The Influence of Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement on the Mechanical Performance of Bituminous Mixtures. An Analysis at the Mortar Scale
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AuthorHidalgo Arroyo, Ana Elena; Moreno Navarro, Fernando Manuel; Tauste Martínez, Raúl; Rubio Gámez, María Del Carmen
Bituminous mixturesRAPRejuvenatorsSustainabilityFatigueWater sensitivity
Hidalgo, A.E.; Moreno-Navarro, F.; Tauste, R.; Rubio-Gámez, M.C. The Influence of Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement on the Mechanical Performance of Bituminous Mixtures. An Analysis at the Mortar Scale. Sustainability 2020, 12, 8343. [https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208343]
The main characteristics of bituminous mixtures manufactured with a considerable amount of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP), compared to conventional mixtures, are a reduction in workability, an increase in stiffness, and a loss of ductility, due to the presence of the aged bitumen contained in the RAP particles. To minimize these impacts, softer binders or rejuvenators are commonly used in the design of these mixtures in order to restore part of the ductility lost and to reduce the stiffness. In spite of previous investigations demonstrating that the mortar plays an essential role in the workability, long-term performance, and durability of bituminous mixtures (where cracking, cohesion, and adhesion problems all start at this scale), not many studies have assessed the impacts caused by the presence of RAP. In response to this, the present paper analyzes the workability, fatigue performance, and water sensitivity of bituminous mortars containing different amounts of RAP (from 0% to 100%) and rejuvenators. Mortar specimens were compacted using a gyratory compactor and studied via dynamic mechanical analysis under three point bending configuration. The results demonstrated that the presence of RAP reduces the workability and ductility of asphalt mortars. However, it also causes an increase in their stiffness, which induces a more elastic response and causes an increase in their resistance to fatigue, which could compensate for the loss of ductility. This aspect, together with the low water sensitivity shown, when using Portland cement as an active filler, would make it possible to produce asphalt materials with high RAP contents with a similar long-term mechanical performance as traditional ones. In addition, the use of rejuvenators was demonstrated to effectively correct the negative workability and ductility impacts caused by using RAP, without affecting the fatigue resistance and material adhesion/cohesion.