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MATERIALS TECHNOLOGY CIV 211

ASPHALTIC CONCRETE MIX DESIGN - MARSHALL METHOD


The design of asphalt paving mixes, as with other engineering materials designs, is
largely a matter of selecting and proportioning materials to obtain the desired properties
in the finished construction. The overall objective for the design is to determine an
economical blend and gradation of aggregates (within the limits of the project
specifications) and asphalt that yields a mix having:
(i) Sufficient asphalt to ensure to ensure a durable pavement
(ii) Sufficient mix stability to satisfy the demands of traffic without distortion or
displacement.
(iii) Sufficient voids in the total compacted mix to allow for a slight amount of
additional compaction under traffic loading without flushing, bleeding, and
loss of stability, yet low enough to eep out harmful air and moisture.
(iv) Sufficient worability to permit efficient placement of the mix without
segregation.
Evaluation and Adjustmnt o! Mi" #si$n
!ften, in the process of developing a specific mix design, it is necessary to mae several
trial mixes to find one that meets all the criteria of the design method used. "ach trial mix
design, therefore, serves as a guide for evaluating and adjusting the trial that follow. #or
preliminary or exploratory mix designs it is advisable to start with an aggregate of a
gradation that approaches the median of the specification limits. $here the initial trial
mixes fail to meet the design criteria it will be necessary to modify or, in some cases,
redesign the mix. %djustments in the grading of the original aggregate blend will be
re&uired to correct the deficiency.
#or many engineering materials, the strength of the material fre&uently is thought of as
denoting &uality' however, this is not necessarily the case for hot(mix asphalt paving.
"xtremely high stability often is obtained at the expense of lowered durability, and vice
versa. Therefore, in evaluating and adjusting mix designs always eep in mind that the
aggregate gradation and asphalt content in the final mix design must strie a favourable
balance between stability and durability re&uirements for the use intended. )oreover, the
mix must be produced as a practical and economical construction operation.
A Gn%al Guid in Adjustin$ t& T%ial Mi"
Voids Low, stability Low * +oids may be increased in a number of ways. %s a general
approach to obtain higher voids in mineral aggregate (+)%) ( and therefore providing
sufficient void space for an ade&uate amount of asphalt and air voids) the aggregate
grading should be adjusted by adding more coarse or fine aggregate.
,f the asphalt content is higher than normal and the excess is not re&uired to replace that
absorbed by the aggregate, the asphalt content may be lowered to increased the voids.
,t must be remembered, however, that lowering the asphalt content increases the void
content and reduces the film thicness, which decreases the durability of the pavement.
Too great a reduction in film thicness also may lead to brittleness, accelerated oxidation,
and increased permeability. ,f the above adjustments do not produced a stable mix, the
aggregate may have to be changed.
Voids low. Stability Satisa!to"y * low void content may result in instability or flushing
after the pavement has been exposed to traffic for a period of time because reorientation
of particles and additional compaction. ,t also may result in insufficient void space for the
amount of asphalt re&uired for high durability, even though stability is satisfactory.
-egradation of the aggregate under the action of traffic may also lead to instability if the
void content of the mix is not ade&uate.
Voids Satisa!to"y, Stability Low * low stability when voids and aggregate grading are
satisfactory may indicate some deficiencies in the aggregate. .onsideration should be
given to improving the &uality as discussed above.
Voids Hi#$, Stability Satisa!to"y * high voids fre&uently are though not always,
associated with high permeability. /igh permeability, by permitting circulation of air and
water through the pavement, may lead to premature hardening of the asphalt, even though
stability are satisfactory, adjustments should be made to reduce the voids. This usually
may be accomplished by increasing the mineral filler content of the mix. ,n some cases it
may be necessary to select or combine aggregates to more closely approximate the
gradation of a maximum density grading curve.
Voids Hi#$, Stability low * two steps may be necessary when voids are high and the
stability is low. #irst the voids are adjusted by the methods discussed above. ,f this
adjustment does not improve the stability, the second step should be a consideration od
aggregate &uality as discussed above.
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,t is important to note that the asphalt content may be expressed as a percentage by
weight of total mix or as percentage by weight of dry aggregate. "xample: %ssume that a
given mix contains aggregates and asphalt in the proportion of 566lb of aggregate to 7lb
of asphalt. The asphalt content of such a mix could be expressed as 879566: 566 ; 6
percent asphalt by weight of dry aggregate. !r can also be expressed as 879(566<7): 566
; 5.66 percent asphalt by weight of total mix.
The two principal features of the Marshall method of mix design are the density-void
analysis and stability flow test of the compacted specimens.
The stability of the test specimen is the maximum load resistance that the standard
specimen will develop at 1!"# or 6!"$ when tested. The flow is the total movement or
strain. %n units of 1&1!! inch or !.'5 mm occurring in the specimen between no load and
maximum load during the stability test.