Materials and Structures

, 51:152 | Cite as

Use of fine aggregate matrix for computational modeling of low temperature fracture of asphalt concrete

  • Jia-Liang LeEmail author
  • Rebecca Hendrickson
  • Mihai O. Marasteanu
  • Mugurel Turos
Original Article


In this study, a discrete element computational model is applied to simulate the fracture behavior of asphalt mixtures at low temperatures. In this model, coarse aggregates are explicitly represented by rigid spherical particles. The bonds that connect these particles represent the fine aggregate matrix (FAM), which is defined as the combination of asphalt binder and fine aggregates. The bending beam rheometer (BBR) tests are performed to determine the strength and Young’s modulus of FAM at low temperatures. The model is then used to simulate the semi-circular bend (SCB) tests on the mixtures. The model is verified by a series of BBR and SCB tests on both conventional and graphite nano-platelet modified asphalt materials. The comparison between the experimental and simulated results indicates that the peak load capacity of the SCB specimens is primarily governed by the tensile strength of the FAM. However, in order to capture the entire load–displacement curve of the SCB specimens, one needs to employ a softening constitutive model of the FAM, which requires the information on its fracture energy. Several experimental methods for measuring the fracture energy of FAM are discussed for future prediction of the complete load–displacement response of asphalt mixtures at low temperatures.


Fine aggregate mixture Discrete element simulation Fracture Beam rheometer test Low temperature cracking 


Compliance with ethical standards


This study was funded by the NCHRP IDEA program (Grant Number NCHRP IDEA-173) and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Contract Number 99008).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11527_2018_1277_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1014 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 1014 KB)


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Copyright information

© RILEM 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo-EngineeringUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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