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Research and Development (R&D) Project Sites

Project Information
Project ID:   FHWA-PROJ-08-0002
Project Name:   Development of Performance-Based Specifications for Asphalt Mixtures
Project Status:   Active
Start Date:  February 6, 2008
End Date:  July 31, 2014
Contact Information
Last Name:  Petros
First Name:  Katherine A
Telephone:  202-493-3154
E-mail:  katherine.petros@dot.gov
Office:   Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Team:   Infrastructure Analysis and Construction Team [HRDI-20]
Program:   Innovative Pavement Research and Deployment
Laboratory:   Bituminous Mixtures Laboratory
Project detail
Roadmap/Focus area(s):   Infrastructure Research and Technology Strategic Plan and Roadmap
Project Description:   This activity provides continued funding for the development of a performance-based specification for hot-mix asphalt. A cooperative agreement for this effort was awarded to North Carolina State University in February 2008. This effort addresses the topic of performance specifications by closing the gap of how well we can test and evaluate mixes to quantify expected future performance. This project will result in the testing and analysis methodology needed to set up a performance specification for asphalt mixes. A subsequent project (awarded in Sept. 2013) will incorporate this methodology into PaveSpec, a performance related specification software for pavements. A specification that allows agencies to specify expected performance and provides the ability to reliably quantify how well that expectation is met can help move pavement construction toward an emphasis on long-term performance. The development of performance specifications reside on a continuum from performance-related specifications to performance-based specifications.  Performance-related specifications describe the desired levels of key materials and construction quality characteristics that have been found to correlate with fundamental engineering properties that predict performance.  Performance-based specifications describe the desired levels of fundamental engineering properties that are predictors of performance and that appear in primary prediction relationships.  Over the past 10 years, the National Cooperative Highway Research Program 9-19 and the Federal Highway Administration have funded the development of hot-mix asphalt performance prediction models based on a viscoelastoplastic continuum damage theory that is based on fundamental engineering properties. The viscoelastoplastic continuum damage models are to the point where they have been validated and are now being refined and applied for use in a performance-based specification. This project is taking these advanced, fundamentally based models and applying them within a framework for a hot-mix asphalt performance-based specification. While the National Cooperative Highway Research Program 9-22 has a similar goal, the National Cooperative Highway Research Program effort was based on the Mechanistic-Empirical Design Guide models, which have significant limitations. The specification from this project will be based on three related levels of testing/analysis:  (1) Comprehensive laboratory testing with rigorous analysis.(2) Simplified testing and analysis using the asphalt mixture performance tester.(3) Inexpensive and quick impact resonance testing on a project to give maximum flexibility to specifying agencies.  The performance prediction capabilities of the underlying viscoelastoplastic continuum damage model are being validated with materials from the 2009 National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) Test Track construction and warm-mix asphalt experimental sections in Canada, as well as materials from in-service pavements in NY, South Korea and China. This project will also evaluate materials from the asphalt project in Louisiana that will demonstrate specifications from the Second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2) R07. It is expected that this specification should also work for predicting the long-term performance of warm-mix asphalt.
Goals:   The key project objective is to develop a performance-related specification for asphalt mixtures.
Product Type:   Research report
Test Methodology:   Laboratory testing and analysis of materials from projects worldwide.
Expected Benefits:   Developing a sound performance-based specification allows agencies to specify and purchase quality rather than methods. It would allow agencies to regard hot-mix asphalt pavements as a manufactured product, where the owner sets the expectations and commensurate rewards for achieving quality. The shift to more nontraditional contracting methods (such as design build and public-private partnerships) also creates a greater need for quality systems, where the owner isn't overseeing the day-to-day operations of a project. Having this sort of tool available for agencies will give them a greater ability to achieve quality, particularly when there is a lack of direct oversight. The performance prediction methodology to be developed can also be used with warranties to make an upfront determination on whether the terms of the warranty can be expected to be met.
Deliverables: Name: Analysis methodology (LVECD) with testing protocols.
Product Type(s): Research report, Software
Description: A software-based analysis system for use within a performance-related specification (PRS) for asphalt mixtures with varying levels of complexity that can be applied by State highway agencies. In addition, materials testing protocols to support the PRS implementation will be developed.
FHWA Topics:   Research/Technologies--FHWA Research and Technology
TRT Terms:   Asphalt Mixtures
Hot Mix Asphalt
Warm Mix Asphalt
FHWA Disciplines:   Pavement and Materials
Subject Areas:   Pavements


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