Civil and Environmental Engineering


First Advisor

Yong Rak Kim

Date of this Version

Summer 8-2-2017


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Civil Engineering, Under the Supervision of Professor Yong-Rak Kim. Lincoln, Nebraska: July, 2017

Copyright © 2017 Santosh Reddy Kommidi


Fatigue cracking in asphalt concrete (AC) is of immense importance to pavement design and analysis because it is one of the most important forms of distress that can lead to structural failure in pavement. Once started, these types of cracks can be combined with other environmental factors leading to detrimental effects such as faster rates of pavement deterioration and shortened pavement life and functionality.

Currently AASHTO TP101, also known as linear amplitude sweep (LAS) specification, is being widely used to evaluate the ability of an asphalt binder to resist fatigue. The LAS method, although mechanistic in its approach, has certain drawbacks. First, the test is performed on an aged 2-mm thick binder sample, which in reality may never exist in the AC where there is a varying non-uniform thickness of the binder across the components of the AC. Secondly, the test methodology predicts an increased fatigue resistance at lower strain levels of load when the binder ages. This is in contrast to the general belief among researchers that aging is one of the primary contributors to the acceleration of pavement cracking.

This study aims to evaluate fatigue resistance in a more realistic approach that is more likely to exist in AC by incorporating sand asphalt mixtures. First, the linear viscoelastic properties of binder and sand asphalt mixture samples were evaluated to obtain the material properties under the influence of aging. Later, the fatigue tests on the sand asphalt mixture were investigated to understand the influence of a thin film of binder on the fatigue resistance. It was observed that based energy dissipation criterion for the binder evaluated a reasonable estimate for fatigue damage at relatively lower temperatures, but was limited to capture the influence of aging. Moreover, it was observed that fatigue testing on a binder at an intermediate temperature of 25 °C could cause edge effects to dominate as seen in the plateau regime for the phase angle in the time sweep tests. In order to overcome the edge effects in the binder LAS tests, the sand asphalt mixture testing was used for analyzing the binder fatigue resistance. Sand asphalt mixture testing could capture the microcracking and macrocracking phases more distinctively when compared to binder testing. In the case of pressure aging vessel (PAV) aged samples, it was observed that the macrocracking phase disappeared and was replaced by sudden changes in the material properties, indicating that the PAV aged mixture was more susceptible to fatigue cracking. By using the simplified viscoelastic continuum damage approach, the fatigue resistance of the binder and sand asphalt mixture was evaluated. The sand asphalt mixture testing was better to capture the influence of aging and changes in the microstructure during fatigue in comparison to binder fatigue tests.

Advisor: Yong-Rak Kim