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ACTIVE PROJECTS

Simulation of asphalt mixtures

The aim is to create a tool that can be used to design asphalt computationally. Say for example that you can choose from several types of aggregates and your specification establishes the properties of that asphalt. You will probably have to test several recipes until one of them matches the properties that you are looking for.

 

We are developing software that can do the design of asphalt automatically. First, I expect that this will reduce the cost of designing new asphalt. Second, this software will make possible that a company can use alternative aggregates in their mixtures, for example recycled concrete or fibres, to create the best asphalt that they can. 

Costly experimental studies where people painstakingly mix Material A with Material B in different proportions to see what comes out of that will be confined only to the most complex materials. 

How it works?

An asphalt is made by mixing aggregates, bitumen, and occasionally very small amounts of additives, such as fibres or polymers. ​During mixing, the bitumen coats the aggregates and, these fit together, to create a packing that is structurally stable. 

The gradation and shape of these aggregates will play an extremely important role in how these aggregates pack together hence, the aggregates should be thoroughly characterised before mixing. However, the only information that the specifications require from the aggregates is their gradation. Their shape is mostly neglected, which may be due to the lack of precise characterisation methods. As a result, using the gradation to design an asphalt mixture provides just a general rule to design an asphalt and, trials and error mixes must be done. 

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