Using Polymer-Based Mixes As Alternative To Bituminous-Based Mixes In Pavement Construction
Asphalt bitumen is traditionally used in pavement construction. Bitumen is produced by crude oil refinery process, which has enormous negative environmental consequences. In this process, hydrocarbons are released, which eventually lead to air pollution. The main hazard related to bitumen is from the Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in asphalt that can transfer to the ecosystem. The effective life-span of flexible pavement is around 10 years, which means the construction and maintenance costs could get very high. Also, as the oil sources are limited, their prices continue to increase significantly over the last two decades. More importantly, cost associated with pavement construction materials including the energy needed for mixing continues to rise.
This study aims to identify alternative binding materials for granular aggregates in wearing surfaces to lower pavement cost and minimize environmental impact. The alternative binder used in this study is AP Soil 600, which is a pre-activated polymer that reacts with water. One of the advantages of polymer-based pavement is reduced heat absorption which reduces the average temperature especially in inner cities. Also, a reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases (such as CO2) is expected by using polymer.
This study attempted to develop a polymer-based mixes as alternative to conventional bituminous-based mixes for pavement construction. A methodology to design the mix constituents, polymer and water content, and a process for optimum curing and compaction were conducted. Performance testing was conducted to evaluate the polymer-based mixes mechanical strength under compression, indirect tension, and resistance to rutting.