This chapter focuses on asphalt binder, which is one of the critical ingredients of asphalt mixtures used in the construction and maintenance of pavements. This chapter introduces the role of asphalt binders in dictating the overall performance of an asphalt mixture and briefly introduces the production of asphalt binders. The bulk of the chapter focuses on three topics: (i) The chemical properties of the binder that are relevant for researchers and pavement engineers, (ii) aging in asphalt binders during mixture production and service life, and (iii) the mechanical properties of the asphalt binder that dictate the performance of the asphalt mixture and pavement including typical methods used to measure such properties. Chapter sections on the chemical composition and aging of asphalt binders require only a basic knowledge of chemistry for readers to follow and form a critical backdrop to better understand and appreciate the behavior of binders and mixtures. The section on mechanical properties introduces the concepts of time-temperature-age dependency of asphalt binders as well as typical methods and models used to measure these properties. Parts of this section are designed to overlap with Part II of this book, which contains a more exhaustive mechanistic description of this behavior.
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