Characterizing and Improving Binder Availability and Activity in Asphalt Mixtures with Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP)

Project No: 124560

Target Completion Date: April 30, 2026 Pavements

About the project:

The majority of asphalt mixtures produced in Virginia contain reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) due to the associated economic benefits, resulting in environmental advantages. Presently, there is uncertainty regarding the degree of availability and activity of RAP binder. This uncertainty impacts the design and performance of mixtures with RAP contents of 25% and above by the total weight of mixtures. Furthermore, a recent research effort was completed to evaluate the short- and long-term effectiveness of recycling agents (RAs) in improving the performance of asphalt mixtures, especially those with relatively high RAP contents. This research effort will consist of three major phases. Phase I will aim to validate the two performance-based engineered frameworks developed and recommended as part of VTRC Project 177566 and Report 24-R3 titled “Engineered Frameworks for Evaluating the Use of Recycling Agents in Surface Asphalt Mixtures for Virginia.” Phase II will focus on characterizing the binder availability in typical RAP material stockpiles in Virginia and assessing the effectiveness of RAs at activating the available binder for improved blending with virgin asphalt binder. Phase III will work towards developing guidelines or guidance documentation on how RAP availability and activity levels should be accounted for in mix design methods for Virginia, specifically those used to design asphalt mixtures with RAs. This research will lead to improvements in the long-term durability and performance of recycled asphalt mixtures in Virginia, ultimately resulting in cost savings and reduced environmental impacts from pavements. Additionally, this approach will enhance the understanding of truly innovative materials with promising performance, such as RAs and their effectiveness at activating the available RAP binder.

Project Team

Principal Investigators

Co-Principal Investigators

Project Monitor

Other Investigators

  • Cassie Castorena, Benjamin Shane Underwood

Last updated: December 10, 2023

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