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Study of Compaction in Hot-Mix Asphalt Using Computer Simulations

Authors: Kasthurirangan Gopalakrishnan, Naga Shashidhar, Xiaoxiong Zhong


During the process of compaction in Hot-Mix Asphalt (HMA) mixtures, the distance between aggregate particles decreases as they come together and eliminate air-voids. By measuring the inter-particle distances in a cut-section of a HMA sample the degree of compaction can be estimated. For this, a calibration curve is generated by computer simulation technique when the gradation and asphalt content of the HMA mixture are known. A two-dimensional cross section of HMA specimen was simulated using the mixture design information (gradation, asphalt content and air-void content). Nearest neighbor distance methods such as Delaunay triangulation were used to study the changes in inter-particle distance and area distribution during the process of compaction in HMA. Such computer simulations would enable making several hundreds of repetitions in a short period of time without the necessity to compact and analyze laboratory specimens in order to obtain good statistics on the parameters defined. The distributions for the statistical parameters based on computer simulations showed similar trends as those of laboratory specimens.

Keywords: Computer simulations, Hot-Mix Asphalt (HMA), inter-particle distance, image analysis, nearest neighbor

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