in the stiffness and strength of the CAEMs. The thesis presents results on the mechanical and performance properties which provided vital information on expected performance of CAEMs incorporating high contents of RAP for use as a road base material. The research was able to highlight the purported effects of residual binder in RAP which could contribute positively to the mechanical and performance properties of the CAEMs. This points to the fact that treating RAP as “black rock” is not the right approach. The RAP needs to be evaluated for its inherent properties and suitability for purpose. The stiffness and strength were investigated using the Indirect Tensile Stiffness Modulus (ITSM) and Indirect Tensile Strength (ITS) tests which proved useful in ranking them. The addition of 1% OPC improved the stiffness of Categories 1-3 mixtures by 32% with Category 4 having the highest increase at 89%. The inclusion of 3% OPC, more than doubled the stiffness values. The Indirect Tensile Fatigue Test (ITFT) was used to investigate the fatigue characteristics. Results showed that if the CAEMs with cement at 1% and 3% experienced strains in the region of 200µε, they tend to fail suddenly soon after crack initiation due to reduced flexibility of the CAEMs. This was more pronounced for the CAEMs at 3% OPC.

Resistance to permanent deformation was investigated using the Vacuum Repeated Load Axial Test (VRLAT) which showed that the mixing and compaction temperature influenced the permanent deformation characteristics of the CAEMs. Increasing OPC content to 1% for Categories 2 and 3 resulted in a decrease in permanent strains of 47% and at 3% OPC, the decrease in permanent strains was 54%. Wheel Tracking Test (WTT) was conducted to ascertain the susceptibility of the CAEMs to deform under loading, investigate crack propagation and number of cycles to failure. The test showed that the performance of the specimens was affected by the test temperature. Increased test temperatures resulted in an increased rate of rutting and eventual failure of the specimens. The test further highlighted the positive benefits of adding cement to the mixtures which resulted in reduced strains and an increased number of cycles to failure for the CAEMs. Structural design and modelling was conducted using KENLAYER which was able to account for the non-linearity of the CAEMs. This was crucial in having a total overview of these mixture types. Although, the structural design was based on practical hypothetical layer thicknesses, the results provided useful insight into the structural capabilities of the CAEMs. The RAP CAEMs generally had lower horizontal tensile strain values in comparison to the VA CAEMs. The design charts showed that an increase in the thickness of the base course and surfacing layer resulted in an increase in the overall fatigue life of the pavement structure. Overall, evaluating the complete findings of this research, CAEMs produced with high RAP contents especially at 50% and 85% RAP had considerably enhanced mechanical and performance properties and are suitable for inclusion as a base material for reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Thom, N.H.
Parry, T.
Keywords: Cold Asphalt Emulsion Mixtures, Reclaimed Asphalt Pavements, Structural Analysis, KENLAYER
Subjects: T Technology > TE Highway engineering. Roads and pavements
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering
Item ID: 30812
Depositing User: Ojum, Chibuzor
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2016 14:08
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 23:03
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/30812

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