Fatigue Behaviour of Hot Mix Asphalt for New Zealand Pavement Design
Thesis DisciplineCivil Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Engineering
Asphalt’s fatigue and modulus characteristics play an important role in pavement design. Ultimately they govern the required thickness of asphalt to structurally support heavy vehicles. The thickness of the asphalt layer is a major contributor to the cost of construction. In New Zealand, the design of structural asphalt layers has been a problem for some time and gives rise to two areas of concern. First, the present fatigue failure criterion, the Shell fatigue transfer function, which has been adopted from overseas, not only underestimates the fatigue life of the country’s asphalts, but does not accurately characterise the fatigue behaviour of our local asphalt mixes. Consequently, asphalt thicknesses are overdesigned. Second, asphalt’s fatigue behaviour is influenced by numerous factors and therefore can be difficult to characterise. The primary objective of this thesis is to develop fatigue and modulus models, by carrying out fatigue and modulus tests, to characterise the behaviour of two typical New Zealand structural asphalts. Both resilient and stiffness moduli tests were performed at a range of temperatures and loading rates developing moduli master curves, which predict the asphalt’s modulus for any pavement temperature and vehicle speed. A general full factorial experiment was carried out utilising the four-point flexural beam fatigue test. Tests were carried out at different strain levels, temperatures, and loading rates. An analysis of variance showed that the impacts of strain amplitude, temperature, binder type, the interaction of strain amplitude and temperature, and the interaction of strain amplitude and binder type have a significant effect on fatigue behaviour. The developed models, which account for temperature effects give the pavement engineer the ability to undergo a more accurate assessment of fatigue damage than at present for different climatic temperatures demonstrated by using an incremental damage analysis approach. The research shows that with such characterisation for the given pavement’s design life, thinner and less expensive roads can be constructed in New Zealand.