Performance of Foamed Warm Mix Asphalt In Virginia Over Four to Six Years

Report No: 18-R12

Published in 2017

About the report:

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) began allowing the use of warm mix asphalt (WMA) in 2008 and has become a national leader in the use of WMA technologies. Several WMA technologies were investigated in research projects prior to implementation; however, foamed WMA was not. This study was designed to evaluate the properties and performance of foamed WMA placed during the initial implementation of the technology to determine if the technology has performed as expected.

Six mixtures produced using plant foaming technologies and placed between 2008 and 2010 were identified and subjected to field coring and laboratory testing to provide insight as to the performance of foamed WMA mixtures. All coring was performed in 2014, which resulted in pavement ages ranging from 4 to 6 years. Three comparable hot mix asphalt (HMA) mixtures were cored and evaluated to provide average values for comparison. All cores were tested to determine air-void contents and permeability and were subjected to dynamic modulus, repeated load permanent deformation, and Texas overlay testing. In addition, binder was extracted and recovered for performance grading.

Test results found similar properties for the WMA and HMA mixtures evaluated. One WMA mixture exhibited high dynamic modulus and binder stiffness, but overlay testing did not indicate any tendency toward premature cracking. All binders were found to have aged between two and three performance grades above that which was specified at construction. WMA binders and one HMA binder aged two grades higher, and the remaining two HMA binders aged three grades, indicating a likely influence on aging from the reduced temperatures at which the early foamed mixtures were typically produced. Overall results indicated that foamed WMA should be expected to perform similarly to HMA.

WMA has been fully adopted by VDOT as an alternative to HMA since 2008; however, at the time of implementation of foamed WMA, no studies had been conducted by VDOT to assess the performance of WMA relative to that of HMA. This study validated the assumption that the properties and performance of foamed WMA are similar to those of HMA.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.

Last updated: November 11, 2023

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