Nebraska LTAP


Date of this Version


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Haghshenas, H., and Rea, R. (2019). "Asphalt Binder Laboratory Short-Term Aging". NDOT Research Report.


The Rolling Thin Film Oven (RTFO) is widely used to simulate asphalt binder short-term aging. However, there is a general interest to improve the current short-term aging protocol especially for reducing the aging time. Besides, there are some doubts about the capability of RTFO in the simulation of aging of highly polymer modified asphalt binders which is mainly due to improper dispersion of such binders in the bottles during rotating and creeping of highly viscous binder out of the bottles during rotation. This work addresses the effect of time, temperature, airflow rate, and weight of asphalt binder on the laboratory short-term aging of asphalt binders and proposes an alternative protocol that can reduce the aging time and resolve some of the current short-term aging protocol shortcomings. In the first part of this study, two asphalt binders, from different sources, were examined in RTFO at different combinations of the above-mentioned test parameters. The high-end continuous performance grading temperature (estimated by dynamic shear rheometer), and carbonyl index (estimated by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy) were considered as the two responses for quantification and qualification of laboratory aging. The statistical analysis showed that the first order terms of time, temperature, and weight as well as their interactive terms were statistically significant. However, the effect of airflow rate, within the studied range, was insignificant. Based on the findings of the first part of study, an alternative protocol was proposed for the study of short-term aging in a RTFO. One unmodified and three highly modified binders were aged in a RTFO under the current and proposed aging conditions for comparative purposes. According to the obtained rheological (high- and low-end continuous performance grading temperature and viscosity) properties as well as the chemical characteristics (carbonyl index, saturate-aromatic-resin-asphaltene fractions, and oxygen content), it was shown that the proposed laboratory short-term aging protocol not only can reduce the aging time of the conventional protocol, but also that it is applicable to both neat and polymer-modified modern asphalt binders.