Skip to contentUnited States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration FHWA Home
Research Home
Report
This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number: FHWA-RD-97-148

User Guidelines for Waste and Byproduct Materials in Pavement Construction

[ Material Description ] [ Asphalt Concrete ]

 

WASTE GLASS User Guideline

Granular Base

INTRODUCTION

Waste glass that has been crushed and screened has the potential for use as a granular base material. Glass that has been reduced to a fine aggregate size fraction (less than 4.75 mm (No. 4 sieve) in size) exhibits properties similar to that of a fine aggregate or sandy material, with relative high stability, due to the angular nature of crushed glass particles. Blending with other coarse conventional materials will typically be required to meet required granular base gradation specifications.

 

PERFORMANCE RECORD

No documented demonstrations or commercial applications of waste glass in granular base applications have been identified. Nonetheless, recent evaluations of glass aggregate properties suggest that properly processed waste glass blended with appropriately sized aggregates is well suited for use as a granular base material.(1)

 

MATERIAL PROCESSING REQUIREMENTS

Crushing and Screening

Waste glass should be crushed and screened prior to use to produce a material that will be free of sharp edges and glass slivers, and that will meet the requirements of a fine aggregate material, as defined by AASHTO M29.(2)

Cleaning

Waste glass should be free of ferrous and nonferrous metal, and the level of inorganic and organic debris should be reduced as much as practical. It has been recommended that levels of debris in the waste glass should be limited to 5 percent as determined by the American Geophysical Institute (AGI) test method.(3) The AGI test method is a visual test in which small samples are placed on a grid and extraneous debris counted and measured by weight.

 

ENGINEERING PROPERTIES

Some of the properties of waste glass that are of particular interest when glass is used in granular base applications include gradation, density, friction angle, bearing capacity, durability, and drainage characteristics.

Gradation: Crushed glass collected from Material Recovery Facilities can be expected to exhibit a relatively wide variation in top sizes. Differences in gradation are dependent, in great part, on the type of glass crushing equipment used. In general, however, crushed glass can be expected to be a well-graded material, and properly sized cullet or cullet-aggregate mixtures can yield engineering properties that compare very well with natural aggregates used in granular base applications. Waste glass should be crushed and screened to produce a material that satisfied the grading requirements of granular base specifications, such as AASHTO M147.(4)

Unit Weight and Compacted Density: Crushed glass has a unit weight of approximately 1120 kg/m3 (70 lb/ft3), which is lower than that of conventional aggregate. The compacted density of crushed glass will vary with the size and grading of the glass as well as the degree of contamination (extraneous debris, such as paper, plastic caps, and soil). A maximum dry density of approximately 1800 to 1900 kg/m3 (111 to 118 lb/ft3) has been reported, which is also somewhat lower than that of conventional granular material. Crushed glass exhibits a relatively flat moisture-density curve, which indicates that the compacted density is insensitive to moisture content.

Stability: Relatively high angles of internal friction (compared with conventional aggregates) of greater than 50 degrees have been reported for crushed glass with top sizes of 19 mm (3/4 in) and 6.4 mm (1/4 in). California Bearing Ratio (CBR) test results of crushed glass blended with conventional aggregate were found to exhibit values ranging from 42 to 125 percent for blends of 50 percent glass with crushed rock. Lower glass additions of 15 percent were found to exhibit values almost identical to that of the crushed rock used in the tests (approximately 133 percent).(1)

Durability: Larger size glass particles have marginal durability, as measured by the Los Angeles Abrasion test, with values of approximately 40 to 45 percent. This suggests that additional processing (crushing) of the waste glass would be desirable to eliminate the larger, less durable glass fraction.

Drainage: Crushed glass is a free-draining material that exhibits permeabilities ranging from 10-1 to 10-2 cm/sec, depending on the glass gradation.

 

DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS

Mix Design

Crushed waste glass (cullet) used in granular base applications should be limited to the replacement of fine aggregate sizes. Fine crushed glass contains durable sand-like particles and exhibits consistent properties. Recommended gradations are presented in Table 20-6. Crushed glass in this size range will perform as a highly stable (angular) fine aggregate material. It has been recommended that maximum cullet content should be limited to 15 percent in granular base applications and 30 percent in subbase applications.(1)

Table 20-6. Recommended cullet gradation for use as a structural fill or granular base material.(1)

Size % Finer
1/4-inch 10 - 100
No. 10 0 - 50
No. 40 0 - 25
No. 200 0 - 5

 

Maximum dry density of cullet-aggregate mixes should be determined by the Modified Proctor Test, ASTM D1557. Debris levels should be limited to 5 percent as determined by the American Geophysical Institute visual method(3) to ensure the use of a clean material.

Structural Design

Conventional AASHTO pavement structural design procedures can be employed for granular base containing waste glass.

 

CONSTRUCTION PROCEDURES

Storage and Material Handling

The same general methods and equipment used to handle conventional aggregates are applicable for waste glass. When combined with natural aggregates, crushed glass should be uniformly mixed.

Placing and Compacting

The same methods and equipment used to place and compact conventional aggregate can be used to place and compact waste glass.

Quality Control

The same field test procedures used for conventional aggregate are recommended for granular base applications when using waste glass. Standard laboratory and field test methods for compacted density are given by AASHTO T191(5), T205(6), T238(7), and T239(8).

 

UNRESOLVED ISSUES

Monitored field demonstration programs should be undertaken to better document the performance of granular glass bases in actual applications. Field density test methods, using the nuclear gage density test, require verification.

 

REFERENCES

  1. Washington State Department of Trade and Economic Development, Glass Feedstock Evaluation Project, 1993.

  2. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Standard Specification for Materials, "Fine Aggregate for Bituminous Paving Mixtures," AASHTO Designation: M29-83, Part I Specifications, 14th Edition, 1986.

  3. American Geophysical Institute. AGI Data Sheet 15.1 and 15.2, Comparison Chart for Estimating Percent Composition, 1982.

  4. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Standard Specification for Materials, "Aggregate and Soil-Aggregate Subbase, Base and Surface Courses," AASHTO Designation: M147-70 (1980), Part I Specifications, 14th Edition, 1986.

  5. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Standard Method of Test, "Density of Soil In-Place by the Sand Cone Method," AASHTO Designation: T191-86, Part II Tests, 14th Edition, 1986.

  6. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Standard Method of Test, "Density of Soil In-Place by the Rubber-Balloon Method," AASHTO Designation: T205-86, Part II Tests, 14th Edition, 1986.

  7. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Standard Method of Test, "Density of Soil and Soil-Aggregate in Place by Nuclear Methods (Shallow Depth)," AASHTO Designation: T238-86, Part II Tests, 14th Edition, 1986.

  8. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Standard Method of Test, "Moisture Content of Soil and Soil Aggregate in Place by Nuclear Methods (Shallow Depth)," AASHTO Designation: T239-86, Part II Tests, 14th Edition, 1986.

 

[ Material Description ] [ Asphalt Concrete ]

Previous | Table of Contents | Next

ResearchFHWA
FHWA
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration