Validity of asphalt binder film thickness concept in hot-mix asphalt

Mostafa A. Elseifi, Imad L. Al-Qadi, Shih Hsien Yang, Samuel H. Carpenter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the possible benefits of implementing asphalt binder film thickness into current specifications to address durability problems, most of the related research has been theoretical and only a few attempts have been made to measure this property experimentally. The objective of this study was to investigate the concept of asphalt binder film thickness experimentally on the basis of measurements obtained by image analysis techniques, reflective light microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy. The results of the experimental program were used to gain insight into the concept of asphalt binder film thickness and its validity. Experimental results indicated that asphalt binder films coating large aggregates do not actually exist in hot-mix asphalt. Instead, what are referred to as asphalt binder films surrounding large aggregates are actually asphalt mastic films. These films are highly irregular in shape and have a thickness greater than 100 μm in the mixture considered in this study. The asphalt binder films in the mastic were observed at a thickness of 2 μm in the mixtures considered. However, these entities do not represent asphalt binder coatings around aggregates; they are only part of a blend with fine aggregates and mineral fillers. Microscopic analysis showed that air voids usually appear near the boundary between large aggregates and asphalt mastic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-45
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number2057
Publication statusPublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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