Validation of Superpave mixture design and analysis procedures using the NCAT test track

Sivaranjan Sivasubramaniam, Purdue University


The Indiana Department of Transportation was one of the first user agencies to adopt Superpave mixture design method and its relevant specifications. This adoption is expected to provide considerable benefits. However, long-term data is not yet available. When National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) decided to build and test pavement test sections for accelerated testing, Indiana saw an opportunity to validate the new mixture design method. It participated in the pooled fund study by sponsoring two pavement sections. Further, efforts were made to establish rutting performance relationships between the Accelerated Pavement Tester (APT), the PURWheel, and the in-service pavement and to investigate the temperature effects on the rutting performance. Finite element modeling technique was used to model rutting development. Hot-Mix Asphalt Mixture (HMA) is a time, temperature, and stress dependent material and therefore can be characterized using a visco-plastic (creep) model. Commercial finite element software, ABAQUS was used in the finite element modeling analysis and it indicated that the finite element modeling is capable of capturing the rutting phenomena of the HMA. Track rutting was modeled by separating the rutting development into seven different regions to account for the temperature variation. Further, adjustments are required on the finite element modeling data to account for the initial densification of HMA for regions II through VII. Using the rut depth history data from the APT, and the PURWheel, the creep material properties were determined and used as inputs in the NCAT track model. Results indicated that using the finite element approach, strong relationships can be established between the APT, the PURWheel, and the NCAT test track rutting. The rutting performance of the NCAT mixtures indicated that when the Superpave mixtures were constructed properly using quality materials, they provide adequate rutting performance.




Haddock, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Civil engineering

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