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This paper mainly deals with waxes which are naturally present in bitumens, and does not include synthetic waxes that sometimes are proposed as bitumen additives. The main objectives were to study the rheological effect of bitumen waxes and the impact of waxy bitumens on asphalt mixture performance, such as rutting, low temperature cracking, and water sensitivity.
In the rheological characterisation of bitumens, a dynamic shear rheometer (DSR) and bending beam rheometer (BBR), as well as various conventional methods, were used. For asphalt mixtures, rutting, low temperature cracking and water sensitivity were evaluated by wheel tracking test (WTT), thermal stress restrained specimen test (TSRST), and modified Lottman test, respectively. It was found that, at high service temperatures and within the same bitumen grade, differences in rutting between the asphalt mixtures made with waxy and non-waxy bitumens were relatively small. However, the presence of wax in bitumen resulted in physical hardening at low temperatures. Using waxy bitumens, asphalt mixtures tended to show higher fracture temperature. As regards water sensitivity, no effect of the wax content in bitumen was seen. The water sensitivity was however heavily influenced by type of aggregate and to less extent by bitumen type. The present study implies that the effect of wax on bitumen quality and asphalt mixture performance depends on many factors. Those may include the chemical composition of the bitumen and particularly the nature of the wax.
Xiaohu Lu and Per Redelius