Investigation of lignin as an alternative extender of bitumen for asphalt pavements

Jiantao Wu, Quan Liu*, Chonghui Wang, Wenjuan Wu*, Weipeng Han

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using alternative extender as a substitute for bitumen is one of the most effective approaches to construct asphalt pavements. In this study, the feasibility of using lignin as an extender for bitumen was investigated. According to the literature review and preliminary tests, the ratio of bitumen to lignin was fixed at 4:1 by mass. The viscosity measurement determined the workability of lignin modified bitumen (LMB). Rheological properties in a broader temperature range were investigated through the dynamic shear rheometer (DSR) and bending beam rheometer (BBR). The anti-aging performance of LMB was estimated by employing the thin-film oven test (TFOT) and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). Besides, the storage stability of LMB was discussed in terms of morphology, lignin concentration, and mechanical properties. Lastly, the thermal stability of LMB was examined to eliminate the safety concern in construction. The results indicated that lignin showed explicit chemical activities (associated hydroxyl –OH and carbonyl groups –C[dbnd]O), which significantly affected the bitumen properties from varying perspectives. The stiffness of bitumen increased, and the temperature susceptibility of bitumen was reduced after the incorporation of lignin. Meanwhile, the mixing and paving temperatures for the pavement construction increased by over 10 °C. The presence of abundant associated hydroxyl in lignin was the primary factor that changes the anti-aging capacity of bitumen. The problem of lignin segregation was reasonably serious but was solved by adding additives. In general, the lignin could be a decent extender for bitumen with the appropriate procedure in practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124663
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Early online date14 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support provided by The National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 52078190 , No. 21704045 ). The authors also gratefully acknowledge financial support from the China Scholarship Council ( CSC No. 201706710009 ).


  • Alternative extender
  • Anti-Aging property
  • Lignin modified bitumen (LMB)
  • Rheological property
  • Storage stability


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