Harmonizing Asphalt Mix Selection with Pavement Structural Design

Mahdi Saghafi, University of Texas at El Paso


The state-of-the-practice in asphalt concrete (AC) mix design and pavement structural design are based on two divergent concepts. The laboratory tests that are used for mix design, especially under the balanced mix design concept, are pragmatically accelerated surrogate tests developed to ensure the stability or ranking of mixes. Pavement structural design methods, being empirical or mechanistic, ignore these laboratory test results, in favor of other mechanical parameters. As such, the selection of the type of mix to be placed on a project is based on the local experience, and a set of consensus limits, rather than the demand of the pavement section. A harmonized strategy that integrates the results from mix tests with the pavement structure, material properties, environmental conditions, and traffic levels can lead to an optimized pavement system. A framework is proposed to incorporate the laboratory wheel tracking device test results into the rutting analysis associated with most mechanistic-empirical structural design algorithms. The proposed framework was applied to several full-scale testing pavements and fifteen in-service pavement test sections to demonstrate its feasibility. By balancing the rutting demand of an asphalt layer with the rutting capacity of a given mix, the proposed method can potentially lend itself to the use of local materials for a more economical and sustainable pavement structure.

Subject Area

Civil engineering

Recommended Citation

Saghafi, Mahdi, "Harmonizing Asphalt Mix Selection with Pavement Structural Design" (2021). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI28714412.