Date of this Version
Published in International Journal of Pavement Engineering 12:4 (August, 2011), p. 289; doi: 10.1080/10298436.2011.600811.
Over the last couple of decades there has been a significant shift from the use of empirical approaches toward the use of mechanics and materials science to characterize the performance of bituminous materials. The macroscopic performance of the asphalt composite depends on the fundamental physical, chemical, thermal, and mechanical properties of the constituent materials and the interaction between these materials at different length scales (nano, micro, meso, and macro).
A high level of complexity is introduced to characterize and model bituminous materials due to significant heterogeneity at different length scales and various forms of distress that are typically coupled with processes such as moisture diffusion, temperature variation, aging of asphalt binder, and self-healing of asphalt binder. Given the complex nature of the problem and the multiple scales at which it can be addressed, it is reasonable to expect that an individual researcher can at best focus on few aspects of the problem.