Characterizing permanent deformation and fracture of asphalt mixtures by using compressive dynamic modulus tests

Yuqing Zhang*, Rong Luo, Robert L. Lytton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Permanent deformation and fracture may develop simultaneously when an asphalt mixture is subjected to a compressive load. The objective of this research is to separate viscoplasticity and viscofracture from viscoelasticity so that the permanent deformation and fracture of the asphalt mixtures can be individually and accurately characterized without the influence of viscoelasticity. The undamaged properties of 16 asphalt mixtures that have two binder types, two air void contents, and two aging conditions are first obtained by conducting nondestructive creep tests and nondestructive dynamic modulus tests. Testing results are analyzed by using the linear viscoelastic theory in which the creep compliance and the relaxation modulus are modeled by the Prony model. The dynamic modulus and phase angle of the undamaged asphalt mixtures remained constant with the load cycles. The undamaged asphalt mixtures are then used to perform the destructive dynamic modulus tests in which the dynamic modulus and phase angle of the damaged asphalt mixtures vary with load cycles. This indicates plastic evolution and crack propagation. The growth of cracks is signaled principally by the increase of the phase angle, which occurs only in the tertiary stage. The measured total strain is successfully decomposed into elastic strain, viscoelastic strain, plastic strain, viscoplastic strain, and viscofracture strain by employing the pseudostrain concept and the extended elastic-viscoelastic correspondence principle. The separated viscoplastic strain uses a predictive model to characterize the permanent deformation. The separated viscofracture strain uses a fracture strain model to characterize the fracture of the asphalt mixtures in which the flow number is determined and a crack speed index is proposed. Comparisons of the 16 samples show that aged asphalt mixtures with a low air void content have a better performance, resisting permanent deformation and fracture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)898-906
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Materials in Civil Engineering
Issue number7
Early online date29 Dec 2011
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


  • asphalt mixtures
  • dynamic modulus test
  • fracture
  • permanent deformation
  • strain decomposition


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