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This thesis describes the development and application of a virtual microstructure generator incorporated with post-processing image analysis methods that can be used to fabricate a virtual, two-dimensional microstructure of asphaltic mixtures. In the generator, geometrical characteristics such as aggregate gradation, aggregate area fraction, angularity, orientation, and elongation were used to transform data from a three-dimensional (3D) mixture into its two-dimensional (2D) microstructure. The 2D virtual microstructures were generated from real 3D mixture information of asphaltic composites. Resulting virtual microstructures were then compared to real cross-sectional microstructure images obtained from actual samples for validation. Comparison presented a good agreement between the virtual and real microstructures, which demonstrates that the new 3D-2D transformation algorithms were properly developed and implemented into the virtual microstructure generator. Although much future work is required, the current development is at least sufficient to demonstrate the benefits and potential of this effort. Virtual fabrication and testing can result in significant time and cost savings compared to more expensive and repetitive laboratory fabrication and performance tests of actual specimens.
Adviser: Yong-Rak Kim