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Bituminous Pavement

Distresses: Causes and Cures Bituminous Pavement
By Can be minimized if basic
Prof. Prithvi Singh Kandhal requirements for flexible
Associate Director Emeritus pavements are met
National Center for Asphalt Technology
Auburn University, Alabama USA

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Basic Requirements for Flexible General Causes of Bituminous
Pavements Pavement Distresses
• Drainage, drainage, drainage • Poor quality of materials and construction
• Sufficient thickness and internal strength to carry • Inadequate pavement thickness
expected traffic loads
• Amount of traffic and its rate of loading
• Adequately dense to prevent penetration of
moisture from underneath, sides, and surface • Aging of asphalt binders
• Top surface which is smooth; waterproof; skid • Effect of climate
resistant; resistant to wear, distortion, and
deterioration by weather

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Typical Distresses in Typical Distresses in
Bituminous Pavements Bituminous Pavements (Cont.)
Distress Mode Distress Manifestation Distress Mode Distress Manifestation
Fracture Cracking Disintegration Raveling Cracking of Bituminous
• load associated (fatigue) Scaling
• non-load associated Stripping Pavements
• reflection Potholes
Distortion Permanent Deformation Other Reduced skid resistance
• densification Riding quality-roughness
• creep (rutting/shoving/
• swelling/frost
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Load Associated (Fatigue)
Also called alligator or map cracking
• Loads too heavy for the pavement structure
• Too many repetitions of load – more than design
• Inadequate support (pavement layers/subgrade)
• Poor drainage
• Very stiff binder in surface course
• Occurs in wheel path, potholes develop in
advanced stage

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Non-Load Associated
(Thermal) Cracking
Transverse cracks occur at regular intervals
• Asphalt binder too stiff at low service
• Rapid chilling of the road surface
• Highly temperature susceptible asphalt binder
• Subgrade type (more on sandy)
• Age of the pavement

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Longitudinal Joint Cracking
Longitudinal Cracking
Occurs parallel to the center line of roadway

Center Line Joint (Longitudinal Joint)
• Joint between adjacent lanes
• Density gradient across the joint
• Low density - low tensile strength
Edge Cracking
• Lack of lateral (shoulder) support
• Settlement of widened pavement
• Poor drainage (ditches)
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Asphalt Pavement Edge Cracking
Block Cracking
• Both transverse and longitudinal cracking
• Most often on low volume roads/parking lots
• Thixotropic hardening (structuring) of asphalt
binder due to lack of traffic and heat

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Reflection Cracking
Discontinuities in the underlying layers propagate
through the asphalt surface due to movement of
• Cracks or joints in underlying concrete pavement
• Cracks in soil-cement base course
• All types of cracks in the existing bituminous
• Thermal (movement of joints/cracks)
• Load

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Treatment for Cracks
• Cracks should be sealed as soon as
possible so that there is no water
penetration in the pavement, which mat
cause further damage
• Asphalt-rubber is considered best
material for sealing cracks

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Spalling is about to Spalling has taken place.
• Lack of adequate subgrade support
take place between It can be fixed with
• Unstable asphalt course(s)
parallel cracks asphalt mix patch repair.
- Poor mix design
- Rounded aggregate
- Excessive asphalt binder
• Stripping in asphalt courses

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Sometimes (not always) bleeding precedes rutting
Treatment for Bleeding
• Apply hot sand and roll it during hot weather
to blot out extra asphalt binder at the surface
• Place surface dressing on the bleeding asphalt
• Place slurry seal on the bleeding asphalt

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Rutting Resulting from Subgrade Rutting within Asphalt Courses

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Rutting has taken place in the binder course and
not in the wearing course

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Slippage Cracking
Treatment for Rutting
Plastic movement - Depression in the Wheel
• Associated with slippage mechanism
Path with Humps in Either Side
• First determine the cause(s) and location • Poor bond between the surface layer and
of rutting underlying layer
• Any layer exhibiting rutting must be • Too much or too little tack coat
Consolidation/Densification -Depression in the
Wheel Path Without Any Humps
removed (milled) completely and • Steep grades/intersections
replaced with more stable mix course • Acceleration/braking exert surface traction forces
• U-shaped
Mechanical Deformation - Subsidence or
• Patch repairs needed in area with slippage crack
Densification in the Unbound Base or Subgrade
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Checking Corrugations
• Lack of bond between asphalt courses
• Unstable surface course mix
• Braking and accelerating action near
• Areas with corrugations have to be milled off
and replaced with highly stable asphalt mix

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Progressive disintegration of asphalt surface as a
result of dislodgment of aggregate particles in
the mix
• Lack of sufficient cohesion due to low in-place
• Lack of fines in the asphalt mix matrix,
especially in coarse, segregated areas
• Aging of asphalt binder

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Treatment for Raveling
• Following treatments are suggested in order of
severity of raveling from slight to severe
• Apply fog seal with diluted emulsified asphalt
• Apply slurry seal/microsurfacing
• Overlay with dense graded asphalt mix

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Scaling of Wearing Course from Binder Course Stripping
(If isolated, do patch repairs; if extensive mill off the wearing
Breaking of adhesive bond between the aggregate
surface and asphalt binder usually in presence
of moisture
• Inadequate pavement drainage system
• Mixes with excessive air voids (poor
compaction), and low asphalt binder content
• Incompatible aggregate surface and asphalt
binder, asphalt binder displaced by water
• Excessive pore pressure induced by traffic
• Spontaneous emulsification of binder by water
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Classic Signs of Stripping: White Spots Followed by Bottom of Binder Course Showing Stripped
Bleeding and then Pothole Aggregate

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Potholes may result form stripping
Bottom of Binder Course Showing Stripped Skid Resistance
Friction between the tire and road surface. Quantified
by Friction Number (FN). Critical when surface is
wet; makes it very slippery.
Causes for Low FNs
• Flushing/bleeding of asphalt surface
• Inadequate microtexture (aggregate property)
- aggregate prone to polishing
• Inadequate macrotexture (mix property)
- no drainage channels
- causes hydroplaning
- important at high speeds

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Slippery Asphalt Wearing Course due to Polished
Aggregate Treatment for Bituminous
Pavement with Polished Aggregate
• All treatments should use polish-resistant
• Apply slurry seal/microsurfacing
• Apply surface dressing
• Overlay with new asphalt mix

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for the


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