Evaluation of Recycled Plastic Modified Asphalt Mixtures: Phase I

Project No: 120030

Target Completion Date: October 31, 2023 Pavements

About the project:

With the changes in recycling streams over the past few years, the interest in diverting plastics from the waste stream for reuse in asphalt has been a growing topic for highway agencies. Several major knowledge gaps associated with the use of recycled plastics in asphalt were recently identified. Moreover, future research was recommended in many areas of the topic with particular focus on sourcing and methods of incorporating recycled plastics, material characterization of laboratory and field produced recycled plastic modified (RPM) asphalt mixtures, plant operations, health and safety, and mainly construction of field demonstration projects and associated short- and long-term performance. There is a mounting body of literature on the use of recycled plastic waste in asphalt but much of this documented work lacks a clear experimental plan and suffers from the use of dated test methods. Moreover, it is still unclear if producing and paving RPM mixtures would necessitate any changes to typical paving practices in Virginia. The objective of this project is to document and assess RPM field trials constructed in Virginia. Moreover, this effort will document and evaluate the constructability, laboratory performance and initial field performance of RPM asphalt mixtures produced using plastic waste and typical raw materials in terms of aggregates and asphalt binders compared alongside with VDOT typical control mixes. Along with an increased interest in the reuse of waste plastics, growing concern has been raised regarding the topic of microplastics in the environment. Therefore, this effort will attempt to detect and quantify the presence of microplastics in material generated from pavement wear that could potentially be mobilized via stormwater runoff. 

Project Team

Principal Investigators

Co-Principal Investigators

Last updated: December 10, 2023

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