HIGHWAY MATERIALS •Soils •Aggregates •Bituminous materials

BOOKS •Highways 4th Edition by C.A.O Flaherty ( page 118 – 162) •Highway Engineering 6th Edition by Paul H. Wright ( page 430 – 439)

•NHA Specifications

The term "aggregate" refers to granular mineral particles that are widely used for highway bases, subbases, and backfill. Aggregates are also used in combination with a cementing material to form concretes for bases, subbases, wearing surface and drainage structures. Sources of aggregates include natural deposits of sand and gravel, pulverized concrete and asphalt pavements, crushed stone, and blastfurnace slag.

Properties of Aggregates The most important properties of aggregates used for highway construction are •particle size and gradation. •hardness or resistance to wear. •durability or resistance to weathering. •specific gravity and absorption. •chemical stability. •particle shape and surface texture. •freedom from deleterious particles or substances

Particle Size and Gradation of Aggregates
A key property of aggregates used for highway bases and surfaces is the distribution of particle sizes in the aggregate mix. The gradation of aggregates, that is the blend of particle sizes in the mix, affects the density, strength, and economy of the pavement structure. A grain-size analysis is used to determine the relative proportions of various particle sizes in a mineral aggregate mix.

The grain-size analysis data are usually plotted on an aggregate grading chart, as shown in Figure. With the aid of such a chart, engineers determine a preferred aggregate gradation and require that the gradation of aggregates used for highway projects conform to the limits of a specification band.

Testing sieves commonly used for highway projects are those with 2-1/2, 2, 1-1/2, 1, 3/4, 1/2, and 3/8 in. square openings for the large fractions and those with 4, 8, 16, 30, 50, 100, and 200 meshes per inch for the smaller fractions. The latter sieves are designated No.4, No. 10, and so on.

Resistance to Wear Materials used in highway pavements should be hard and resist wear due to the loading from compaction equipment, the polishing effects of traffic, and the internal abrasive effects of repeated loadings. The most commonly accepted measure of the hardness of aggregates is the Los Angeles abrasion test. The machine used in the Los Angeles abrasion test consists of a hollow steel cylinder, closed at both ends and mounted on shafts in a horizontal position (Fig. 15-7).

A removable steel shelf extending the length of the cylinder is mounted on the interior surface of the cylinder. To perform the Los Angeles abrasion test, a clean sample of the aggregate to be tested is placed in the cylinder along with a standard weight of steel spheres as an abrasive charge. The drum is then rotated at a speed of 30 to 33 rpm for 500 revolutions, after which the aggregate sample is removed and sieved on a No. 12 (1.70 mm) sieve.

The material retained on the sieve is washed, dried to a constant mass, and weighed. The difference between the original mass and the final mass of the sample, expressed as a percentage of the original mass, is reported as the percentage of wear. A detailed procedure for this test is given by AASHTO Method T96 (2).

Durability or Resistance to Weathering
The durability of aggregates is commonly measured by a soundness test, as described in AASHTO Method Tl04 (2). This test measures the resistance of aggregates to disintegration in a saturated solution of sodium or magnesium sulfate. It simulates the weathering of aggregates that occur in nature.

The test is made by immersing sized fractions of the aggregate to be tested in a saturated solution of sodium or magnesium sulfate. The aggregate is then removed and dried in an oven to a constant mass. This process is repeated for a specified number of cycles, typically five. After the repeated cycle of alternate wetting and drying, the aggregate is divided into fractions by sieving, and the percentage weight loss is determined for each fraction.

The percentage loss is expressed as a weighted average. For a given sieve size, the percentage weighted average loss is the product of the percentage passing that sieve and the percentage passing that sieve in the original material. The total of such values is th percent loss test value.

Specific Gravity and Absorption The specific gravity and absorption of aggregates are important properties that are required for the design of concrete and bituminous mixes. The specific gravity of a solid is the ratio of its mass to that of an equal volume of distilled water at a specified temperature. Because aggregates may contain water-permeable voids, two measures of specific gravity of aggregates are used: apparent specific gravity and bulk specific gravity.

Apparent specific gravity, GA, is computed on the basis of the net volume of the aggregates, that is, the volume excluding the water-permeable voids. Thus,



G 




G 



MD = dry mass of the aggregate VN = net volume of the aggregates, excluding the volume of absorbed water γw = density of water

The bulk specific gravity, GB, is computed on the basis of the total volume of the aggregates including the water-permeable voids:



G 


VB = where total volume of the aggregates, including the volume of absorbed water

The difference between the apparent and bulk specific gravities accounts for the waterpermeable voids of the aggregates. One can measure the volume of such voids by weighing the aggregates dry and in a saturated, surface dry conditions, that is, with all permeable voids filled with water. The difference between the two masses is the mass of the absorbed water, Mw. The absorption of water is usually expressed as a percentage of the mass of the dry aggregate,

M percentage absorption   100 M
w D

Chemical Stability of Aggregates
Certain aggregates may be unsuitable for a particular highway construction application because of the chemical composition of the aggregate particles. In asphalt mixes, certain aggregates that have an excessive affinity for water may contribute to what is known as film stripping, leading to disintegration of asphalt concrete.

An aggregate that is "hydrophobic" in nature may be said to be one which exhibits a high degree of resistance to film stripping in the presence of water. The bituminous substance in a bituminous mixture may generally be assumed to be present in the form of thin films surrounding the aggregate particles and filling, or partially filling, the void spaces between adjacent particles.

These thin films of bituminous material adhere to the surface of normal aggregates an contribute to the shearing resistance of the mixture, this effect being generally considered as a part of the "cohesion" of the mix. On continued exposure to water, either in the laboratory or in the field, bituminous mixtures containing certain aggregates show a definite tendency to loose shearing resistance or "strength" because of a decrease in cohesion due primarily to replacement of the bituminous films surrounding the aggregate particles with similar films of water.

Aggregates that exhibit this tendency to a marked, detrimental degree are termed "hydrophilic" aggregates, hydrophilic meaning "water-loving." Conversely, aggregates that show little or no decrease in strength due to film stripping are called "hydrophobic" or "water-hating."

In judging the relative resistance to film stripping of aggregates, several, different laboratory procedures have been used, including various immersion stripping tests, such as the ASTM D1664 Static Immersion Test, and various immersionmechanical tests, such as the ASTM DI075 Immersion-Compression Test.

Other Properties of Aggregates Specifications for aggregates used in highway construction commonly have requirements related to the particle shape, surface texture, and cleanliness of the aggregate. Specifications for aggregates used in bituminous mixes usually require that the aggregates be clean, tough, durable in nature, and free of excess amounts of flat or elongated pieces, dust, clay balls, and other objectionable material.


This item shall consist of furnishing, spreading in one or more layers and compacting granular subbase according to the Specifications and the Drawings and/or as directed by the Engineer.

Granular subbase material shall consist of natural or processed aggregates such as gravel, sand or stone fragment and shall be clean and free from dirt, organic matter & other deleterious substances and shall be of such nature that it can be compacted readily under watering and rolling to form a firm, stable subbase. The material shall comply with the following grading and quality requirements:

The Coefficient of Uniformity D60 / D10 shall be not less than 3,

• The subbase material shall have a gradation curve within the limits for grading B given below. However grading A may be allowed by the Engineer in special circumstances.
• The Material shall have a CBR value of at least 50%, determined according to AASHTO T 193. The CBR value shall be obtained at a density corresponding to ninety-eight (98) % of the maximum dry density determined according to AASHTO T 180 (Method D).

The coarse aggregate material retained on sieve No. 4 shall have a percentage of wear by the Los Angeles Abrasion (AASHTO T 96) of not more than fifty (50) %.
In order to avoid intrusion of silty and clayey material from the subgrade in the subbase, the ratio D15 (Subbase) / D85 (Subgrade) should be less than five (5).

• Where D85 and D15 are the particle diameters corresponding to eighty-five (85) % and fifteen (15) %, respectively, passing (by weight) in a grain size analysis, curve.
• The fraction passing the 0.075 mm (No. 200) sieve shall not be greater than two third of the fraction passing the 0.425 mm (No. 40) sieve. The fraction passing the 0.425 mm sieve shall have a liquid limit of not greater than twenty-five (25) and a plasticity index of six (6) or less.

• If oversize is encountered, screening of material at source, shall invariably be done, no hand picking shall be allowed, however hand picking may be allowed by the Engineer, if over-size quantity is less than five (5) % of the total mass. • Sand equivalent for all classes shall be twenty-five (25) minimum.


This item shall consist of furnishing, spreading and compacting one (1) or more layers of Crushed Aggregate Base Course on a prepared subgrade, subbase, or existing road surface, in accordance with the Specifications and the Drawings and/or as directed by the Engineer.

MATERIAL REQUIREMENTS Material for crushed aggregate base course shall consist of crushed hard durable gravel, rock or stone fragments. It shall be clean and free from organic matters, lumps of clay and other deleterious substances. The material shall be of such a nature that it can be compacted readily under watering and rolling to form a firm, stable base for both flexible and rigid pavements. The crushed aggregate base course shall comply with the following grading and quality requirements:

• The gradation curve of the material shall be smooth and within the envelope limits for Grading A or B given below: • Crushed Aggregate (material retained on sieve No. 4) shall consist of material of which at least ninety (90) % by weight shall be crushed particles, having a minimum of two (2) fractured faces. • The Coarse aggregate shall have a percentage of wear by the Loss Angeles Abrasion test (AASHTO T 96) of not more than forty (40).

• The material shall have a loss of less than twelve (12) % when subjected to five cycles of the Sodium Sulphate Soundness test according to AASHTO T 104. • The sand equivalent determined according to AASHTO T 176 shall not be less than forty-five (45) and the portion of filler, including any blended material, passing No. 40 mesh sieve shall have a liquid limit not more than 25 and a plasticity index not more than 4 when tested in accordance with AASHTO T 89 & T 90.

• The material passing the 19 mm sieve shall have a CBR value of minimum eighty (80) %, tested according to the AASHTO T 193. The CBR value shall be obtained at the maximum dry density determined according to AASHTO T 180 (Method D). • Laminated material shall not exceed fifteen (15) % of total volume of crushed aggregate base course.

Filler for Blending
If filler, in addition to that naturally present in the crushed aggregate base course material is necessary for meeting the grading requirement or for satisfactory bonding of the material, it shall be uniformly blended with the base course material at the crushing plant or in a pugmill unless otherwise approved.

The material for such purpose shall be obtained from sources approved by the Engineer. The material shall be free from organic matter, dirt, shale, clay and clay lump or other deleterious matter and shall conform to following requirement:

However the combined aggregates prepared by mixing the coarse material and filler shall satisfy the requirements as mentioned above.

BITUMINOUS MATERIALS Bituminous materials are used extensively for roadway construction, primarily because of their excellent binding or cementing power and their waterproofing properties, as well as their relatively low cost. Bituminous materials consist primarily of bitumen, which, according to ASTM D8, is a class of black or darkcolored solid or viscous cementitious substances composed chiefly of high-molecular-weight hydrocarbons; by definition, it is soluble in carbon disulfide.

Bituminous materials are divided into two broad categories:
1) asphalts 2) tars.

•Asphalts are the residues of the petroleum oils. A great majority of asphalts used nowadays are the residues from the refinery of crude oils, although there are natural deposits called "native asphalt."
•Tars are residues from the destructive distillation of organic substances such as coal, wood, or petroleum. Tars obtained from the destructive distillation are crude tars, which must undergo further refinement to become road tars.

Asphalts have no odor, are more resistant to weathering, and less susceptible to temperature than tars, which have a pungent (creosote-like) odor and react to weathering and temperature. Asphalt will be dissolved in petroleum oils whereas tars will not. Therefore, tars have been used to seat asphalt concrete surfaces, such as fog seals, to improve the oil resistance of asphalt surfaces. Asphalts are black in color, whereas tars are usually brown-black in color. Today, tars are not used extensively as binders for highway pavements.

Sources of obtaining Asphalts
1) Petroleum Asphalts or Penetration-grade refinery bitumens.

Bitumens that are produced artificially from petroleum crudes (usually napthenicand asphaltic-base crudes) are known as refinery bitumens.

2) Natural asphalts: It includes the following
•Lake Asphalt

•Rock Asphalt

Lake Asphalt

The largest natural deposit of lake asphalt occurs on the Island of Trinidad off the northwest coast of South America. The main lake of asphalt covers an area of roughly 35 ha, has a depth of about 90 m, and is estimated to contain 10 to 15 million tonnes of material. Following excavation, the asphalt is heated to 160°C to drive out gases and moisture, and then run through strainers to remove vegetable debris before being poured into wooden barrels for export under the name 'Trinidad Epure' or 'Refined Trinidad Lake Asphalt'.

The refined lake asphalt product typically contains about 55 per cent bitumen, 35 per cent mineral matter, and 10 per cent organic matter. Following the first commercial shipment to England (in 1840), it was widely used in road construction until the introduction of pitch-bitumen in the 1960s, i.e. a blend of 70-80 per cent bitumen with 20-25 per cent coal-tar pitch, which had similar qualities.

Digging at an asphalt lake

Trinidad Lake Asphalt

Natural rock asphalts
Natural rock asphalts are mainly limestones and sandstones that are impregnated with, typically, 5-15 per cent of natural bitumen. Historically, the natural rock asphalt used in the UK was imported from the Val de Travers region in Switzerland and from the Gard region in France. Whilst their usage is covered by a British Standard, natural rock asphalts are rarely employed in road construction in the UK today.

PRODUCTION OF ASPHALT As mentioned earlier, asphalts are the residues, by-products, of the refinery of petroleum oils. A wide variety of refinery processes, such as the straight distillation process, solvent deasphalting process, and solvent extraction process, may be used to produce asphalt of different consistency and other desirable properties. Depending on the sources and characteristics of the crude oils and on the properties of asphalt required, more than one processing method may be employed.

Cutback Asphalt
Asphalt cement produced from the vacuumsteam distillation exists as a semisolid at room temperature, and usually proper workability can be attained by heating the asphalt cement to a temperature of 120 to 165°C (2500P to 3300P) to liqufy it. In order for asphalt products to attain workability at room temperature, they must be rendered liquid at room temperature.

There are two ways to liquefy asphalt without resorting to heat:
•Dissolve (cut) the asphalt in solvent • Emulsify it in water.

When volatile solvents are mixed with asphalt cement to make a liquid product, the mixture is called "cutback asphalt." After a cutback asphalt is exposed to air, the volatile solvent evaporates, and the asphalt in the mixture regains its original characteristics (cured). Depending on the volatility of the solvent used, the rate of curing of cutback asphalt can vary from a few minutes to several days. Following are three types of cutback asphalt and the solvent used.

1)Rapid-curing (RC): gasoline or naphtha 2)Medium-curing (MC): kerosene 3)Slow-curing (SC): road oils

Cutback asphalt is commercially available in different grades, as shown in Table 15-5. The suffix numbers, for example MC-70, represent the minimum kinematic viscosity in centistokes at 60°C (1400P) for the particular grade. Specifications for RC, MC, and SC are given in ASTM D2026, D2027, and D2028, respectively. Cutback asphalt is increasingly being replaced by emulsified asphalt in commercial use.

Emulsified Asphalt Emulsified asphalt is a mixture of asphalt cement, water, and an emulsifying agent. These three constituents are fed simultaneously into a colloid mill to produce extremely small globules (5-10 µ) of asphalt cement, which are suspended in the water. The emulsified agent imparts the electric charges (cationic or anionic) to the surface of the asphalt particles, which causes them to repel one another; thus the asphalt particles do not coalesce.

The emulsified asphalt thus produced is quite stable and could have a shelf life of several months. When an emulsified asphalt is exposed to the air, alone or mixed with an aggregate, it "sets" or "breaks," because the asphalt globules react with the surface they are in contact with and coalesce, squeezing out the water between them.

The evaporation of water is the primary mechanism that finally causes the anionic emulsified asphalt to "break." Electrochemical processes are the primary mechanisms that cause the cationic emulsified asphalt to break.

Emulsified asphalt offers certain advantages in construction, particularly when used with moist aggregates or in wet weather. An emulsified asphalt does not require a solvent to make it liquid and thus is relatively pollution-free. Because emulsified asphalt has low viscosity at the ambient temperature, it generally can be used without additional heat. These factors tend to make emulsified asphalt more energyefficient and less costly than cutback asphalt.


ASPHALT CEMENT Asphalt Cement shall be an oil asphalt or a mixture of refined liquid asphalt and refined solid asphalt, prepared from crude asphaltic petroleum. It shall be free from admixture with any residues obtained by the artificial distillation of coal, coal tar or paraffin and shall be homogeneous and free from water.

No emulsification shall occur when a thirty (30) gm sample is boiled for two (2) hours with two hundred fifty (250) cu cm of distilled water in a five hundred (500) cu cm Erlenmeyer flask equipped with a reflux condenser.

Asphalt Cement shall be classified by penetration and when tested in accordance with the standard methods of tests of the AASHTO, the grades of asphalts shall conform to the requirements set forth in Table 301-2. The grade of asphalt to be used shall be in accordance with these Specifications or the Special Provisions or as directed by the Engineer.

In areas where highly frost susceptible soils and severe low temperature conditions are encountered, it may be necessary to remove and replace soils susceptible to frost heave or take other precautions prior to pavement construction. In extremely hot climates, asphalt mixes should be designed to resist rutting and maintain stiffness at high temperatures.

Because asphalt mixtures are influenced by temperature, it is recommended that different asphalt grades be used where different temperature conditions prevail. Table below gives recommended asphalt grades for various temperature conditions.

Both medium setting (MS) and slow setting (SS) emulsified asphalts are used in emulsified asphalt base mixes. They can be either of two types: cationic (ASTM D 2397 or AASHTO M 208) or anionic (ASTM D 977 or AASHTO M 140). Selecting one of the two shall depend on the type of aggregate used for better affinity. The grade of emulsified asphalt is selected primarily on the basis of its ability to satisfactorily coat the aggregate. This is determined by coating and stability test (ASTM D 244, AASHTO T 59). Other factors important in the selection are the water availability at the job site, anticipated weather at the time of construction, the mixing process to be used and the curing rate.

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