Modelling crack initiation in bituminous binders under a rotational shear fatigue load

Yangming Gao, Linglin Li, Yuqing Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study aims to model fatigue crack initiation in bituminous binders. An energy-based crack initiation criterion is developed for bitumen under a rotational shear fatigue load. Based on a damage mechanics analysis of fatigue cracking process, the crack initiation is defined and local energy redistribution around crack tips due to ‘factory-roof’ cracking is quantified. A quantitative energy criterion is proposed for the fatigue crack initiation in the bitumen using viscoelastic Griffith’s theory. The crack initiation criterion is validated through comparing the predicted and measured surface energy of the bitumen. The results show that bitumen fatigue cracking under the rotational shear fatigue load can be divided into two stages: the edge flow damage and the ‘factory-roof’ cracking. The crack initiation is dependent of the shear modulus and surface energy of bituminous binders, critical crack size, and loading amplitude. The energy-based crack initiation criterion along with the DSR fatigue tests can be potentially used to determine the material surface energy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105738
Number of pages1
JournalInternational Journal of Fatigue
Early online date27 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Funding: The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support provided by European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme via a Marie S. Curie Individual Fellowship project (Grant No. 789551)


  • Dynamic shear rheometer (DSR)
  • Energy-based crack initiation criterion
  • Surface energy
  • Time sweep
  • Viscoelastic Griffith's theory


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