Viscosity, stiffness and deformation of bituminous materials

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1 Chapter 28 Viscosity, stiffness and deformation of bituminous materials 28.1 Viscosity and rheology of binders The viscosity of a liquid is the property that retards flow, so when a force is applied to a liquid, the higher the viscosity, the slower will be its movement. The viscosity of bitumen is dependent upon both its chemical make-up and its structure. In sol-type bitumens, the asphaltene micelles are well dispersed within the maltenes continuum. The viscosity depends on the relative amounts of asphaltenes and maltenes, decreasing as the asphaltene content reduces. In gel-type bitumens, where the asphaltene micelles have aggregated, the viscosity is higher and dependent upon the extent of aggregation. The degree of dispersion of the asphaltenes is controlled by the relative amounts of resins, aromatics and saturated oils. If there are sufficient aromatics they form a stabilising layer around the asphaltene micelles, promoting the dispersion. However, if they are not present in sufficient quantity the micelles will tend to join together. A schematic representation of the two states is shown in Fig (The Shell Bitumen Handbook, 1990). In practice most bitumens are somewhere between these two states. The maltenes continuum is influenced by the saturated oils, which have low molecular weight and consequently a low viscosity. These saturates have little solvent power in relation to the asphaltenes, so that as the saturate fraction increases, there is a greater tendency for the asphaltenes to aggregate to form a gel structure. Thus a high proportion of saturates on the one hand tends to reduce viscosity because of their low molecular weight, but on the other hand encourages aggregation of the asphaltene micelles, which increases viscosity. The relative importance of these two opposing effects depends on the stabilising influence on the asphaltenes of the aromatics. The asphaltenes exert a strong influence on viscosity in three ways. Firstly, the viscosity increases as Fig The structure of bitumen: (a) schematic diagram of a sol-type bitumen; (b) schematic diagram of a gel-type bitumen (from The Shell Bitumen Handbook, 2003). the asphaltene content increases. Secondly, the shape of the asphaltene particles governs the extent of the change in viscosity. The asphaltene particles are thought to be formed from stacks of plate-like sheets 218

2 Viscosity, stiffness and deformation of bituminous materials of aromatic/naphthenic ring structures. These sheets are held together by hydrogen bonds. However, the asphaltenes can also form into extended sheets and combine with aromatics and resins so that the particle shape varies. Thirdly, the asphaltenes may tend to aggregate, and the greater the degree of aggregation the higher is the viscosity Empirical measurement of viscosity The physical behaviour of bitumen is complex and to describe its properties over a wide range of operating conditions (temperature, loading rate, stress and strain) would require a large number of tests. To avoid this and simplify the situation, the mechanical behaviour and rheological properties of bitumen have traditionally been described using empirical tests and equations. The two consistency tests required in the European Standard BS EN to characterise different bitumen paving grades are the needle penetration test (BS EN 1426) and the ring and ball softening point test (BS EN 1427). These tests provide an indication of the consistency (hardness) of the bitumen without completely characterising the viscoelastic response, and form the basis of the bitumen specification. The softening point is the temperature at which a bitumen reaches a specified level of viscosity. This viscosity is defined by the ring and ball test apparatus as the consistency at which a thin disc of bitumen flows under the weight of a 10 mm diameter steel ball by a distance of 25 mm. Figure 28.2 shows a diagrammatic representation of the test. The more viscous the bitumen, the higher the temperature at which this level of viscosity is reached. Another test that is commonly applied to bitumens, and is the basis for their characterisation, is the penetration test. The test measures hardness, but this is related to viscosity. The test consists of measuring the depth to which a needle penetrates a sample of bitumen under a load of 100 g over a period of 5 seconds at a temperature of 25 C. Thus the test differs from the softening point test in that, rather than determining an equiviscous temperature, the viscosity is determined at a particular temperature. However, because bitumen is viscoelastic, the penetration will depend on the elastic deformation as well as the viscosity. Therefore, since viscosity changes with temperature, different bitumens may have the same hardness at 25 C but different hardnesses at other temperatures. It is the varying elasticity of Fig Apparatus for ring and ball softening point test. bitumens which prevents correlation between these empirical tests Measurement of viscosity Viscosity is the measure of the resistance to flow of a liquid and, as discussed in section 5.1, is defined as the ratio between the applied shear stress and the rate of shear strain measured in units of Pascal seconds (Pa.s). In addition to this absolute or dynamic viscosity, viscosity can also be measured as kinematic viscosity in units of m 2 /s or, more commonly, mm 2 /s with 1 mm 2 /s being equivalent to 1 centistoke (cst). The viscosity of bitumen can be measured with a variety of devices in terms of its absolute and kinematic viscosities. Specifications are generally based on a measure of absolute viscosity at 60 C and a minimum kinematic viscosity at 135 C, using vacuum and atmospheric capillary tube viscometers, respectively. Absolute viscosity can also be measured using a fundamental method known as the sliding plate viscometer. The sliding plate test monitors force and displacement on a thin layer of bitumen contained between parallel metal plates at varying combinations of temperature and loading time. 219

3 Bituminous materials The force of resistance, F, depends on the area of the surfaces, A, the distance between them, d, and the speed of movement of one plate relative to the other, V, such that: F AV =h (28.1) d The factor h is the coefficient of viscosity (absolute viscosity), and is given by: Fd h= = AV Shearstress Rate of strain (28.2) The relationship between dynamic viscosity (absolute viscosity) and kinematic viscosity is expressed as: Kinematic viscosity Dynamic viscosity = (28.3) Massdensity The rotational viscometer test (ASTM D ) is currently considered to be the most practical means of determining the viscosity of bitumen. The Brookfield rotational viscometer and thermocel system allow the testing of bitumen over a wide range of temperatures (more so than most other viscosity measurement systems). The rotational viscometer consists of one cylinder rotating coaxially inside a second (static) cylinder containing the bitumen sample, all contained in a thermostatically controlled environment. The material between the inner cylinder and the outer cylinder (chamber) is therefore analogous to the thin bitumen film found in the sliding plate viscometer. The torque on the rotating cylinder or spindle is used to measure the relative resistance to rotation of the bitumen at a particular temperature and shear rate. The torque value is then altered by means of calibration factors to yield the viscosity of the bitumen Influence of temperature on viscosity Bitumens are thermoplastic materials so that they soften as the temperature rises but become hard again when the temperature falls. The extent of the change in viscosity with temperature varies between different bitumens. It is clearly important, in terms of the performance of a bitumen in service, to know the extent of the change in viscosity with temperature. This is referred to as temperature susceptibility and, for bitumens, is determined from the penetration value, P, and softening point temperature, T. These are related empirically by the expression: log P = AT + k (28.4) where A is the temperature susceptibility of the logarithm of penetration and k is a constant. From this relationship, an expression has been developed (Pfeiffer and Van Doormaal, 1936) that relates A to an index, known as the penetration index, PI, such that for road bitumens the value of PI is about zero. d(log P) 20 - PI A = = dt 50( 10 + PI) (28.5) It has been determined that, for most bitumens, the penetration at their softening point (SP) temperature is about 800. Thus if the penetration at 25 C and the softening point temperature are known, the PI can be evaluated from: d(log P) log800 - log P = = dt SP PI 50( 10 + PI) (28.6) For example, for a 40/60 pen bitumen with a softening point of 48 C: d(log P) log800 - log = = = dt (28.7) Therefore: = 20 - PI 50( 10 + PI) giving PI = Pfeiffer and Van Dormaal produced a nomograph (Fig. 28.3) to evaluate the above expression, and it can be seen that for the above example a similar result is obtained. Bitumens for road use normally have a PI in the range -2 to +2. If the PI is low, bitumens are more Newtonian in their behaviour and become very brittle at low temperatures. High-PI bitumens have marked time-dependent elastic properties and give improved resistance to permanent deformation. The influence of chemical composition on temperature susceptibility is illustrated in Fig In general the PI increases as the asphaltene content increases at the expense of the aromatics. This change can be achieved by controlled air blowing Resistance of bitumen to deformation Since bitumen is a viscoelastic material, the response to an applied load depends on the size of the load, 220

4 Viscosity, stiffness and deformation of bituminous materials Fig Nomograph to evaluate penetration index from softening point and penetration (after Pfeiffer and Doormaal, 1936). 100 the temperature, and the duration of its application. In other words there is no simple relationship between stress and strain and it is therefore difficult to predict the elastic modulus (or equivalent Young s modulus) of bitumen. To take account of the viscoelastic nature of bitumen, Van der Poel (1954) introduced the concept of stiffness modulus. This modulus is dependent on both temperature and time of loading, and is given by: S t,t = σ e t,t (28.8) where σ is the tensile stress and e t,t is the resultant strain after loading for time t at temperature T. Figures 28.5 and 28.6 illustrate the effect of loading time and temperature for bitumens of different PI. For low-pi bitumens (Fig. 28.5) the stiffness is constant for very short loading times and virtually independent of temperature. This represents elastic behaviour. For longer loading times the curves have a consistent slope of 45 and have a significant variation with temperature, indicating viscous behaviour. The effect of increasing PI can be seen by comparing Figs 28.5 and High-PI bitumens are much stiffer at high temperatures and longer loading times. Thus under conditions that are more likely to give rise to deformation, namely slow moving or stationary traffic and high temperatures, a high-pi bitumen offers greater resistance to deformation by virtue of its higher stiffness and more elastic response. When considering a bituminous mixture consisting of a graded aggregate bound with bitumen, the 90 Saturates Percentage Aromatics Resins Asphaltenes Penetration index Fig Relationship between chemical composition and penetration index (after Lubbers, 1985). Fig The effect of temperature and loading time on stiffness of a low-pi bitumen (from The Shell Bitumen Handbook, 2003). 221

5 Bituminous materials Fig The effect of temperature and loading time on stiffness of a high-pi bitumen (from The Shell Bitumen Handbook, 2003). stiffness of the mixture is dependent on the stiffness of the bitumen and the quantity and packing of aggregate in the mixture (Van der Poel, 1955). The quantity and packing of aggregate particles depend on grading, particle shape and texture, and method of compaction Determination of permanent deformation Rutting of bituminous pavements is the most common type of failure in the UK. It is therefore important to be able to predict the permanent deformation for a bituminous mixture, and this depends on the low stiffness response, that is the stiffness at long loading times and high temperatures, as well as the balance between the viscous (non-recoverable) and elastic (recoverable) components of the mixture s deformation. Two tests that have been commonly used to determine the permanent deformation properties of bituminous mixtures are the creep test (usually under repeated loading) and the wheel tracking test. In the creep test (known as the repeated load axial test (RLAT) in the UK), a repeating uniaxial load of 0.1 MPa, with a loading time of 1 second and a rest period of 1 second, is applied to a cylindrical specimen for 2 hours at 40 C. During the test, deformation is measured as a function of time. Although simple, the repeated load axial test is extremely convenient and allows the relative performance of different bituminous mixtures to be easily determined. It is often criticised as being too severe as the test does not employ a confining stress. Fig Wheel tracking test. In-situ materials will clearly be confined and the effect of the confining stress on the vertical strain may be important. However, the severe nature of the test does mean that intrinsically poor materials can easily be identified, and there is good correlation between creep tests and permanent deformation performance in the road. The wheel tracking test can be considered to be a simulative test. Figure 28.7 shows a diagrammatic representation of a laboratory-scale wheel tracking test. In the UK, the wheel tracking test is usually carried out at either 45 C or 60 C with an applied wheel load of 520 N. The performance of the bituminous mixture is assessed by measuring the resultant rut depth after a given number of passes or the rate of tracking in millimetres per hour Factors affecting permanent deformation Bitumen viscosity When a stress is applied to a bituminous material, both the aggregate particles and the bitumen will be subjected to the stress. But the aggregate particles, being hard and stiff, will undergo negligible strain, whereas the bitumen, being soft, will undergo considerable strain. Thus deformation is associated with movement in the bitumen, and the extent of the movement will depend on its viscosity Aggregate Bituminous mixtures that utilise a continuously graded aggregate, such as asphalt concretes, rely mainly on aggregate particle interlock for their resistance to deformation. Thus the grading and particle shape 222

6 Viscosity, stiffness and deformation of bituminous materials 10 Axial strain (%) 1 Hot rolled asphalt 50 C 40 C 30 C Asphalt concrete Number of 1 s load applications Fig Comparison of permanent strain for asphalt concrete and hot rolled asphalt mixtures. of the aggregate are major factors governing deformation. The characteristics of the fine aggregate are particularly important in gap-graded materials, which rely on a dense bitumen and fine mortar for their strength. These are the hot rolled asphalt and stone mastic asphalt mixtures. Sand particles can vary considerably from spherical glassy grains in dune sands, to angular and relatively rough grains from some pits. Mixtures made with a range of sands all at the same bitumen content have been shown to give deformations, when tested in the laboratory wheel tracking test, that varied by a factor of 4 from the best to the worst sand (Knight et al., 1979) temperature Figure 28.8 shows permanent strain against number of test cycles in a repeated load axial test. It can be seen that permanent strain increases with temperature. This is due to the reduction in viscosity of bitumen, the consequent reduction in bitumen stiffness and the accumulation of repeated, non-recoverable viscous deformations. The figure also indicates the effect of the aggregate grading. At low temperatures, the permanent strain in continuously graded asphalt concretes and gap graded hot rolled asphalts will be very similar. Here the high degree of aggregate particle interlock in the asphalt concrete and the high viscosity bitumen in the hot rolled asphalt provide a similar resistance to deformation. However, at higher temperatures, the hot rolled asphalt deforms more due to the reduced bitumen viscosity, which is not compensated by the aggregate interlock effect. In the asphalt concrete, although the bitumen will also be less stiff and viscous, the aggregate grading continues to provide a compensating resistance to deformation. References Hills JF, Brien D and Van de Loo PJ (1974). The correlation of rutting and creep tests on asphalt mixes, Institute of Petroleum, IP Knight VA, Dowdeswell DA and Brien D (1979). Designing rolled asphalt wearing courses to resist deformation. In Rolled Asphalt Road Surfacings, ICE, London. Lubbers HE (1985). Bitumen in de weg- en waterbouw. Nederlands Adviesbureau voor bitumentopassingen. Pfeiffer JPh and Van Doormaal PM (1936). The rheological properties of asphaltic bitumens. Journal of Institute of Petroleum, 22. Shell Bitumen (2003). The Shell Bitumen Handbook, Shell Bitumen, UK. Van der Poel C (1954). A general system describing the viscoelastic properties of bitumen and its relation to routine test data. Journal of Applied Chemistry, 4. Van der Poel C (1955). Time and temperature effects on the deformation of bitumens and bitumen mineral mixtures. Journal of the Society of Plastics Engineers,

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