Modelling the flow of asphalt under simulated compaction using discrete element

Publisher's full text
Manfred N. Partl
Denis Jelagin

The flow differences between the particles of asphalt mixtures compacted in the laboratory and in the field have been identified as one of the reasons for the discrepancies between laboratory and field results. In previous studies, the authors developed a simplified test method, the so-called compaction flow test (CFT), for roughly simulating the flow of particles in asphalt mixtures under compacting loads in laboratory. The CFT was used in different studies to examine its capability of revealing the differences between the flow behavior of different asphalt mixtures under various loading modes. The promising results encouraged further development of the CFT by investigating the possible impacts of simplifications and boundary conditions on the results of this test. For this reason, discrete element method (DEM) was utilized to investigate possible impacts of the mold size, geometry of the loading strip as well as the loading rate on the results of the CFT. The results of the simulation indicate that in case of wearing course layers with nominal maximum aggregate size of 11 mm, the length of the CFT mold can be increased from 150 mm to 200–250 mm for reducing flow disturbances from the mold walls. However, since the majority of the flow of asphalt mixture particles is expected to take place within the first 100–150 mm length of the mold, reasonable results can still be obtained even without changing the size of the CFT mold. Moreover, comparing results with different loading strip geometries and loading rates indicates that the current CFT setup still appears to provide consistent results.

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