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Project Type
UTRC Research Initiative
Project Dates
06/01/2014 - 12/31/2015
Principal Investigators
Project Status

Polymer modified binders are now extensively used in the asphalt industry. However, it is still not well understood how the polymers and the base binders interlock and whether the degree of interlocking impacts performance of polymer modified binders. The research has shown that low non-recoverable compliance values in the Multiple Stress Creep and Recovery test at 64 C appear to show significantly low rutting performance in the laboratory based on the flow time test. However, most of these tests were done on modified binders that were provided by the refinery whose precise formulations are unknown. There is a need to measure the properties of binders with known modification to determine the influence of polymers on the mechanical properties of the binders. Investigation of the morphology is necessary because the properties change when polymer networks are formed. When a sufficient amount of polymer networks have been formed the polymers are considered to be full interlocking with the binder. Because the dispersion of polymer in an asphalt binder depends on factors such as blending time, temperature, and base compatibility, fluorescence microscopy can be used to monitor the dispersion to ensure that polymer networking is occurring. With the recent acquiring of the fluorescent microscope at Rowan University, it has provided us with the capability to directly determine if there has been adequate interlocking between the base binder and the polymer and subsequently determine how a given polymer or combination of polymers impact binder and mix performance.