Sie sind auf Seite 1von 64

Technical Report

AP-T312-16

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the


Low Temperature Cracking Resistance
of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2
Hard Binders

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking Resistance of Polymer Modified
Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders
Prepared by
Dr Robert Urquhart
Project Manager
John Esnouf

Publisher
Austroads Ltd.
Level 9, 287 Elizabeth Street
Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
Phone: +61 2 8265 3300
austroads@austroads.com.au
www.austroads.com.au

Abstract

About Austroads

This report describes the results obtained during the second year of
work (201516) into the development of a binder test that can rank
the low temperature cracking performance of PMBs.

Austroads is the peak organisation of Australasian road


transport and traffic agencies.

Studies conducted during the first year of work (201415) indicated


that extensiometer force ratio tests could be used to rank the low
temperature cracking performance of nine of the 13 binder grades
included in the Australian PMB specification if binders did not break
when subjected to a standard set of test conditions (i.e. test
temperature = 10 C, test speed = 0.5 mm/s and final sample
displacement = 250 mm). As a number of hard PMB samples broke
during extensiometer tests, investigations were conducted during the
second year of work to determine if force ratio tests could be used to
rank the low temperature cracking performance of the remaining four
hard A35P, A25E S15RF and S18RF PMB grades. Studies were also
conducted to determine if dynamic shear rheometer (DSR) stress
ratio tests could be used to rank the low temperature cracking
performance of both hard and soft PMB grades.
Seven PMB samples which represented the four hard PMB grades
were subjected to varying extensiometer test conditions to find a set
of conditions where the binders did not break during testing. The
optimum test conditions for the characterisation of hard binders were
found to be when tests were conducted using a test temperature of
20 C and test speed of 0.1 mm/s. As no marked correlation was
found between force ratio results determined at 20 C and the fatigue
life results obtained for a series of binders in asphalt at 10 C, it
appears that force ratio tests cannot currently be used to rank the low
temperature cracking performance of A35P, S15RF and S18RF PMB
grades.
An analysis of the results obtained in the first and second years of
work indicated that force ratio tests that were conducted using
standard test conditions were suitable for ranking the low
temperature cracking performance of 10 of the 13 binder grades
included in the Australian PMB specification.
A very reasonable correlation was found between the DSR stress
ratio results obtained for a series of 27 different binders and the
fatigue life results obtained for each of the materials in asphalt.
Based on these results, DSR stress ratio tests appear to be suitable
for ranking the low temperature cracking performance of all 13 binder
grades which are included in the Australian PMB specification.

Austroads purpose is to support our member organisations to


deliver an improved Australasian road transport network. To
succeed in this task, we undertake leading-edge road and
transport research which underpins our input to policy
development and published guidance on the design,
construction and management of the road network and its
associated infrastructure.
Austroads provides a collective approach that delivers value
for money, encourages shared knowledge and drives
consistency for road users.
Austroads is governed by a Board consisting of senior
executive representatives from each of its eleven member
organisations:

Roads and Maritime Services New South Wales

Department of State Growth Tasmania

Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and


Regional

Australian Local Government Association

Roads Corporation Victoria


Department of Transport and Main Roads Queensland
Main Roads Western Australia
Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure
South Australia
Department of Transport Northern Territory
Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate,
Australian Capital Territory

New Zealand Transport Agency.

Austroads 2016
This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under
the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any
process without the prior written permission of Austroads.

ISBN 978-1-925451-23-8

Pages 57

Austroads Project No. TT1823

Keywords

Austroads Publication No. AP-T312-16

Polymer modified binder, PMB, asphalt fatigue, extensiometer


tests, DSR flow tests, low temperature cracking

Publication date August 2016


Acknowledgements

Thanks to Shannon Malone, Elizabeth Woodall, Shannon Lourensz and Young Choi of ARRB Group for their assistance with the
experimental work and helpful discussions during this project.
This report has been prepared for Austroads as part of its work to promote improved Australian and New Zealand transport outcomes by
providing expert technical input on road and road transport issues.
Individual road agencies will determine their response to this report following consideration of their legislative or administrative
arrangements, available funding, as well as local circumstances and priorities.
Austroads believes this publication to be correct at the time of printing and does not accept responsibility for any consequences arising from
the use of information herein. Readers should rely on their own skill and judgement to apply information to particular issues.

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Summary
The Australian polymer modified binder (PMB) specification currently includes elastometer stiffness tests
which provide information to binder purchasers about the low temperature properties of PMBs. Even though
these tests are included in the specification, there is currently no low temperature binder test in the
specification which can be used to rank the resistance of PMBs to low temperature cracking on the road.
This report describes the results obtained during the second year of work (201516) into the development of
a binder test that can rank the low temperature cracking performance of PMBs.
Studies conducted during the first year of work (201415) indicated that extensiometer force ratio tests could
be used to rank the low temperature cracking performance of binders if binders did not break during
extensiometer tests when a standard set of extensiometer test conditions were used (i.e. test temperature =
10 C, test speed = 0.5 mm/s, final sample displacement = 250 mm). As a number of hard PMB samples
were found to break during extensiometer tests, further work was proposed to determine if extensiometer
force ratio tests could also be used to rank the low temperature cracking performance of hard A35P, A25E,
S15RF and S18RF PMB grades. This report describes investigations into whether extensiometer test
conditions could be optimised so that force ratio tests could also be used to rank the low temperature
cracking performance of hard PMB grades. It also includes the results of studies which were conducted to
determine if dynamic shear rheometer (DSR) stress ratio tests could be used to rank the low temperature
cracking performance of hard and soft PMB grades.
Seven PMB samples which represented the four hard PMB grades were initially subjected to extensiometer
tests using a variety of different test conditions in order to find a set of conditions where binders did not break
during testing. The optimum test conditions for the characterisation of hard PMBs were found to be when
tests were conducted using a test temperature of 20 C and test speed of 0.1 mm/s. Force ratio results were
then determined for all of the hard binders and 13 other soft binders using the set of test conditions
developed for the characterisation of hard binders. These results were then compared with the fatigue life
results obtained for each of the materials in a single type of dense graded asphalt mix. As no marked
correlation was found between the force ratio results obtained at 20 C and the fatigue lives of the binders at
10 C, it appears that force ratio tests cannot be used at the current time to rank the low temperature
cracking performance of A35P, S15RF and S18RF PMB grades.
An analysis of the results obtained during the first and second years of work reconfirmed that there was still a
good correlation between force ratio results determined using standard extensiometer test conditions and the
fatigue lives of the binders in a single type of dense graded asphalt mix if binders did not break during
extensiometer tests. Based on the research conducted to date, force ratio results obtained using standard
extensiometer test conditions appear to be suitable for ranking the low temperature cracking performance of
10 of the 13 binder grades which have specified test properties listed in the Australian PMB specification (i.e.
S10E, S15E, S20E, S25E, S35E, S45R, A20E, A15E, A10E and A25E grade PMBs).
A comparison of the DSR stress ratio results obtained for a series of 27 binders (which included four bitumen
samples as well as 16 soft and seven hard PMBs) with the fatigue life results obtained for each of the
materials in single type of dense graded asphalt mix indicated that that there was a very reasonable
correlation between these two test parameters. Based on these results, DSR stress ratio tests appear to be
suitable for ranking the low temperature cracking performance of all 13 binder grades which have specified
test properties listed in the Australian PMB specification.

Austroads 2016 | page i

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Contents
1.

Introduction ............................................................................................................................................ 1
1.1 Overall TT1823 Project Aim and Year 1 and 2 Project Work........................................................... 1
1.2 Development of a Binder Test to Rank Low Temperature Cracking Resistance
(Year 3 and 4 Project Work) ............................................................................................................. 2
1.3 This Report ....................................................................................................................................... 7

2.

Experimental Design ............................................................................................................................. 9


2.1 Materials and Sample Preparation ................................................................................................... 9
2.2 Binder Test Procedures.................................................................................................................. 10
2.3 Extensiometer Tests....................................................................................................................... 11
2.4 Dynamic Shear Rheometer (DSR) Flow Tests .............................................................................. 11
2.5 Asphalt Mix Design and Test Procedures ...................................................................................... 13

3.

Binder and Asphalt Fatigue Results Obtained for Hard Polymer Modified Binders ..................... 16
3.1 Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 16
3.2 Conventional Binder Test Results .................................................................................................. 17
3.3 Extensiometer Test Results ........................................................................................................... 19
3.4 DSR Flow Test Results .................................................................................................................. 26
3.5 Asphalt Fatigue Results ................................................................................................................. 29

4.

Comparisons between Extensiometer and Asphalt Fatigue Results ............................................. 32


4.1 Comparisons between Force Ratio Results Obtained Using Standard Test Conditions
and Asphalt Fatigue Results .......................................................................................................... 32
4.2 Comparisons between Force Ratio Results Obtained Using Hard Binder Test Conditions
and Asphalt Fatigue Results .......................................................................................................... 33
4.3 Discussion ...................................................................................................................................... 39

5.

Comparisons between DSR Flow Test and Asphalt Fatigue Results ............................................. 40
5.1 DSR Flow Test Results Obtained for Soft Binders ........................................................................ 40
5.2 Comparisons between DSR Flow Test Results and Asphalt Fatigue Results ............................... 44
5.3 Comparison of Extensiometer and DSR Flow Test Results .......................................................... 46
5.4 General Discussion ........................................................................................................................ 47

6.

Conclusions.......................................................................................................................................... 48

References ................................................................................................................................................... 49
Appendix A Summary of Test Results Obtained in the Third Year of the Project .............................. 51
Appendix B DSR Flow Test Results for Binders Not Included in the Main Body of the Report ........ 56

Austroads 2016 | page ii

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Tables
Table 2.1:
Table 2.2:
Table 2.3:
Table 2.4:
Table 3.1:
Table 3.2:
Table 3.3:
Table 3.4:
Table 3.5:
Table 3.6:
Table 3.7:
Table 4.1:
Table 4.2:
Table 5.1:
Table 5.2:
Table 5.3:

Binder test results obtained for samples of C170 bitumen used in the crumb rubber blends .....10
Asphalt mix composition ..............................................................................................................13
Asphalt mix aggregate grading ....................................................................................................14
Test results obtained from asphalt containing C320 bitumen ......................................................15
Conventional binder test results obtained for the commercial A35P and A25E grade PMBs .....17
Conventional binder test results obtained for the crumb rubber binders .....................................19
Summary of sample displacements where hard PMBs broke during extensiometer tests ..........25
Force ratio results obtained for the hard PMBs at a test temperature of 20 C and test
speed of 0.1 mm/s ........................................................................................................................26
Stress ratio results obtained for the hard PMBs at a test temperature of 10 C ..........................29
Asphalt fatigue results obtained for the hard PMBs .....................................................................30
Asphalt fatigue results obtained for samples of compatible and incompatible
C170 bitumen ...............................................................................................................................31
Force ratio results obtained for the A35P-2 and A25E binders using standard
extensiometer test conditions.......................................................................................................32
Force ratio results obtained for the soft binders when hard binder extensiometer test
conditions were used ...................................................................................................................36
Stress ratio results obtained for the soft binders at 10 C using lower strain levels
of 0.15, 1 and 2 strain ..................................................................................................................42
Stress ratio results obtained for the soft binders at 10 C using lower strain levels of
3, 4 and 5 strain ...........................................................................................................................43
Fitted coefficients and values of R2 obtained from fitting the fatigue life-stress ratio data
obtained for the hard and soft binders to an exponential function ...............................................44

Figures
Figure 1.1:
Figure 1.2:
Figure 1.3:
Figure 1.4:
Figure 2.1:
Figure 3.1:
Figure 3.2:
Figure 3.3:
Figure 3.4:
Figure 3.5:
Figure 3.6:
Figure 3.7:
Figure 3.8:
Figure 3.9:
Figure 3.10:
Figure 3.11:
Figure 4.1:
Figure 4.2:
Figure 4.3:

Schematic diagram of the ARRB extensiometer ............................................................................ 3


Extensiometer force-displacement curves measured during the Wilson study ............................. 4
Asphalt fatigue life versus extensiometer force ratio results obtained in the Wilson study ........... 5
Asphalt fatigue life versus extensiometer force ratio results obtained during the third
year of the project .......................................................................................................................... 6
Photograph of a 3 mm binder film in the DSR after excess binder had been removed...............12
Extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained for the A35P-1 binder .................................20
Extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained for the A35P-2 binder .................................21
Extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained for the A35P-3 binder .................................21
Extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained for the A25E binder ....................................22
Extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained at 10 C for the 15% w/w crumb
rubber binder made with compatible C170 bitumen ....................................................................23
Extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained at 15 C and 20 C for the 15% w/w
crumb rubber binder made with compatible C170 bitumen .........................................................23
Extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained for the 15% w/w crumb rubber
binder made with incompatible C170 bitumen .............................................................................24
Extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained for the S18RF binder .................................25
Schematic diagram of the experimental set-up used in DSR flow tests ......................................27
DSR stress-strain curves obtained for the A35P and A25E binders............................................27
DSR stress-strain curves obtained for the crumb rubber binders ................................................28
Asphalt fatigue life versus extensiometer force ratio results obtained for all binders
which did not break when subjected to standard extensiometer test conditions .........................33
Extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained under hard binder test conditions for the
bitumen samples and laboratory-manufactured PMBs containing 3.5% w/w SBS polymer ........34
Extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained under hard binder test conditions for
the laboratory-manufactured PMBs containing 6% w/w SBS polymer and the commercial
S25E binder..................................................................................................................................35

Austroads 2016 | page iii

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Figure 4.4: Extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained under hard binder test conditions
for four commercial PMBs ............................................................................................................35
Figure 4.5: Asphalt fatigue life versus extensiometer force ratio results determined using hard binder
test conditions and a sample displacement of 150 mm ...............................................................38
Figure 4.6: Asphalt fatigue life versus extensiometer force ratio results determined using hard binder
test conditions and a sample displacement of 200 mm ...............................................................38
Figure 5.1: DSR stress-strain curves obtained for bitumen samples .............................................................41
Figure 5.2: DSR stress-strain curves obtained for the commercial PMBs used in the Coober Pedy trial .....41
Figure 5.3: Asphalt fatigue life versus stress ratio results at 3 strain obtained for the hard and soft
binders ..........................................................................................................................................45
Figure 5.4: Asphalt fatigue life versus stress ratio results at 3 strain obtained for the hard and soft
binders with commercial binder grades and binder types included .............................................45
Figure 5.5: DSR stress ratio versus extensiometer force ratio results for all binders which did not
break under standard extensiometer test conditions ...................................................................46

Austroads 2016 | page iv

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

1. Introduction
1.1

Overall TT1823 Project Aim and Year 1 and 2 Project Work

Polymer modified binders (PMBs) are increasingly used in road construction as they provide enhanced
performance properties, such as resistance to permanent deformation and low temperature cracking,
compared with conventional bitumen. Even though PMBs show enhanced service properties, permanent
deformation and low temperature cracking can still occur when these materials are used in the construction
of roads. Segregation of the polymer in a PMB can also occur during storage and transport of the material to
the road site if the material is not appropriately mixed. The polymer in a PMB can also degrade during hot
storage if the material is stored for an extended period prior to use.
The Australian PMB specification (Austroads Test Method AGPT/T190: 2014), which is used by purchasers
of PMBs, has traditionally included a number of binder characterisation tests whose specified values are
based on the satisfactory performance of PMB products in the past. As the specification has developed in
this way, the main aim of this four-year Austroads project (TT1823) was to investigate the relationships
between the binder test properties of PMBs and their field performance to determine whether appropriate
performance-based tests could be included in the Australian PMB specification.
During the first year (201213) of the project (Austroads 2013a), the effects of polymer segregation in PMBs
during hot storage was investigated by assessing the performance of PMBs which had different propensities
to segregate during storage as determined by Australian segregation (Austroads Test Method
AGPT/T108: 2006) and European storage stability (European Committee for Standardization EN
13399:2010) tests. The aim of these studies was to determine whether it would be beneficial to replace the
segregation test in the Australian PMB specification with the European storage stability test (which is more
sensitive to polymer segregation during hot storage). The performance of the materials was ranked during
these studies by conducting wheel tracking and fatigue tests on each of the PMBs studied in a single 10 mm
dense graded asphalt mix. The results obtained in the study indicated that segregation tests were sufficient
to characterise the segregation properties of PMBs in Australia if it could be assumed that PMBs could be
mixed by conventional mixing protocols during storage and transport. The more sensitive European storage
stability test would only need to be included in the Australian PMB specification if PMBs could not be mixed
by conventional mixing processes in the field.
During the second year (201314) of the project (Austroads 2014a), the effects of polymer degradation in
PMBs during hot storage was studied by conducting wheel tracking and fatigue tests on asphalt samples
which had been prepared using PMBs which had been subjected to different periods (up to 6 days) of hot
storage at 180 C. The aim of these investigations was to determine whether it was beneficial to include a
PMB degradation test in the Australian PMB specification to limit the degradation of the polymer in PMBs
during hot storage. The two PMBs studied contained different levels (i.e. 3.5% and 6% by weight) of
styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) polymer. Asphalt performance tests were conducted using the same
10 mm dense graded asphalt mix which was used in the first year of the project. The results obtained in the
study implied that polymer degradation in SBS-based PMBs did not necessarily result in reduced binder
performance in asphalt. Based on these results it did not appear fruitful to include a new PMB degradation
test in the Australian PMB specification at the time which ranked SBS-based PMBs in terms of their
resistance to polymer degradation during hot storage.
As a result of research conducted during Austroads project TT1354 Optimising binder performance a new
test parameter consistency 6% at 60 C was included in the latest update to the Australian PMB
specification (Austroads Test Method AGPT/T190: 2014) during the third year (201314) of this Austroads
project (TT1823). This test parameter was included in the specification as studies had shown that binder
consistency 6% at 60 C test results, which are obtained using the ARRB elastometer (Austroads Test
Method AGPT/T121: 2014), could be used to rank the resistance of different types of binders to permanent
deformation in asphalt (Austroads 2015).

Austroads 2016 | page 1

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

1.2

Development of a Binder Test to Rank Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance (Year 3 and 4 Project Work)

The Australian PMB specification (Austroads Test Method AGPT/T190: 2014) currently includes elastometer
stiffness tests which provide information to binder purchasers about the low temperature properties of PMBs.
PMBs used in sprayed sealing applications are specified in terms of maximum allowed stiffness at 15 C test
results, while PMBs used in asphalt applications are specified in terms of maximum allowed stiffness at
25 C test results. Even though these tests are included in the specification, there is currently no binder test
in the specification which can be used to rank the resistance of PMBs to low temperature cracking on the
road.
The overall aim of the work conducted in the third (201415) and fourth (201516) years of the project was
to investigate whether a binder test that ranked the low temperature cracking performance of PMBs could be
developed for inclusion into the Australian PMB specification. This report describes the research conducted
during the fourth year of the project which builds on the work conducted into the development of a binder test
to rank low temperature cracking performance during Year 3.
During the third year of the project, a literature review was initially conducted to determine the most
promising means by which a binder test could be developed to rank the low temperature cracking
performance of PMBs used in Australia (Austroads 2015). Research in Australia and overseas into relevant
tests has considered both cracking which occurs at extremely low temperatures (e.g. 20 C) and
traffic-induced fatigue cracking where tests are conducted at temperatures which are closer to those
considered to be low temperatures in Australia and New Zealand (typically between 0 and 25 C). As very
low temperature cracking does not occur to an appreciable extent in Australia and New Zealand, tests which
characterised the properties of binders in the temperature range between 0 and 25 C were considered.
Based on the results of the literature review, the force ratio test (which is conducted using the ARRB
extensiometer) was identified as the most promising binder test for study during the third and fourth years of
the project. This type of test was selected considering test equipment availability in Australia and the results
of a study by Wilson et al. (2009) which showed an extremely good correlation between binder extensiometer
force ratio results and the fatigue lives of the binders in asphalt. The binders included in the Wilson study
included 3 bitumen samples and 12 different PMBs. The PMBs predominantly contained either SBS or
polybutadiene (PBD) polymers. Asphalt fatigue tests were conducted in a 10 mm dense graded asphalt mix
which conformed to the aggregate grading requirements of a VicRoads Type 10N mix (VicRoads 2014a).
During an extensiometer test (Austroads Test Method AGPT/T124: 2016), the force observed from a binder
sample with a square cross-section of 9 x 9 mm and 25 mm length is monitored as the sample is elongated
at a set speed and temperature in the testing apparatus. The results of extensiometer tests yield plots of the
force measured from a binder sample against the displacement by which a sample has been stretched.
Figure 1.1 shows a schematic diagram of the ARRB extensiometer. The right-hand side of the figure shows a
more detailed view of the binder sample during an extensiometer test. The red arrows in the figure
correspond to the direction of sample movement during testing.

Austroads 2016 | page 2

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Figure 1.1: Schematic diagram of the ARRB extensiometer

Note: The right-hand side of the figure shows a more detailed view of the binder sample during an extensiometer test.
Source: Austroads (2015).

Figure 1.2 shows three representative extensiometer force-displacement curves which were obtained by
Wilson et al. (2009) using a sample of C170 bitumen and samples of S35E and S25E grade PMBs. Tests
were performed using a test temperature of 10 C, extension speed of 0.5 mm/s and final sample
displacement of 250 mm. A diagrammatic representation of the two parameters used by Wilson et al. (2009)
to determine force ratio results is also shown in the figure. Force ratio results were calculated during the
Wilson study using Equation 1:

force ratio =

force (250 mm)


peak force

where
force (250 mm)

force recorded from a binder at 250 mm displacement (N)

peak force

peak force recorded from a binder at small sample displacements


(< 50 mm) (N)

Austroads 2016 | page 3

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Figure 1.2: Extensiometer force-displacement curves measured during the Wilson study

Source: Adapted from Wilson et al. (2009).

Wilson and co-workers selected temperature and speed conditions during extensiometer tests to ensure that
samples did not break during testing. These conditions were chosen as it was found that extensiometer
results were not reproducible if samples broke by brittle fracture during a test. Asphalt fatigue tests were
conducted at 10 C during the Wilson study using AGPT/T233 (Austroads Test Method AGPT/T233: 2006)
and a peak tensile strain of 400 . A fatigue test temperature of 10 C was used, rather than the
conventional 20 C, as it was thought that the lower temperature was more representative of cold weather
conditions in Australia and additionally would accelerate the fatigue failure of the binders during testing.
Figure 1.3 shows a plot of the fatigue lives of the binders versus extensiometer force ratio results which was
obtained by Wilson et al. (2009). Binders which met the requirements of either the Australian bitumen
specification (Standards Australia AS 2008-2013) or the Australian PMB specification (Austroads Test
Method AGPT/T190: 2014) are noted in the figure. The fatigue life results have been plotted on a logarithmic
scale as the fatigue lives of the binders spanned a range of more than a factor of 100. Figure 1.3 also
includes the equation obtained from an exponential fit to the experimental data and the high correlation
coefficient value (R2 = 0.91) determined from the fit. This high correlation coefficient value indicated that
there was an extremely good correlation between force ratio and fatigue life results when fatigue life results
were plotted on a logarithmic scale.
The main aim of the research conducted in the third year of this Austroads project was to determine whether
the correlation between force ratio and asphalt fatigue results observed by Wilson et al. (2009) still held if a
wider range of binders and a different type of asphalt mix design was used in the experiments. If the
correlation still held when different binders and a different asphalt mix design were used then this would
indicate that the force ratio approach was more generally applicable. If correlations between force ratio
results and asphalt fatigue results were observed in both studies, this would provide further experimental
evidence that force ratio tests were suitable for ranking the low temperature cracking performance of binders.
This would provide further justification for including the force ratio test as a low temperature performance test
in the Australian PMB specification (Austroads Test Method AGPT/T190: 2014).

Austroads 2016 | page 4

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Figure 1.3: Asphalt fatigue life versus extensiometer force ratio results obtained in the Wilson study

Source: Wilson et al. (2009).

During the third year of the project (Austroads 2015) a series of 23 binders (which included 4 bitumen
samples, 12 laboratory-produced PMBs and 7 commercially-produced PMBs) were subjected to
extensiometer tests using the same experimental conditions as those used in the Wilson study (i.e. test
temperature = 10 C, test speed = 0.5 mm/s and final sample displacement = 250 mm) and force ratio results
were calculated using Equation 1. PMBs studied included a range of PMB types, including binders modified
with SBS, PBD and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) polymers, and crumb rubber. Laboratory-produced PMBs
included 3 PMBs which contained 3.5% w/w SBS polymer which were produced using C170 bitumen from
different sources which were studied during the first year of the project (Austroads 2013a), as well as a
series of PMBs which contained 3.5% and 6% w/w SBS polymer that were subjected to different periods of
long-term hot storage at 180 C during the second year of the project (Austroads 2014a). Once force ratio
results were obtained, they were compared to the fatigue life results obtained for each of the binders after
they had been incorporated into the same 10 mm dense graded asphalt mix which had been used in the first
and second years of the project (Section 1.1). Asphalt fatigue tests were conducted using the same
experimental conditions as used in the Wilson study.
The results obtained during the third year of the project indicated that 2 of the 23 binders (i.e. an A35P
binder and a laboratory-produced binder which contained 15% w/w crumb rubber) broke during testing when
standard extensiometer test conditions were used (i.e. test temperature = 10 C, test speed = 0.5 mm/s and
final sample displacement = 250 mm). Due to this it was not possible to calculate force ratio results using
Equation 1 and compare these results with the fatigue life results obtained for the materials in asphalt. An
analysis of stiffness at 25 C results indicated that these two binders were much harder materials at 10 C
than the other binders studied. It was therefore concluded that these samples broke due to the hardness of
these materials at the test temperature.

Austroads 2016 | page 5

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

The results of studies conducted during the third year of the project (Austroads 2015) indicated that there
was a good correlation between binder force ratio results and their fatigue lives in asphalt if binder samples
did not break during extensiometer tests. Figure 1.4 shows a plot of the fatigue lives of the binders studied
versus force ratio results for samples that did not break during extensiometer tests. The fatigue life results
have been plotted on a logarithmic scale as the fatigue lives of the binders spanned a range of more than a
factor of 1000. The binder grades associated with the bitumen samples and commercial PMBs have been
noted in the figure. Figure 1.4 also includes the equation obtained from an exponential fit to the experimental
data and the correlation coefficient (R2) value determined from the fit. The R2 value of 0.84 which was
obtained indicated that there was a good correlation between force ratio and fatigue life results when fatigue
life results were plotted on a logarithmic scale.
Figure 1.4: Asphalt fatigue life versus extensiometer force ratio results obtained during the third year of the
project

Source: Austroads (2015).

Based on the types of binders included in the Austroads and Wilson studies, it appeared that binders that
represented 9 of the 13 binder grades in the Australian PMB specification would be unlikely to break during
extensiometer tests when standard extensiometer test conditions were used (i.e. test temperature = 10 C,
test speed = 0.5 mm/s and final sample displacement = 250 mm). It was therefore concluded that
extensiometer force ratio tests appeared suitable for ranking the low temperature cracking performance of
S10E, S15E, S20E, S25E, S35E, S45R, A20E, A15E and A10E grade PMBs in the Australian PMB
specification.
The results obtained in the third year of the project, however, indicated that further studies were required to
investigate and optimise the extensiometer test conditions for the remaining 4 harder PMB grades (i.e. A35P,
A25E, S15RF and S18RF grade binders) so that samples of these materials would not break during
extensiometer tests. If suitable extensiometer test conditions could be found to characterise the properties of
harder types of PMBs, it was thought that it may be possible to use force ratio results to rank the low
temperature cracking performance of all 13 binder grades which have specified test properties listed in the
Australian PMB specification.

Austroads 2016 | page 6

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

1.3

This Report

Based on the work conducted during the third year of the project, the main aim of the work conducted in the
current year of the project was to determine whether extensiometer force ratio tests could be used to rank
the low temperature cracking performance of hard PMB grades (i.e. A35P, A25E, S15RF and S18RF grade
PMBs). These studies were conducted by firstly obtaining a selection of samples which represented each of
the hard binder grades and subjecting each material to a series of conventional binder tests so that the
properties of the binders could be compared to the requirements of the Australian PMB specification. A
series of extensiometer tests were then performed using different temperatures and/or test speeds to
determine if a single set of extensiometer test conditions could be found which did not cause the hard
binders to break during testing. The fatigue lives of the hard binders were also measured in the same 10 mm
dense graded asphalt mix as used in previous years of the project.
Once an appropriate set of extensiometer test conditions were determined for hard binders, a number of the
softer binders (which did not break during the third year of the project when standard extensiometer test
conditions were used) were subjected to force ratio tests using the experimental conditions developed for
hard binders. The force ratio results obtained for both the hard and soft binders under hard binder test
conditions were then compared to the fatigue lives of the materials in asphalt to determine whether a
correlation existed between this set of force ratio results and asphalt fatigue results. It was anticipated that if
a correlation was observed, the force ratio approach could be extended to include hard PMB grades.
At the beginning of the fourth year of work it was uncertain as to whether a suitable set of extensiometer test
conditions would be found that would not result in any of the hard binders breaking during testing. As a result
of these concerns, stress ratio results which were obtained by testing binders in the dynamic shear
rheometer (DSR) using flow test mode (Austroads 2013b, 2014b), were also compared with the fatigue lives
of binders in asphalt to determine whether this test parameter could be used to rank the low temperature
cracking performance of hard and soft binders. This type of test was studied as previous investigations
conducted during Austroads project TT1818 Development and validation of a new long-term ageing test for
bitumen and PMBs showed that DSR flow tests could be used to characterise bitumen and PMB samples
after they had been aged in a pressure ageing vessel (PAV) for 72 hours without the samples breaking
(Austroads 2014b). As PAV-aged samples would be expected to be much harder than unaged A35P, A25E,
S15RF and S18RF grade PMBs, it was thought that this test could be suitable for characterising the
properties of hard PMB grades.
During a DSR flow test (Austroads 2014b) a thin (typically 3 mm thick) film of binder is subjected to rotational
shear between two parallel metal test plates in the DSR apparatus using a constant rotational shear rate.
Shearing (i.e. twisting) of the sample is performed in one direction up to a desired final strain level (typically
10 strain). The results of DSR flow tests yield plots of the stress observed from a sample against strain level
which are analogous in some ways to the force-displacement curves obtained in extensiometer tests. Both
DSR flow tests and extensiometer tests also subject samples to large strains during testing (a displacement
of 250 mm in an extensiometer test corresponds to a sample being elongated to 10 strain). Samples are less
likely to break during DSR flow tests as their thickness does not change during testing. During an
extensiometer test, samples thin with increasing sample displacement so are more likely to break during
testing.
It should be noted that the low temperature cracking performance of binders was ranked during this project,
and studies of Wilson and co-workers, by comparing the fatigue lives of binders in asphalt. The results of
asphalt performance tests were used to rank the low temperature performance of binders as there is
currently no well accepted laboratory test which can be used to rank the cracking performance of binders in
sprayed seals. Work into the development of a test to rank the cracking performance of thin binder films is
currently being conducted in Austroads project TT2037 Development of a sprayed seal binder cracking test.

Austroads 2016 | page 7

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

During this project, force ratio and stress ratio results were compared with asphalt fatigue life results
obtained when each of the binders was incorporated into the same asphalt mix. A single asphalt mix was
used so that the aggregate components in each of the mixes, and the proportion of each component were
identical. The only variable in the asphalt mixes was the type of binder used (as all asphalt mixes contained
the same proportion of binder). As the asphalt mixes were identical, apart from the binder type used in the
experiments, differences in asphalt fatigue results would be anticipated to reflect differences in the ability of
each specific binder to resist low temperature cracking when it was subjected to repeated loading. Studies by
Wilson et al. (2009) were also conducted using one asphalt mix, however, the type of asphalt mix and binder
types differed from those in the current study.

Austroads 2016 | page 8

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

2. Experimental Design
2.1

Materials and Sample Preparation

The samples of A35P, A25E and S18RF grade PMBs which were characterised in the study were sourced
directly from commercial suppliers. Details relating to the source of the bitumen and commercial PMB
samples which are included in this report and were characterised during the third year of the project can be
found in Austroads (2015). Laboratory-prepared PMB samples which contained styrene-butadiene-styrene
(SBS) polymer which were produced during the project were prepared at 185 5 C using a Silverson high
shear laboratory mixer (Model L5M) under a carbon dioxide atmosphere (Austroads 2013a, 2014a). PMB
blending was performed under an inert atmosphere to ensure that the bitumen used in the blends did not
oxidise during the blending process. The SBS polymer (Kraton D1101) and polymer combining oil
(Permaflux) used to manufacture the SBS-based PMBs were obtained from Kraton Polymers and Shell
Australia, respectively. PMB samples which contained 3.5% w/w SBS polymer and C170 bitumen from
different sources were the same as those characterised in the first year of the project (201213). PMB
samples which were subjected to long-term hot storage at 180 C were the same as those characterised in
the second year of the project (201314). Further details on PMB sample preparation and hot storage
conditions can be found in earlier project reports (Austroads 2013a, 2014a).
The two laboratory-prepared crumb rubber modified binders which were characterised during the project
were prepared at 190 10 C under a carbon dioxide atmosphere. Each of the blends contained 85% w/w
C170 bitumen and 15% w/w crumb rubber. Blends were produced by initially placing an appropriate amount
of bitumen in a metal tin and heating it to within the desired temperature range. The required amount of
crumb rubber was then added and the mixture was mixed with a low shear mixer for one hour. A single
sample of 30# mesh crumb rubber, which was obtained from Chip Tyre Pty. Ltd., was used to prepare all
laboratory-prepared crumb rubber blends.
Crumb rubber modified blends were prepared in the laboratory using two different sources of C170 bitumen
which were obtained from the same supplier and source as the samples of compatible C170 bitumen and
incompatible C170 bitumen which were used in previous years of the project (Austroads 2013a, 2014a,
2015). One of the crumb rubber modified binders was prepared using the same sample of incompatible C170
bitumen which was used in previous years of the project. This material was sampled on 31 May 2009. The
other crumb rubber modified binder was produced using a sample of compatible C170 bitumen which was
sampled on 7 November 2014. This material was sampled at a different time than the other two samples of
compatible C170 bitumen which were used in previous years of the project. The previous two samples of
compatible C170 bitumen were sampled on 23 February 2011 and 21 May 2013.
Table 2.1 shows the binder test results obtained for the samples of C170 bitumen used to produce the crumb
rubber blends. Both bitumens met the requirements of the Australian bitumen specification (Standards
Australia AS 2008-2013) where tested.
Bitumen samples were subsampled into appropriate sizes for testing and PMB blending during the project
using AS/NZS 2341.21 (Standards Australia AS/NZS 2341.21-2015). After bitumen samples were
subsampled they were stored at ambient temperature until required for use. Bitumen samples were reheated
immediately prior to use during the project using AS/NZS 2341.21.

Austroads 2016 | page 9

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Table 2.1:

Binder test results obtained for samples of C170 bitumen used in the crumb rubber blends

Property

Compatible C170 bitumen

Incompatible C170 bitumen

7/11/2014

31/5/2009

Viscosity at 60 C (Pa s)

176

152

Viscosity at 135 C (Pa s)

0.33

0.38

Penetration at 25 C (0.1 mm)

69

77

Viscosity at 60 C after rolling thin film oven (RTFO)


treatment (Pa s)

264

301

Percentage increase in viscosity at 60 C after


RTFO treatment (%)

150

198

Softening point (C)

47.5

47.5

Sampling date

Note: Test results for the sample of incompatible C170 bitumen were sourced from Austroads (2015).

Laboratory-manufactured PMBs which were produced during this project were immediately subsampled after
manufacture into appropriate sample sizes for testing. Commercial PMBs were subsampled by heating the
materials in an oven set to 180 C until they were sufficiently fluid to stir and pour. The binders were then
thoroughly mixed with a spatula so that the polymer was evenly dispersed and split into subsamples of
appropriate sizes for testing. Once PMB subsamples were prepared they were allowed to cool and were
stored at ambient temperature until required for use. PMB samples were re-heated immediately prior to
testing by heating them in an oven set to 180 C until they were sufficiently fluid to stir and pour. Each of the
subsamples was thoroughly mixed with a spatula before they were poured into test equipment or
incorporated into asphalt mixes.

2.2

Binder Test Procedures

Conventional binder tests were conducted on bitumen samples during the project using the latest version of
the Australian Standard test methods listed in AS 2008 (Standards Australia AS 2008-2013). Viscosity at
135 C tests on bitumen samples were conducted using AS/NZS 2341.4 (Standards Australia
AS/NZS 2341.4-2015). Softening point tests, and stiffness tests at 25 C and 15 C, were performed on
bitumen samples using AS 2341.18 (Standards Australia AS 2341.18-1992) and AGPT/T121 (Austroads
Test Method AGPT/T121: 2014), respectively.
Conventional binder tests were conducted on PMB samples during the project using the latest version of the
test methods described in the Australian PMB specification (Austroads Test Method AGPT/T190: 2014). The
elastic recovery at 60 C results obtained for binders which had consistency at 60 C results less than
500 Pa s have not been included in this report as the relevant test method (Austroads Test Method
AGPT/T121: 2014) states that these test results should be discarded if the consistency at 60 C of the binder
is below 500 Pa s. Penetration at 25 C tests were conducted on PMB samples using AS 2341.12
(Standards Australia AS 2341.12-1993). Penetration at 25 C tests are not included in the Australian PMB
specification but were performed on the PMB samples included in this project for information purposes as
these materials are specified in other countries (e.g. European countries) in terms of their penetration at
25 C and softening point results (European Committee for Standardization EN 14023:2010).
Storage stability tests were conducted on PMB samples during the project using a method based on
EN 13399 (European Committee for Standardization EN 13399:2010) which is described in Austroads
(2013a). Softening point results associated with storage stability tests have been rounded to the nearest
0.2 C in this report to mirror the softening point rounding that is required by the Australian segregation test
(Austroads Test Method AGPT/T108: 2006) which also investigates whether the polymer in a PMB will
segregate during storage. European storage stability tests were conducted on PMBs studied in Years 2 to 4
of the project, rather than segregation tests, as studies conducted in the first year of the project (Austroads
2013a) showed that storage stability tests were more sensitive to polymer segregation in PMBs during
storage.

Austroads 2016 | page 10

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

2.3

Extensiometer Tests

Extensiometer tests were performed during the project using AGPT/T124 (Austroads Test Method
AGPT/T124: 2016) using specimens which had a square cross-section of 9 x 9 mm and a length of 25 mm
prior to testing. Tests were conducted at least in duplicate using the Windows 3.1 version of the
extensiometer software and a final sample displacement (i.e. breakpoint) of 250 mm. The force recorded
from the binder samples at the breakpoint, and selected whole millimetre displacement values, was
determined from the raw data obtained during each test using the linear extrapolation method described in
Appendix 2 of AGPT/T124. The extensiometer force-displacement curves shown in Section 4.2 were
obtained by averaging the force observed at each sample displacement which was observed during repeat
tests on each binder. The extensiometer force-displacement curves shown for the hard binder samples in
Section 3.3 correspond to those observed in individual experiments on each binder. The results from
individual experiments have been shown for these materials as in many cases samples broke at different
sample displacements during repeat extensiometer tests.
The peak force results, and force results at selected whole millimetre displacement values, which are shown
in the tables of this report were calculated by averaging the results obtained for each test parameter during
repeat extensiometer tests on each sample. Force ratio results were calculated during the study at selected
sample displacements by initially calculating the results obtained in each individual extensiometer test and
Equation 2:

FR(x) =

F(x)
PF

where
FR(x)

force ratio result obtained for a binder at the desired sample displacement, x

F(x)

force recorded from a binder at the desired sample displacement, x (N)

PF

peak force recorded from a binder at small sample displacements (< 50 mm) (N)

The force ratio results shown in this report are the average of the individual force ratio results obtained
during repeat tests on each binder.

2.4

Dynamic Shear Rheometer (DSR) Flow Tests

DSR flow tests were performed using a TA Instruments Ltd. dynamic shear rheometer (Model AR1500ex)
which was fitted with an upper heated plate (UHP) asphalt environment system (Model AS2000ex). The
temperature during testing was controlled through the use of a combined UHP and Peltier plate manifold and
a water cooling system which included a Julabo refrigerated/heating circulator (Model FP35-HE).
DSR flow tests were performed by placing 3 mm binder films between two 8 mm diameter parallel metal
DSR test plates and then subjecting the films to rotational shear using a shear rate of 0.0075 s-1 up to a
target shear strain of 10. Tests were performed in duplicate on each sample using a test temperature of
10 C. The DSR stress-strain curves shown in this report were obtained by averaging the stress observed at
each strain level during each set of duplicate experiments. Average stress-strain curves have been shown
for each binder as none of the samples tested broke during DSR flow tests.
Binder films were produced for DSR characterisation by initially pouring samples of hot binder into small
metal dishes (typically 40 mm in diameter and 7 mm high). The upper and lower DSR test plates were then
removed from the DSR and heated until sufficiently warm using an infra-red lamp. The binder samples were
then heated with the infra-red lamp, if required, so they could be readily stirred with a spatula. An appropriate
amount of binder was then applied to the upper and lower DSR test plates with a spatula and the test plates
were immediately re-installed in the DSR.

Austroads 2016 | page 11

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

After the test plates were re-installed in the DSR, the gap between the upper and lower plates was reduced
to 3 mm. The binder films were then inspected to ensure that there was good contact between the material
applied to each plate. The temperature of the test plates was then maintained at the desired mounting
temperature for several minutes. Mounting temperatures ranged between 40 and 45 C for bitumen samples
and between 45 and 55 C for PMB samples. Excess binder was then removed using a heated metal
specimen trimmer so that the outer surface of the binder film was flush with the outer surfaces of the test
plates. Once the binder films had been prepared, the temperature of the test plates was adjusted to 10 C.
Films were then equilibrated at 10 C for 15 minutes prior to testing.
Figure 2.1 shows a photograph of a typical 3 mm binder film after excess binder had been removed using the
specimen trimmer.
Figure 2.1: Photograph of a 3 mm binder film in the DSR after excess binder had been removed

The parameters entered into the DSR software during DSR flow tests included the rotational shear rate
(0.0075 s-1), the number of data points to be collected during a test (2000) and the duration of the test (23
minutes). Due to the use of these input parameters, the DSR software produced an array of strain-stress
results during each DSR flow test which included values up to a strain level of 10.35. As the results produced
by the DSR software did not include stress results at exact whole number strain values (e.g. 2.0 or 10.0
strain), stress results at whole number strain levels were calculated by fitting the five sets of stress-strain
results lower than the desired strain level and five sets of stress-strain results higher than the desired strain
level (ten datasets in total) to a linear function. Stress results at whole number strain levels were calculated
by substituting the desired strain level into the fitted linear equation.
The DSR stress results which are shown in the tables in this report were calculated by averaging the results
obtained during duplicate tests on each sample at each desired strain level.

Austroads 2016 | page 12

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

DSR stress ratio results were calculated at a variety of different lower strain levels (i.e. = 0.15, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0,
4.0 and 5.0) by initially calculating the stress ratio results obtained in each individual test using Equation 3:

SR() =

stress (10 strain)


stress ( strain)

where
SR()

stress ratio result obtained for a binder at the desired lower strain level,

stress (10 strain)

stress recorded from a binder at 10 strain (Pa)

stress ( strain)

stress recorded from a binder at the desired lower strain level, (Pa)

The stress ratio results shown in this report are the average of the individual stress ratio results obtained
during duplicate tests on each binder.

2.5

Asphalt Mix Design and Test Procedures

Laboratory asphalt fatigue tests were conducted during the project using an asphalt mix which was designed
using the VicRoads Marshall method (VicRoads 2014b) and C320 bitumen to meet the requirements of a
VicRoads Type 10N dense graded asphalt mix (VicRoads 2014a). The mix design was developed during the
first year (201213) of the project (Austroads 2013a) and utilised a sample of C320 bitumen which was
referred to as a sample of incompatible C320 bitumen. The conventional binder test results which were
obtained for the sample of C320 bitumen used in asphalt mix design work are included in Table A 1. After the
design had been developed using C320 bitumen, the same design was used for all the other binders studied
during the course of the project. A VicRoads Type 10N asphalt mix is a light to medium wearing or regulation
course for use in light to moderately trafficked pavements. All asphalt samples were prepared during the
project using a mixing temperature of 150 3 C. Table 2.2 shows the percentage by weight of each of the
components used in the asphalt mixes and the source of each material.
Table 2.2:

Asphalt mix composition

Component

Source

%w/w of total aggregate

10 mm aggregate

Boral Montrose VIC

31

7 mm aggregate

Boral Montrose VIC

15

Dust

Boral Montrose VIC

37.5

Natural sand

Boral Bacchus Marsh VIC

15

Limestone

Sibelco Australia

1.5

Binder

Various

5.8

Austroads 2016 | page 13

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Table 2.3 shows the combined grading of the aggregate component in the asphalt mixes which meets the
requirements for a VicRoads Type 10N asphalt mix (VicRoads 2014a). Aggregate grading tests were
conducted using AS 1141.11.1 (Standards Australia AS 1141.11.1-2009).
Table 2.3:

Asphalt mix aggregate grading


Sieve size

% aggregate passing (%w/w)

VicRoads specification for a Type


10N asphalt mix (%w/w)(1)

13.2 mm

100

100

9.5 mm

97

90100

6.7 mm

74

7086

4.75 mm

60

5873

2.36 mm

48

3855

1.18 mm

35

2544

600 m

26

1634

300 m

17

1024

150 m

10

616

75 m

6.5

47

VicRoads (2014a).

Source: Austroads (2013a).

Table 2.4 shows the results of Marshall stability and flow tests, as well as volumetric and resilient modulus
tests, which were obtained from asphalt samples produced using the mix design and C320 bitumen sample
described above. The test methods which were used to characterise the asphalt samples are listed in
Austroads (2015). The wheel tracking and fatigue results obtained from asphalt samples containing the C320
bitumen sample used for mix design development have also been included in the table for information. The
results shown in Table 2.4 meet the specified requirements for a VicRoads Type 10N dense graded asphalt
mix.
Fatigue tests were performed during the project using AGPT/T233 (Austroads Test Method
AGPT/T233: 2006) using triplicate samples of each type of binder and a peak tensile strain level of 400 ,
unless otherwise noted. Unless otherwise noted, fatigue tests were performed during the project using
standard reference test conditions except that the temperature during testing was 10.0 0.5 C. Asphalt
fatigue lives were determined at the point where the flexural stiffness of each sample had reduced to 50% of
its initial value as per AGPT/T233.

Austroads 2016 | page 14

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Table 2.4:

Test results obtained from asphalt containing C320 bitumen

Property

Test result

VicRoads specification for a


Type 10N asphalt mix(1)

Marshall stability at 60 C (kN)

9.9

6.5 min.

Marshall flow at 60 C (mm)

3.1

1.53.5

5.0

4.95.3

17

15 min.(3)

2.323

2.444

Binder film index (mm)(4)

8.6

8.0 min.

Resilient modulus (MPa)

3700

25005500

Average sample air voids (%)

5.0

Average wheel tracking depth at 60 C (mm)

6.4

4.6

Average initial flexural stiffness at 10 C (MPa)

10 300

Average fatigue life at 10 C (cycles)

83 100

Marshall, volumetric and resilient modulus test results

Air voids

(%)(2)

Voids in mineral aggregate (VMA) (%)(2)


Bulk density (tonne/m3)
Maximum density

(tonne/m3)

Wheel tracking test results

Fatigue test results


Average sample air voids (%)

1
2
3

VicRoads (2014a).
Calculated using Standards Australia AS/NZS 2891.8-2014 using a binder density of 1.033 tonne/m3.
Table 8 in VicRoads (2014a) lists a specification limit of 16 min. for the voids in mineral aggregate (VMA) for a Type
10N mix. A value of 15 min. has been quoted here as the text in VicRoads (2014a) indicates that the VMA of the
asphalt mix can be one percentage unit lower than the value stated in Table 8.
Calculated using VicRoads (2014b) using a binder density of 1.033 tonne/m3.

Source: Austroads (2015).

Austroads 2016 | page 15

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

3. Binder and Asphalt Fatigue Results Obtained


for Hard Polymer Modified Binders
3.1

Introduction

As a first step to determine whether force ratio tests could be used to rank the low temperature cracking
performance of hard PMB grades, a request was made to binder suppliers to provide samples which
represented commercial A35P, A25E, S15RF and S18RF PMB grades. It was expected that the hard binders
characterised during the current year of the project would include the new samples of hard PMBs as well the
commercial A35P binder and the laboratory-produced crumb rubber binder which were subjected to
preliminary extensiometer tests during the third year of the project (Austroads 2015). The
laboratory-produced crumb rubber binder which was manufactured during the third year of the project (2014
15) contained 15% w/w crumb rubber and 85% w/w compatible C170 bitumen (see Section 2.1 for details).
During the current year of the project (201516), A35P samples were obtained from two different binder
suppliers and single samples of commercial A25E and S18RF grade PMBs were obtained. A commercial
sample of an S15RF grade PMB, however, could not be obtained within the timescale of the project. As a
commercial sample of this PMB grade could not be obtained, another laboratory-prepared crumb rubber
binder was manufactured and characterised during the current year of the project (see Section 2.1 for
details). This crumb rubber binder contained 15% w/w crumb rubber and 85% w/w incompatible C170
bitumen. As the laboratory-prepared crumb rubber binders that were produced in the third and fourth years of
the project were produced using the same sample of crumb rubber it was thought that including these
materials in the study would provide information into how the use of different sources of C170 bitumen in the
blends affected the properties of the binders.
Bitumen samples which were obtained from different sources have been referred to in this report in terms of
their compatibility with styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) polymer which was observed during previous
studies (Austroads 2013a, 2014a). This naming convention (i.e. compatible bitumen, medium compatibility
bitumen, incompatible bitumen) is the same as that used during previous years of the project (Austroads
2013a, 2014a, 2015). Bitumen/polymer blends can be referred to as being compatible if the polymer remains
evenly dispersed in a PMB after hot storage when it is not stirred (Read & Whiteoak 2003). Compatible
bitumen/polymer blends show low results in European storage stability tests (European Committee for
Standardization EN 13399:2010) and Australian segregation tests (Austroads Test Method
AGPT/T108: 2006) whereas incompatible bitumen/polymer blends show high results in these tests. Bitumens
that produce compatible SBS-based PMBs are generally referred to as compatible bitumens while those
that produce PMBs that segregate on storage are generally referred to as incompatible bitumens.
Section 3 includes the results of conventional binder tests which were performed on each of the hard PMBs
as well as the results of extensiometer tests which were conducted using different temperatures and/or test
speeds to determine if a single set of extensiometer test conditions could be found where none of the hard
binders broke during testing. Section 3 also includes the DSR flow test results obtained for each of the hard
PMBs and the fatigue life results obtained when each of the materials was incorporated into the 10 mm
dense graded asphalt mix which was used during the project.

Austroads 2016 | page 16

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

3.2

Conventional Binder Test Results

Table 3.1 shows the conventional binder test results which were obtained for the two commercial A35P
binders (A35P-2 and A35P-3) and the commercial A25E grade binder which were obtained during the
current year of the project. The results obtained for the A35P binder which was subjected to a series of
conventional binder tests during the third year of the project (A35P-1) are also included in the table for
reference. Table 3.1 also contains information about the type of polymer modifier which was present in each
of the PMBs.
Table 3.1:

Conventional binder test results obtained for the commercial A35P and A25E grade PMBs
A35P-1(1)

A35P-2

A35P-3

A25E

PMB modifier(2)

EVA

EVA

EVA

PBD

Viscosity at 165 C (Pa s)

0.22

0.16

0.53

0.58

11

24

70.5

75.5

68.0

60.0

6442

3934

3717

857

3936

2525

1992

586

Elastic recovery at 60 C (%)(3)

27

45

27

44

Stiffness at 25 C (kPa)

107

61

74

37

Stiffness at 15 C (kPa)

> 187(4)

36

36

36

45

Storage stability (3 days storage


at 180 C) (C)

0.6

1.0

6.8

0.2

Storage stability: top softening


point result (C)

70.4

70.4

70.4

54.8

Storage stability: bottom softening


point result (C)

71.0

71.4

63.6

55.0

Meets A35P
grade
requirements.

Meets A35P grade


requirements
except for
softening point.

Meets A35P
grade
requirements.

Meets A25E
grade
requirements.

Property

Torsional recovery at 25 C (%)


Softening point (C)
Consistency at 60 C (Pa

s)(3)

Consistency 6% at 60 C (Pa s)(3)

Penetration at 25 C (0.1 mm)

Compliance to AGPT/T190 PMB


grades

1
2
3
4

The test results for this binder were sourced from Austroads (2015).
PBD = polybutadiene, EVA = ethylene vinyl acetate.
Tests were performed on the A25E binder using mould B. Tests on the other binders in the table were performed
using mould A.
The stiffness at 15 C result for this binder was above the maximum limit of 187 kPa which can be measured with the
elastometer. Due to this a value of > 187 kPa has been included in the table.

PMBs used in sprayed sealing applications are specified in the Australian PMB specification (Austroads Test
Method AGPT/T190: 2014) in terms maximum allowed stiffness at 15 C test results, while PMBs used in
asphalt applications are specified in terms of maximum allowed stiffness at 25 C results. As A35P and A25E
grade PMBs are used in asphalt applications, all samples which represented these binder grades were
subjected to stiffness at 25 C tests. An analysis of the results obtained for the 23 bitumen and PMB samples
which were subjected to stiffness at 15 C and stiffness at 25 C tests during the third year of the project
(Austroads 2015) indicated that if a binder showed a stiffness at 25 C result greater than 30 kPa then the
stiffness at 15 C result obtained for the material would be above the maximum limit which can be measured
with the elastometer (187 kPa). Stiffness at 15 C tests were therefore not performed on the commercial
A35P and A25E grade PMBs which were obtained during the current year of the project as the stiffness at
25 C results obtained for each of these materials were all above 30 kPa (Table 3.1).

Austroads 2016 | page 17

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

A comparison of the results shown in Table 3.1 with Australian PMB specification requirements indicated that
two of the A35P binders (i.e. the A35P-1 and A35P-3 binders) and the A25E binder met all tested
requirements of their stated PMB grade. The A35P-2 binder met all tested requirements for an A35P grade
binder except that its softening point was slightly above the specified range of 62 to 74 C. The A35P and
A25E grade binders included in the study did not meet the specified requirements of any other PMB grade
which is used in asphalt applications which is included in the Australian PMB specification. A comparison of
the viscosity at 165 C, torsional recovery at 25 C, softening point and consistency at 60 C results obtained
for each of the materials indicated that none of the binders met the test requirements for any of the PMB
grades which are utilised in sprayed sealing applications where tested.
The storage stability results obtained for the A35P-1, A35P-2 and A25E binder samples were all quite low
indicating that polymer segregation would be unlikely to occur if these materials were subjected to hot
storage. The A35P-3 binder showed a slightly higher storage stability result than the other materials which
implied that this binder would be slightly more susceptible to polymer segregation during hot storage if it was
not stirred. A comparison of the results of European storage stability tests and Australian segregation tests
which was conducted during the first year of the project (Austroads 2013a) indicated that binders which
showed storage stability results of up to the order of 35 C would be expected to show results close to 0% in
segregation tests. Based on this observation is it very likely that the A35P-3 binder would meet the Australian
PMB specification segregation test requirements for an A35P grade binder (i.e. 8% maximum) if it was
subjected to a segregation test.
Table 3.2 shows the conventional binder test results which were obtained from the two laboratory-produced
crumb rubber binders which were studied during the project as well as the results obtained for the
commercial S18RF binder. All crumb rubber binders were subjected to stiffness tests at 15 C and 25 C so
that their test properties could be directly compared to the specified properties of an S45R grade PMB.
Both laboratory-produced crumb rubber binders met the requirements listed for an S15RF grade binder in
the Australian PMB specification where tested. The laboratory-manufactured crumb rubber binder which was
produced using compatible C170 bitumen also met the requirements of an S45R grade binder, except for its
stiffness at 15 C test result. The laboratory-manufactured crumb rubber binder which was produced using
incompatible C170 bitumen also met the requirements for an S45R binder except for its elastic recovery at
60 C and stiffness at 15 C test results. The S18RF binder met the torsional recovery at 25 C test
requirements of its stated PMB grade (i.e. 30% minimum) but failed the softening point requirements (62 C
minimum) for an S18RF grade binder. The S18RF binder, where tested, appeared to meet the specified test
requirements listed for S15RF and S45R grades in the Australian PMB specification. The
laboratory-produced crumb rubber binders and the S18RF binder did not meet the requirements for any
other PMB grade listed in the Australian PMB specification.
The storage stability results obtained for the three crumb rubber binders were all less than zero which
indicated that the crumb rubber in the materials settled towards the bottom of the samples during hot
storage. The laboratory-produced crumb rubber binder which was produced using compatible C170 bitumen
appeared to show a lower degree of crumb rubber segregation after hot storage than the other two binders.
As the absolute magnitudes of the storage stability test results were all much less than 35 C, each of the
crumb rubber binders would be expected to show segregation test results that were close to zero if they were
subjected to Australian segregation tests.

Austroads 2016 | page 18

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Table 3.2:

Conventional binder test results obtained for the crumb rubber binders
15% w/w crumb rubber
binder made with
compatible C170
bitumen(1)

15% w/w crumb rubber


binder made with
incompatible C170
bitumen

S18RF

2.55

1.41

2.33

Torsional recovery at
25 C (%)

46

36

49

Softening point (C)

61.0

60.5

59.5

Consistency at 60 C
mould A (Pa s)

1836

1513

1152

Consistency 6% at 60 C
mould A (Pa s)

1220

1097

695

Elastic recovery at 60 C
mould A (%)

26

23

42

Stiffness at 25 C (kPa)

42

40

16

Stiffness at 15 C (kPa)

187(2)

187(2)

115

51

51

73

Storage stability (3 days


storage at 180 C) (C)

6.2

13.4

13.4

Storage stability: top


softening point result (C)

56.2

49.4

47.2

Storage stability: bottom


softening point result (C)

62.4

62.8

60.6

Compliance to
AGPT/T190 PMB grades

Meets S15RF grade


requirements. Meets S45R
grade requirements except
for stiffness at 15 C.

Meets S15RF grade


requirements. Meets S45R
grade requirements except
for elastic recovery at 60 C
and stiffness at 15 C.

Property

Viscosity at 165 C (Pa s)

>

Penetration at 25 C
(0.1 mm)

1
2

>

Does not meet S18RF


requirements (failed
softening point). Meets
S15RF and S45R grade
requirements.

The test results for this binder were sourced from Austroads (2015).
The stiffness at 15 C results for these binders were above the maximum limit of 187 kPa which can be measured
with the elastometer. Due to this values of > 187 kPa have been included in the table.

3.3

Extensiometer Test Results

Extensiometer tests were conducted using four different test conditions to determine whether a single set of
test conditions could be found where none of the hard PMBs broke during testing. All extensiometer tests
were performed in duplicate, unless otherwise noted. The test conditions included:

test temperature = 10 C, test speed = 0.5 mm/s (i.e. the standard extensiometer test conditions used in
the third year of the project)

test temperature = 10 C, test speed = 0.1 mm/s


test temperature = 15 C, test speed = 0.1 mm/s
test temperature = 20 C, test speed = 0.1 mm/s.
All extensiometer tests were performed to a final sample displacement (i.e. breakpoint) of 250 mm.

Austroads 2016 | page 19

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Tests were performed at 10 C using a lower test speed as it was thought that this would reduce the force
exerted on binder samples during testing and hence reduce their propensity to break. Tests were performed
at higher temperatures than 10 C as binders would be expected to become softer at higher temperatures
and would therefore be less inclined to break.
The extensiometer force-displacement curves shown in Section 3.3 correspond to those obtained from
individual extensiometer tests on each binder. Averaged force-displacement curves (where the force results
obtained during repeat tests on each binder were averaged at each sample displacement) have not been
shown in this section, as many of the binders broke at different sample displacements when they were
subjected to repeat tests.
Figure 3.1, Figure 3.2 and Figure 3.3 show the extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained for the
three A35P samples (i.e. A35P-1, A35P-2 and A35P-3, respectively) when they were subjected to the four
test conditions described above. The sample displacements at which each sample broke during testing are
included in the legends to the figures for all hard binders included in Section 3.3.
All A35P binders displayed a sharp peak in their force-displacement curves at small sample displacements
(in the range between 2 and 11 mm). The force observed from the binder samples then decreased as the
sample displacement was increased during each test. The peak force observed from each A35P sample
decreased if the test speed was decreased or the temperature was increased. The same trends between
peak force results and test conditions (i.e. test speed and temperature) were observed for all hard binders
studied. The A35P-1 samples broke at sample displacements less than 250 mm for all test conditions other
than tests performed at 20 C. The A35P-2 samples did not break under any of the test conditions studied.
One A35P-3 binder sample broke when tests were performed at 10 C using a test speed of 0.5 mm/s. The
A35P-3 binder did not break during any of the other extensiometer tests.
Figure 3.1: Extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained for the A35P-1 binder

Source: Austroads (2015).

Austroads 2016 | page 20

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Figure 3.2: Extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained for the A35P-2 binder

Figure 3.3: Extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained for the A35P-3 binder

Austroads 2016 | page 21

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Figure 3.4 shows the analogous force-displacement curves obtained for the A25E grade binder. All
extensiometer curves showed a peak at small sample displacements (between 3 and 6 mm). The force
observed from the A25E binder samples then decreased as the sample displacement was increased, and
either increased or stayed constant for sample displacements greater than about 120 mm. None of the A25E
binder samples broke during extensiometer tests.
Figure 3.4: Extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained for the A25E binder

Figure 3.5 and Figure 3.6 show the extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained for the 15% w/w
crumb rubber binder which was produced in the laboratory using compatible C170 bitumen. Figure 3.5
shows the results of extensiometer tests conducted at 10 C using test speeds of 0.5 and 0.1 mm/s, while
Figure 3.6 shows the results of extensiometer tests conducted at 15 C and 20 C using a test speed of
0.1 mm/s. Samples of this particular binder were subjected to four tests at 15 C and 20 C because during
the initial duplicate tests none of the samples tested at 15 C broke during testing while one of the samples
broke when it was tested at 20 C. As use of a higher test temperature was expected to reduce the
probability that a particular binder sample would break, additional tests were performed at these two
temperatures to verify the experimental results.
The extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained for the laboratory-manufactured crumb rubber binder
which was produced with compatible C170 bitumen all showed a peak at small sample displacements
(between 8 and 16 mm). The extensiometer curves obtained at 10 C appeared to show the presence of a
second peak at sample displacements around 100 mm, while the second peak did not appear to be present
when tests were conducted at 15 C and 20 C. All samples of this material broke when tests were
conducted at 10 C. None of the binder samples broke when tests were conducted at 15 C and three of the
four binder samples broke when tests were conducted at 20 C.

Austroads 2016 | page 22

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Figure 3.5: Extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained at 10 C for the 15% w/w crumb rubber binder
made with compatible C170 bitumen

Source: Austroads (2015).


Figure 3.6: Extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained at 15 C and 20 C for the 15% w/w crumb rubber
binder made with compatible C170 bitumen

Source: Austroads (2015).

Figure 3.7 shows the extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained for the laboratory-manufactured
15% w/w crumb rubber binder that contained incompatible C170 bitumen. All extensiometer curves showed
an initial peak at sample displacements between 5 and 16 mm. The overall shapes of the extensiometer
curves obtained for this binder were similar to those observed for the crumb rubber binder made with
compatible bitumen if the same test conditions were compared. At least one of the samples of this binder
broke under all test conditions studied.

Austroads 2016 | page 23

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Figure 3.7: Extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained for the 15% w/w crumb rubber binder made with
incompatible C170 bitumen

Figure 3.8 shows the extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained for the S18RF binder which all
showed an initial peak at sample displacements between 5 and 8 mm. Even though the shapes of the
extensiometer curves obtained for the S18RF binder were similar to those observed for the
laboratory-manufactured crumb rubber binders, the initial peak force results for the S18RF binder were lower
than the laboratory-manufactured crumb rubber binders when the results obtained under the same test
conditions were compared. This result suggests that the S18RF binder was a softer binder than the
laboratory-produced crumb rubber binders in the temperature range between 10 and 20 C. Samples of the
S18RF binder broke when tests were conducted at 10 C using a test speed of 0.1 mm/s. Samples of this
binder did not break when tests were conducted using the other three test conditions.
Table 3.3 provides a summary of the sample displacements where each of the hard binders broke during
extensiometer tests for the four test conditions studied. The A25E and the A35P-2 binders were the only
materials which did not break before a sample displacement of 250 mm when samples were subjected to the
standard extensiometer test conditions (i.e. test temperature = 10 C, test speed = 0.5 mm/s) which were
used to characterise the properties of softer binders during the third year of the project (Section 1.2).
An analysis of the breaking point results indicated that five of the seven binder samples broke before a
displacement of 250 mm when standard extensiometer test conditions were used. This reduced to three of
the binder samples when tests were performed at 10 C using a test speed of 0.1 mm/s, and two of the
binder samples when tests were performed at 15 C and 20 C.
As none of the test conditions studied allowed all of the hard binders to be extended to a sample
displacement of 250 mm without breaking, it was not possible to calculate force ratio results for the hard
binders using the same sample displacement which had been used to calculate the force ratio results for the
soft binders in the third year of the project (Section 1.2). The optimum test conditions for characterising the
properties of hard binders were therefore selected by initially determining the set of test conditions where the
fewest number of binders broke at a sample displacement of 250 mm (i.e. 15 C or 20 C). The test
conditions selected to be most appropriate for characterising the properties of hard binders were then
determined by finding the conditions where all of the hard binders could be extended to the largest sample
displacement without breaking.

Austroads 2016 | page 24

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Figure 3.8: Extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained for the S18RF binder

Table 3.3:

Summary of sample displacements where hard PMBs broke during extensiometer tests
Displacement at which samples broke (mm)

Binder

10 C, 0.5 mm/s

10 C, 0.1 mm/s

15 C, 0.1 mm/s

20 C, 0.1 mm/s

A35P-1(1)

107, 127

127, 137

156, 122

NB, NB

A35P-2

NB, NB

NB, NB

NB, NB

NB, NB

A35P-3

NB, 226

NB, NB

NB, NB

NB, NB

A25E

NB, NB

NB, NB

NB, NB

NB, NB

15% w/w crumb rubber binder made


with compatible C170 bitumen(1)

170, 149

218, 187

NB, NB, NB, NB

NB, 231, 209, 213

15% w/w crumb rubber binder made


with incompatible C170 bitumen

128, 134

189, 140

NB, 234

NB, 207

S18RF

249, 208

NB, NB

NB, NB

NB, NB

The test results for these binders were sourced from Austroads (2015).

Note: NB = Sample did not break before a sample displacement of 250 mm.

The results shown in Table 3.3 indicated that for tests conducted at 15 C a sample of the A35P-1 binder
broke at the smallest sample displacement (122 mm). When tests were conducted at 20 C a sample of the
15% w/w crumb rubber binder which was produced using incompatible C170 bitumen broke at the smallest
sample displacement (207 mm). As all binders could be extended to the largest sample displacement without
breaking (i.e. 207 mm) when tests were conducted at 20 C, test conditions of test temperature = 20 C, test
speed = 0.1 mm/s and sample displacement = 200 mm were considered to be the most appropriate for
characterising the properties of hard PMB grades. Table 3.4 shows the peak force and force ratio results
obtained for each of the hard PMBs when force ratio results were calculated using Equation 2 using a
sample displacement of 200 mm (see Section 2.3 for details).

Austroads 2016 | page 25

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Table 3.4:

Force ratio results obtained for the hard PMBs at a test temperature of 20 C and test speed of
0.1 mm/s

Binder

Peak force at 20 C,
0.1 mm/s (N)

Force ratio at 20 C,
0.1 mm/s, 150 mm

Force ratio at 20 C,
0.1 mm/s, 200 mm

A35P-1

7.82

0.05

0.03

A35P-2

4.07

0.05

0.03

A35P-3

6.41

0.19

0.12

A25E

2.19

0.15

0.15

15% w/w crumb rubber binder made


with compatible C170 bitumen

1.83

0.20

0.12

15% w/w crumb rubber binder made


with incompatible C170 bitumen

2.33

0.15

0.10

S18RF

0.94

0.42

0.36

As only seven hard binder samples were included in the study it is possible that if the number of hard binders
was extended then some materials may be more inclined to break than the current range of materials
studied. In order to account for this possibility, force ratio results were also calculated for the hard PMBs
using Equation 2 and a sample displacement of 150 mm. Force ratio results obtained under test conditions of
test temperature = 20 C, test speed = 0.1 mm/s and sample displacement = 150 mm are included in
Table 3.4.
The force ratio results shown in Table 3.4, as well as the analogous force ratio results which were obtained
for a series of the soft binders (which did not break during the third year of the project when standard
extensiometer test conditions were used), will be compared with asphalt fatigue life results in Section 4.2.

3.4

DSR Flow Test Results

It was noted in Section 1.3 that at the beginning of the current year of work it was not known whether a
suitable set of extensiometer test conditions would be found which would not cause the hard binders to
break during extensiometer tests. Due to these concerns, each of the hard binders was subjected to DSR
flow tests where binder samples of 3 mm thickness and 8 mm diameter were subjected to rotational strain
using a constant rotational shear rate (0.0075 s-1). All DSR flow tests were performed in duplicate on each
sample using a test temperature of 10 C.
DSR flow tests were thought to be promising tests to characterise the properties of hard PMB grades as they
have been used in the past to characterise the properties of very hard samples of bitumen and PMBs after
they were aged in a pressure ageing vessel (PAV) (Austroads 2014b). During an extensiometer test the
sample becomes thinner with increasing sample displacement, while during a DSR flow test the thickness of
a sample remains constant. As binder samples do not become thinner during DSR flow tests it was thought
that the use of this type of test would reduce the probability that samples would break during testing.
Figure 3.9 shows a schematic diagram of the experimental set-up used in the DSR flow tests which were
conducted during the study. During each test, the upper DSR test plate was rotated in a clockwise direction
with respect to the lower DSR test plate (when viewed from above) to a final target sample shear strain of 10.
During this process, each binder sample was twisted between the two DSR test plates. A strain level of 10
corresponds to 1.19 rotations of the upper test plate with respect to the lower test plate (i.e. a rotation of
430) if the geometry of the system is considered. A target strain level of 10 was used in DSR flow tests to
mirror the strain level of 10 achieved in extensiometer tests when samples are extended to a displacement of
250 mm. Further details on the sample preparation procedures used during DSR flow tests are included in
Section 2.4.

Austroads 2016 | page 26

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Figure 3.9: Schematic diagram of the experimental set-up used in DSR flow tests

None of the binder samples which were subjected to DSR flow tests during the study broke during testing.
Due to this, the DSR stress-strain curves shown in this report are the average of those obtained in duplicate
tests on each binder (see Section 2.4 for details).
Figure 3.10 shows the stress-strain curves which were obtained for the three A35P samples and the A25E
sample when DSR flow tests were conducted on each of the materials. The A35P-1 and A35P-2 samples
appeared to show a broad peak in their stress-strain curves at strains of about 1.5 and 2.3, respectively
(these values correspond to the same levels of strain as sample displacements of 37.5 and 57.5 mm in
extensiometer tests). The A35P-3 and A25E samples, by contrast, did not appear to show a distinct peak in
their stress-strain curves. The stress observed from the A35P-3 sample appeared to show a marked
increase with increasing strain for strain levels lower than about 2. The rate of increase in the stress
observed from the material with increasing strain then appeared to decrease as the strain level was
increased above 2. The stress-strain curve obtained for the A25E binder appeared to show a plateau region
between 1.5 and 3.5 strain. For strains above 3.5, the stress observed from the binder appeared to increase
as the level of strain was increased.
Figure 3.10:

DSR stress-strain curves obtained for the A35P and A25E binders

Austroads 2016 | page 27

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Figure 3.11 shows the stress-strain curves which were obtained for the three crumb rubber binders when
DSR flow tests were conducted on each of the materials. The 15% w/w crumb rubber binders showed similar
stress-strain curves which both contained a broad peak at around 6 strain (this strain level corresponds to
the same level of strain as a sample displacement of 150 mm in an extensiometer test). No obvious peak
was observed in the stress-strain curve which was obtained for the S18RF binder. The curve obtained for the
S18RF binder, however, appeared to level off when the strain level was increased above about 8 strain.
As the stress-strain curves which were obtained in the study did not always show the presence of a distinct
peak, it was not possible to use an equation of the same form as used to calculate extensiometer force ratio
results (i.e. Equation 2) to calculate an equivalent test parameter which was derived from DSR flow tests
which could be compared with the asphalt fatigue results which were obtained for the binders. As force ratio
results are determined by calculating the ratio of the force observed for a binder sample at high strain (i.e.
10 strain for standard test conditions) to that which is observed at low strain (i.e. < 2 strain) stress ratio
results were calculated using the stresses observed from binder samples at low and high strains in DSR flow
tests (Equation 3). This approach was proposed by Choi and Urquhart (Austroads 2014b) as a possible
means by which the results of DSR flow tests could be used to rank the low temperature cracking
performance of PAV-aged binders.
The high strain level utilised in stress ratio calculations was taken to be 10 strain to mirror the strain level of
10 achieved in extensiometer tests when samples are extended to a sample displacement of 250 mm. As an
appropriate lower level of strain () was not known, a series of stress ratio results (i.e. SR()) were calculated
for each binder by dividing the stress observed from each binder at 10 strain by the stress observed from
each binder at a variety of different lower strain levels (i.e. = 0.15, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 strain). Lower strain
levels of between 1 and 5 strain were used in the stress ratio determinations to represent a range of lower
strain values. An analysis of the extensiometer data which was obtained during the third year of the project
(for tests that were conducted using standard test conditions) indicated that the average sample
displacement at which the peak force was observed was 3.8 mm (i.e. 0.15 strain). A lower strain level of 0.15
was included in the stress ratio determinations to mirror the average sample displacement at which the peak
force occurred in extensiometer tests.
Figure 3.11:

DSR stress-strain curves obtained for the crumb rubber binders

Austroads 2016 | page 28

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Table 3.5 shows the stress ratio results that were obtained for the hard PMBs which were calculated using
Equation 3 for a variety of different lower strain levels. The stress recorded from each binder at a strain level
of 10 has been included in the table for information. The stress ratio results shown in Table 3.5, as well as
the analogous stress ratio results which were obtained for a series of the soft binders which were studied
during the third year of the project, will be compared with asphalt fatigue life results in Section 5.2.
Table 3.5:

Stress ratio results obtained for the hard PMBs at a test temperature of 10 C

Binder

Stress
ratio at
0.15 strain
(SR(0.15))

Stress
ratio at 1
strain
(SR(1))

Stress
ratio at 2
strain
(SR(2))

Stress
ratio at 3
strain
(SR(3))

Stress
ratio at 4
strain
(SR(4))

Stress
ratio at 5
strain
(SR(5))

Stress at
10 strain
(Pa)

A35P-1

1.44

0.87

0.85

0.88

0.91

0.94

342 354

A35P-2

1.53

0.99

0.93

0.93

0.94

0.95

342 968

A35P-3

2.53

1.35

1.17

1.10

1.07

1.04

412 189

A25E

2.46

1.73

1.65

1.63

1.59

1.51

383 420

15% w/w crumb rubber


made with compatible
C170 bitumen

4.07

1.86

1.32

1.09

0.93

0.83

308 771

15% w/w crumb rubber


made with incompatible
C170 bitumen

3.48

1.55

1.15

0.99

0.88

0.81

284 736

S18RF

4.36

2.45

1.91

1.64

1.44

1.28

181 042

3.5

Asphalt Fatigue Results

Table 3.6 shows the fatigue test results which were obtained for each of the hard PMBs when they were
incorporated into the same 10 mm dense graded asphalt mix which was used in previous years of the project
(Austroads 2013a, 2014a, 2015). All fatigue tests were performed at 10 C using AGPT/T233 (Austroads
Test Method AGPT/T233: 2006) and a peak tensile strain of 400 . Fatigue tests were conducted using
triplicate asphalt specimens except for specimens which contained the 15% w/w crumb rubber binder which
was made with compatible C170 bitumen. Table 3.6 also includes the individual results obtained for each
asphalt specimen in fatigue tests. These results have been included to show the variation in results during
testing.

Austroads 2016 | page 29

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Table 3.6:

Asphalt fatigue results obtained for the hard PMBs

Binder

A35P-1(2)

A35P-2

A35P-3

A25E

Average
sample air
voids (%)

Average initial
flexural
stiffness at
10 C (MPa)

Average
fatigue life
at 10 C
(cycles)

Individual
sample air
voids (%)(1)

Individual
sample initial
flexural stiffness
at 10 C (MPa)(1)

Individual
sample fatigue
lives at 10 C
(cycles)(1)

4.6

12 040

124 700

4.9
4.5
4.5

11 470
12 740
11 910

149 700
87 500
136 900

50 100

5.1
4.5
4.7

12 480
12 510
12 000

58 400
49 500
42 300

218 400

4.5
4.8
4.7

11 500
11 070
9 560

149 100
136 900
369 100

91 300

4.9
4.9
4.5

11 950
11 130
10 600

110 200
74 600
89 000

11 570
11 220
11 570
11 180
13 220
10 980

10 500
23 700
31 900
37 400
46 000
24 400

4.8

4.7

4.8

12 330

10 710

11 230

15% w/w crumb


rubber made with
compatible C170
bitumen

4.9

11 620

29 000

4.7
5.5
5.1
4.8
4.5
4.5

15% w/w crumb


rubber made with
incompatible
C170 bitumen

4.7

8 450

184 500

4.5
5.0
4.5

8 470
7 850
9 020

101 300
255 300
196 800

246 300

5.4
4.6
5.2

7 430
7 020
8 140

196 600
354 400
187 900

S18RF

1
2

5.1

7 530

The results are listed in the order that asphalt specimens were tested.
The test results for this binder were sourced from Austroads (2015).

Six fatigue tests were conducted on asphalt specimens containing the crumb rubber binder made with
compatible C170 bitumen as the average fatigue life result obtained for the initial three specimens (22 000
cycles) appeared similar to the fatigue life results obtained for neat samples of compatible C170 bitumen
which were obtained during previous years of the project. Addition of crumb rubber to a sample of C170
bitumen would be expected to improve the low temperature cracking resistance of a binder.

Austroads 2016 | page 30

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Table 3.7 shows the fatigue life results obtained for samples of compatible and incompatible C170 bitumen
when they were incorporated into the same asphalt mix design during previous years of the project. Even
though the fatigue characteristics of the sample of compatible C170 bitumen which was used to produce the
crumb rubber blend (which was sampled on 7 November 2014) were not determined, previously
characterised samples of compatible C170 bitumen have yielded fatigue life results in the range of 26 200
6 000 cycles. As the fatigue life of the crumb rubber blend made with compatible C170 bitumen during initial
triplicate tests was found to be similar to that observed for neat samples of bitumen, additional fatigue tests
were conducted to confirm the experimental results.
Table 3.7:

Asphalt fatigue results obtained for samples of compatible and incompatible C170 bitumen

Binder

Compatible
C170
bitumen(2)
Compatible
C170 bitumen

Sampling
date

Average
sample
air voids
(%)

23/2/2011

5.2

10 780

31 300

5.4
4.8
5.3

11 410
10 320
10 600

25 900
29 900
38 100

21/5/2013

5.0

11 150

21 100

4.9
4.6
5.4

11 360
10 410
11 680

24 300
21 100
18 000

8 940
8 270
8 590

78 700
96 600
73 200

Compatible
C170 bitumen

7/11/2014

Incompatible
C170
bitumen(2)

31/5/2009

1
2

Average
Average
initial flexural fatigue life
stiffness at
at 10 C
10 C (MPa)
(cycles)

Individual
Individual
Individual
sample
sample initial
sample fatigue
air voids flexural stiffness lives at 10 C
(%)(1)
at 10 C (MPa)(1)
(cycles)(1)

Not tested

5.1

8 600

82 800

5.3
4.8
5.3

The results are listed in the order that asphalt specimens were tested.
The test results for these binders were sourced from Austroads (2015).

The fatigue life results obtained for the asphalt specimens which contained A35P grade PMBs (Table 3.6)
appeared to follow the order A35P-2 < A35P-1 < A35P-3. The fatigue life result obtained for the A25E binder
was between those obtained for the A35P-2 and A35P-1 binders. The fatigue life result obtained when six
specimens containing the crumb rubber binder made with compatible C170 bitumen were tested (29 000
cycles) was similar to that obtained when only three specimens were tested (22 000 cycles).
In terms of the crumb rubber binders, the 15% w/w crumb rubber binder made with compatible C170 bitumen
showed the lowest fatigue life result of all binders, followed by the 15% w/w crumb rubber binder made with
incompatible C170 bitumen and then the S18RF binder. Even though the fatigue life of the crumb rubber
binder made with compatible C170 bitumen was similar to that obtained for neat samples of compatible C170
bitumen, the fatigue life result obtained for the crumb rubber binder made with incompatible C170 bitumen
(184 500 cycles) was much higher than that determined for the bitumen used to produce the blend (82 800
cycles, Table 3.7). As both crumb rubber blends contained the same amount and type of crumb rubber, the
difference in the fatigue performance of these materials suggests that the fatigue performance of crumb
rubber binders may be quite sensitive to the source of bitumen used to produce the crumb rubber blends.

Austroads 2016 | page 31

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

4. Comparisons between Extensiometer and


Asphalt Fatigue Results
Comparisons between extensiometer and asphalt fatigue results were conducted using two approaches
during the study. It was noted in Section 1.2 that the results of studies conducted during the third year of the
project (Austroads 2015) indicated that there was a good correlation between binder force ratio results and
their fatigue lives in asphalt if binder samples did not break during extensiometer tests when standard
extensiometer test conditions (i.e. test temperature = 10 C, test speed = 0.5 mm/s and final sample
displacement = 250 mm) were used. As samples of the A35P-2 and A25E binders did not break during
extensiometer tests when standard extensiometer test conditions were used during the current year of the
project (Table 3.3), the results obtained for these two materials were combined with the results obtained
during the third year of the project to ascertain whether the correlation between force ratio results and
asphalt fatigue results still held if these additional materials were included in the analysis.
The other approach taken to compare extensiometer and asphalt fatigue results initially involved testing a
range of the softer binders which were characterised during the third year of the project using the
extensiometer test conditions which appeared most appropriate for the characterisation of hard PMB grades
(i.e. test temperature = 20 C, test speed = 0.1 mm/s). Force ratio results were then calculated for each of
the soft binders using sample displacements of 150 and 200 mm. The force ratio results obtained for both
the soft and hard binders at each sample displacement were then compared to the fatigue life results
obtained for each of the binders in asphalt to determine if there was a correlation between force ratio results
obtained using the experimental test conditions developed for hard binders and asphalt fatigue life results.

4.1

Comparisons between Force Ratio Results Obtained Using


Standard Test Conditions and Asphalt Fatigue Results

Table 4.1 lists the force ratio results which were obtained for the two hard PMB samples which did not break
during extensiometer tests when standard extensiometer test conditions were used. The peak force results
obtained for the binders are also included in the table. Force ratio results were calculated for each of the
binders using Equation 1. The peak force result obtained from the A35P-2 binder was higher than that
obtained for the A25E binder. This suggests that the A25E binder is a softer binder than the A35P-2 binder
at a temperature of 10 C. The force ratio result obtained for the A25E binder was higher than the A35P-2
binder.
Table 4.1:

Force ratio results obtained for the A35P-2 and A25E binders using standard extensiometer test
conditions

Binder

Peak force at 10 C, 0.5 mm/s (N)

Force ratio at 10 C, 0.5 mm/s, 250 mm

A35P-2

70.5

0.02

A25E

50.4

0.24

Austroads 2016 | page 32

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Figure 4.1 shows a plot of fatigue lives of the binders studied during the third and fourth years of the project
versus force ratio results for all binders which did not break during extensiometer tests when standard
extensiometer test conditions were used. The binder grades associated with the bitumen samples and
commercial PMBs which were characterised during the third year of the project, as well as the data points
corresponding to the A35P-2 and A25E binders, have been noted in the figure. The fatigue life results have
been plotted using a logarithmic scale as these results spanned a range of more than a factor of 1000.
Figure 4.1 also includes the equation obtained from an exponential fit to the data and the correlation
coefficient (R2) value obtained from the fit. As the R2 value obtained from a fit to the relevant Year 3 and Year
4 experimental data (0.84) was the same as that obtained when only the Year 3 data was included
(Figure 1.4), there still appears to be a good correlation between the force ratio results obtained for binders
which do not break when subjected to standard test conditions, and the fatigue lives of the binders in
asphalt, if the data obtained during the fourth year of the project is included in the analysis.
Figure 4.1: Asphalt fatigue life versus extensiometer force ratio results obtained for all binders which did not
break when subjected to standard extensiometer test conditions

4.2

Comparisons between Force Ratio Results Obtained Using Hard


Binder Test Conditions and Asphalt Fatigue Results

Thirteen of the 21 soft binders which were characterised during the third year of the project were subjected to
extensiometer tests using the test conditions developed for the characterisation of hard binders (i.e. test
temperature = 20 C, test speed = 0.1 mm/s) to determine if there was a correlation between the force ratio
results obtained using hard binder test conditions and the fatigue lives of the materials in asphalt. The soft
binders that were tested were selected so that they represented materials which showed a range of
log10(fatigue life) results in the asphalt mix that was used in this study (Table 4.2).
Binders studied included 3 bitumen samples which were obtained from different sources, 5
laboratory-produced PMBs which contained SBS polymer and 5 commercially-produced PMBs. Four of the
laboratory-produced PMBs had been subjected to different periods of long-term hot storage at 180 C after
initial manufacture during the second year of the project. The commercial PMBs included samples of S35E
and S25E binders which were obtained directly from suppliers during the third year of the project, and 3
samples which were used in an Austroads sprayed sealing trial which was constructed on the Stuart
Highway near Coober Pedy in South Australia during November 2011 (Austroads 2013c, 2013d). The
Coober Pedy trial binder samples were obtained from suppliers tanks after the batches were manufactured.

Austroads 2016 | page 33

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Appendix A provides a summary of the conventional binder test results, as well as the force ratio and asphalt
fatigue results, which were obtained for all of the soft binders studied during the third year of the project. It
also includes the formulations used to prepare the laboratory-manufactured PMBs which contained SBS
polymer. The naming conventions used to identify each of the soft binders in this report are the same as
those used in Austroads (2015).
Figure 4.2, Figure 4.3 and Figure 4.4 show the force-displacement curves which were obtained for the 13
soft binders which were subjected to extensiometer tests using hard binder test conditions. All tests were
conducted in duplicate. As none of the soft binders broke during extensiometer tests the force-displacement
curves shown in Section 4.2 are the average of those obtained in duplicate tests on each binder (see
Section 2.3 for details).
All samples showed a peak or shoulder in their force-displacement curves at low sample displacements
(< 9 mm). In all cases, except for the S25E binder and the laboratory-manufactured 6% w/w SBS PMB which
was subjected to 0 days of hot storage (Figure 4.3), the force observed from each binder initially decreased
after the peak at small sample displacements.
The laboratory-produced 6% w/w SBS PMB which was subjected to different periods of hot storage at
180 C showed quite different behaviour when tested using hard binder test conditions (test temperature =
20 C) compared with standard extensiometer test conditions (test temperature = 10 C). When tested using
standard test conditions during the third year of the project, the force observed from this material at a
displacement of 250 mm increased as the hot storage time was increased from 0 to 5 days (Austroads
2015). The results shown in Figure 4.3 indicate that the force observed from this material at a displacement
of 250 mm followed the opposite trend with increasing hot storage time when samples were tested using
hard binder test conditions. This difference in behaviour most likely reflects the higher test temperature (i.e.
20 C) used in the more recent tests.
Figure 4.2: Extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained under hard binder test conditions for the
bitumen samples and laboratory-manufactured PMBs containing 3.5% w/w SBS polymer

Austroads 2016 | page 34

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Figure 4.3: Extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained under hard binder test conditions for the
laboratory-manufactured PMBs containing 6% w/w SBS polymer and the commercial S25E binder

Figure 4.4: Extensiometer force-displacement curves obtained under hard binder test conditions for four
commercial PMBs

Austroads 2016 | page 35

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

The force ratio results obtained when each of the soft binders was tested using hard binder extensiometer
test conditions are summarised in Table 4.2. In an analogous way to the hard binders (Section 3.3), force
ratio results were calculated at sample displacements of 150 and 200 mm. The binders have been separated
into three different general types in the table. Table 4.2 also includes information about the type of polymer
modifier which was present in each of the binders, the peak force results obtained for each material, and the
logarithm of the asphalt fatigue life result obtained for each binder in the 10 mm dense graded asphalt mix
which was used in the project.
Table 4.2:

Force ratio results obtained for the soft binders when hard binder extensiometer test conditions
were used
PMB
modifier(1)

Peak force at
20 C,
0.1 mm/s (N)

Force ratio at
20 C, 0.1 mm/s,
150 mm

Force ratio at
20 C, 0.1 mm/s,
200 mm

log10(average
asphalt fatigue life
at 10 C (cycles))(2)

Compatible C170
bitumen

None

1.03

0.04

0.04

4.50

Medium
compatibility C170
bitumen

None

0.68

0.07

0.07

4.68

Incompatible C320
bitumen

None

1.31

0.06

0.05

4.92

Binder
Bitumen samples

Laboratory-produced PMBs
3.5% SBS PMB
made with medium
compatibility C170
bitumen

SBS

1.23

0.12

0.12

5.14

3.5% SBS PMB


after 4 days storage
at 180 C

SBS

0.63

0.34

0.35

5.48

6% SBS PMB after


0 days storage at
180 C

SBS

1.05

2.06

2.86

5.57

6% SBS PMB after


2 days storage at
180 C

SBS

0.55

1.90

2.66

6.34

6% SBS PMB after


5 days storage at
180 C

SBS

0.66

1.15

1.54

6.61

S35E from Coober


Pedy trial

PBD

0.39

0.20

0.20

6.01

S35E

PBD

0.60

0.17

0.17

5.32

S10E from Coober


Pedy trial

SBS

0.77

0.62

0.74

5.82

S25E

SBS

0.76

2.23

3.37

7.68

Crumb
rubber

2.31

0.57

0.53

5.77

Commercial PMBs

S45R from Coober


Pedy trial
1
2

PBD = polybutadiene, SBS = styrene butadiene styrene.


Austroads (2015).

Austroads 2016 | page 36

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

The force ratio results obtained for the laboratory-produced 6% w/w SBS PMB which was subjected to
long-term hot storage reduced with increased storage time at both sample displacements (i.e. 150 and
200 mm). This behaviour followed the opposite trend to when extensiometer tests were conducted under
standard test conditions (i.e. test temperature = 10 C, test speed = 0.5 mm/s, sample displacement =
250 mm), as in this case force ratio results were found to generally increase with increased storage time at
180 C (Austroads 2015).
Figure 4.5 and Figure 4.6 show plots of the fatigue lives of all binders which were subjected to hard binder
test conditions versus force ratio results which were calculated using the force recorded from the binders at
150 mm and 200 mm, respectively. As in the case of Figure 4.1, fatigue life results have been plotted on a
logarithmic scale. Each of the figures includes an exponential fit to the experimental data and the correlation
coefficient (R2) value obtained from each fit. The data points corresponding to the hard binders are shaded
red in the figures.
The exponential fits to the fatigue life versus force ratio data shown in Figure 4.5 and Figure 4.6 both yielded
an R2 value of 0.60. This relatively low value of R2 indicated that there was not a linear relationship between
log10(fatigue life) results and force ratio results when binders were tested using hard binder test conditions.
Even though there appeared to be some cases where binders which had higher force ratio results had higher
fatigue life results in the asphalt mix that was used in this project, this was not the case for all binders. The
materials which showed the largest deviations from the fitted exponential curves are labelled in Figure 4.5
and Figure 4.6.
Exponential fits were also performed utilising the data obtained for the hard binders only. The R 2 value
obtained from these fits was very low (i.e. 0.18) when force ratio results were calculated using sample
displacements of 150 mm and 200 mm. This indicated that there was essentially no relationship between
fatigue life results and asphalt fatigue results if only the hard binders were considered. These very low values
of R2 are probably influenced by the small range of fatigue life results (i.e. 29 000 to 246 300 cycles) which
were obtained for the hard binders (Table 3.6).
Two possible contributing factors to the lack of correlation between fatigue life results and force ratio results
in Figure 4.5 and Figure 4.6 are the lower extensiometer sample displacements used in force ratio
calculations and the use of a higher test temperature to characterise the properties of the binders. It was
noted in Section 3.3 that as none of the test conditions studied allowed all of the hard binders to be extended
to a sample displacement of 250 mm during extensiometer tests, it was necessary to calculate force ratio
results at lower sample displacements than 250 mm. The use of lower sample displacements in force ratio
calculations may therefore be contributing to the lack of correlation between fatigue life results and force ratio
results when binders were tested using hard binder test conditions. Studies of the effect of temperature on
asphalt fatigue test results have indicated that asphalt specimens show longer fatigue lives if they are tested
at higher temperatures (Austroads 2014c). Investigations into the effects of binder type on asphalt fatigue
test results (Al-Khateeb et al. 2008) have also shown that the rate of change in fatigue life results with
temperature is dependent on the type of binder used in single type of asphalt mix. As the ranking of the
fatigue life results obtained for the series of binders studied may be different if fatigue tests were conducted
at 20 C, rather than 10 C, the use of a higher temperature when binders were tested using hard binder test
conditions may also be contributing to the lack of correlation between fatigue life and force ratio results.

Austroads 2016 | page 37

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Figure 4.5: Asphalt fatigue life versus extensiometer force ratio results determined using hard binder test
conditions and a sample displacement of 150 mm

Figure 4.6: Asphalt fatigue life versus extensiometer force ratio results determined using hard binder test
conditions and a sample displacement of 200 mm

Austroads 2016 | page 38

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

4.3

Discussion

Based on the results obtained during the third and fourth years of the project, and studies by Wilson et al.
(2009), there appears to be a good correlation between force ratio results and the fatigue lives of binders in
asphalt when binders are subjected to standard extensiometer test conditions (i.e. test temperature = 10 C,
test speed = 0.5 mm/s and final sample displacement = 250 mm) and the binders do not break during
extensiometer tests. As the sample of the hard A25E grade binder which was included in this study did not
break when subjected to standard extensiometer test conditions, it appears that standard test conditions are
suitable for characterising this type of binder. As two of the three A35P grade binders, and all of the crumb
rubber binders which were included in the current study broke when subjected to standard extensiometer
test conditions, this set of test conditions does not appear to be suitable for characterising the properties of
A35P, S15RF and S18RF grade PMBs.
Based on the results obtained during the project, and studies by Wilson et al. (2009), force ratio results
obtained using standard extensiometer test conditions appear to be suitable for ranking the low temperature
cracking performance of 10 of the 13 binder grades which have specified test properties listed in the
Australian PMB specification (i.e. S10E, S15E, S20E, S25E, S35E, S45R, A20E, A15E, A10E and A25E
grade PMBs) as none of these binder grades would be expected to break during extensiometer tests.
Even though studies of the hard binders which were conducted during the current year of the project were
able to find a set of test conditions where none of the hard binders broke during extensiometer tests (i.e. test
temperature = 20 C, test speed = 0.1 mm/s and sample displacement = 150 or 200 mm) there was not a
marked correlation between force ratio results determined using these test conditions and the fatigue lives of
the binders in asphalt for the series of hard and soft binders studied. Based on these results, it appears that
extensiometer force ratio results cannot be used at the current time to rank the low temperature cracking
performance of A35P, S15RF and S18RF PMB grades.

Austroads 2016 | page 39

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

5. Comparisons between DSR Flow Test and


Asphalt Fatigue Results
Comparisons between DSR flow test and asphalt fatigue results were conducted by comparing the stress
ratio results obtained using a variety of different lower strain levels (i.e. = 0.15, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 strain) with
the fatigue life results obtained for each of the binders in the 10 mm dense graded asphalt mix which was
used in the project. Binders subjected to DSR flow tests at 10 C included all of the hard binders, and 20 of
the 21 soft binders which were characterised during the third year of the project. One of the soft binders was
not tested as there was not enough sample remaining to conduct DSR flow tests. This PMB binder was
produced in the laboratory during the first year of the project and contained 94.5% w/w incompatible C170
bitumen, 3.5% w/w SBS polymer and 2% w/w polymer combining oil.
Soft binders subjected to DSR flow tests included 4 bitumen samples which were obtained from different
sources, 2 laboratory-prepared PMBs which contained 3.5% w/w SBS polymer which were produced with
different sources of bitumen in the first year of the project, a series of laboratory-produced PMBs which were
subjected to different periods of long-term hot storage during the second year of the project, and 6
commercial PMBs. The PMB samples subjected to long-term hot storage at 180 C contained either
3.5% w/w or 6% w/w SBS polymer. Commercial PMBs included samples of S35E and S25E binders which
were obtained directly from suppliers during the third year of the project, and 4 samples which were used in
an Austroads sprayed sealing trial at Coober Pedy which was constructed during November 2011 (Austroads
2013c, 2013d). The Coober Pedy trial samples were obtained from suppliers tanks after the batches were
manufactured.

5.1

DSR Flow Test Results Obtained for Soft Binders

Figure 5.1 shows the DSR stress-strain curves which were obtained for the four bitumen samples which
were characterised during the third year of the project. As none of the binder samples which were subjected
to DSR flow tests broke during testing, the stress-strain curves shown in this report are the average of those
obtained in duplicate tests on each binder. The stress observed from each of the bitumen samples appeared
to show a marked increase with increasing strain for strain levels lower than about 1 strain. For the C170
bitumen samples, there was not a marked change in the stress observed from the materials when samples
were subjected to strain levels greater than about 2. As the thickness of binder samples does not change
during DSR flow tests, and bitumen samples would not be expected to show significant elastic properties, the
constant regions of these curves most likely give an indication of the viscosity of each of the binders at
10 C. The C320 bitumen sample, by contrast, showed a peak in its stress-strain curve at a strain level of
approximately 2. For strain levels higher than 2 strain, the stress observed from the C320 bitumen sample
appeared to show a slight decrease as the strain level was further increased.
The DSR stress-strain curves which were obtained for the PMB samples which were used in an Austroads
sprayed sealing trial at Coober Pedy are shown in Figure 5.2. These samples have been shown in the main
body of the report as they represent the typical DSR flow test results which were obtained for the soft PMB
samples tested. The DSR flow test stress-strain curves which were obtained for the other 12 soft PMBs
tested are shown in Appendix B.

Austroads 2016 | page 40

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Figure 5.1: DSR stress-strain curves obtained for bitumen samples

Figure 5.2: DSR stress-strain curves obtained for the commercial PMBs used in the Coober Pedy trial

The DSR stress-strain curves which were obtained for the Coober Pedy trial samples, like the bitumen
samples, all showed a marked increase in the stress observed from the samples with increasing strain at low
strain levels (i.e. between about 0.2 and 1 strain). An inflection point was then observed for all samples at
strain levels which were in the range between about 0.2 and 2 strain. After the inflection point, the stress
observed from each binder appeared to generally increase with increasing strain level. The stress observed
from each of the binders at 10 strain followed the order S45R > S20E > S10E > S35E.

Austroads 2016 | page 41

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Table 5.1 shows the stress ratio results which were determined for each of the soft binders using Equation 3
and lower strain levels of 0.15, 1 and 2 strain. The binders have been separated into three different general
types in the table. Table 5.1 also includes information about the type of polymer modifier which was present
in each of the binders and the stress recorded from each material at a strain level of 10. The fatigue life
results which were obtained for each of the materials in the 10 mm dense graded asphalt mix which was
used in the project are included in Appendix A.
Table 5.1:

Stress ratio results obtained for the soft binders at 10 C using lower strain levels of 0.15, 1 and 2
strain
PMB
modifier(1)

Stress
ratio at
0.15 strain
(SR(0.15))

Stress
ratio at 1
strain
(SR(1))

Stress
ratio at 2
strain
(SR(2))

Stress at
10 strain
(Pa)

Compatible C170 bitumen

None

1.62

1.16

1.06

149 350

Medium compatibility C170 bitumen

None

1.58

1.12

1.03

111 631

Incompatible C170 bitumen

None

1.50

1.03

0.97

110 000

Incompatible C320 bitumen

None

1.61

1.03

0.96

257 335

3.5% SBS PMB made with compatible C170


bitumen

SBS

2.08

1.39

1.24

172 194

3.5% SBS PMB made with medium


compatibility C170 bitumen

SBS

1.80

1.14

1.04

171 856

3.5% SBS PMB after 0 days storage at


180 C

SBS

2.02

1.48

1.32

82 991

3.5% SBS PMB after 2 days storage at


180 C

SBS

2.23

1.63

1.49

91 287

3.5% SBS PMB after 4 days storage at


180 C

SBS

2.48

1.82

1.62

92 900

3.5% SBS PMB after 6 days storage at


180 C

SBS

3.06

2.14

1.88

131 383

6% SBS PMB after 0 days storage at 180 C

SBS

3.67

2.34

2.00

99 038

6% SBS PMB after 2 days storage at 180 C

SBS

3.59

2.36

2.04

86 367

6% SBS PMB after 4 days storage at 180 C

SBS

3.87

2.55

2.22

101 804

6% SBS PMB after 5 days storage at 180 C

SBS

4.13

2.70

2.34

94 279

S35E from Coober Pedy trial

PBD

2.06

1.55

1.44

38 971

S35E

PBD

2.57

1.84

1.68

146 251

S10E from Coober Pedy trial

SBS

4.14

2.73

2.32

130 792

S20E from Coober Pedy trial

SBS

2.42

1.63

1.47

223 097

S25E

SBS

7.78

4.42

3.57

167 967

Crumb
rubber

4.24

2.49

2.08

278 858

Binder

Bitumen samples

Laboratory-produced PMBs

Commercial PMBs

S45R from Coober Pedy trial


1

PBD = polybutadiene, SBS = styrene butadiene styrene.

Austroads 2016 | page 42

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Table 5.2 shows the stress ratio results which were obtained for each of the soft binders using Equation 3
and lower strain levels of 3, 4 and 5 strain. The binders have been separated into the same three general
types in this table and information is given about the type of polymer modifier present in each of the binders.
Table 5.2:

Stress ratio results obtained for the soft binders at 10 C using lower strain levels of 3, 4 and 5 strain
PMB
modifier(1)

Stress ratio at 3
strain (SR(3))

Stress ratio at 4
strain (SR(4))

Stress ratio at 5
strain (SR(5))

Compatible C170 bitumen

None

1.03

1.02

1.01

Medium compatibility C170 bitumen

None

1.01

1.01

1.01

Incompatible C170 bitumen

None

0.97

0.98

0.99

Incompatible C320 bitumen

None

0.96

0.98

0.99

3.5% SBS PMB made with compatible C170


bitumen

SBS

1.21

1.19

1.17

3.5% SBS PMB made with medium


compatibility C170 bitumen

SBS

1.05

1.07

1.07

3.5% SBS PMB after 0 days storage at


180 C

SBS

1.23

1.18

1.14

3.5% SBS PMB after 2 days storage at


180 C

SBS

1.42

1.38

1.32

3.5% SBS PMB after 4 days storage at


180 C

SBS

1.53

1.45

1.37

3.5% SBS PMB after 6 days storage at


180 C

SBS

1.72

1.57

1.45

6% SBS PMB after 0 days storage at 180 C

SBS

1.83

1.70

1.56

6% SBS PMB after 2 days storage at 180 C

SBS

1.89

1.76

1.62

6% SBS PMB after 4 days storage at 180 C

SBS

2.05

1.90

1.74

6% SBS PMB after 5 days storage at 180 C

SBS

2.11

1.93

1.75

S35E from Coober Pedy trial

PBD

1.38

1.32

1.26

S35E

PBD

1.59

1.50

1.41

S10E from Coober Pedy trial

SBS

2.05

1.81

1.61

S20E from Coober Pedy trial

SBS

1.44

1.42

1.37

S25E

SBS

3.05

2.60

2.20

Crumb
rubber

1.88

1.70

1.52

Binder
Bitumen samples

Laboratory-produced PMBs

Commercial PMBs

S45R from Coober Pedy trial


1

PBD = polybutadiene, SBS = styrene butadiene styrene.

Austroads 2016 | page 43

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

The results shown in Table 5.1 and Table 5.2 indicated that the stress ratio results which were obtained for
the 6% w/w SBS PMB which was subjected to long-term storage at 180 C showed an overall increase with
storage time, when the stress ratio results determined at each lower strain level were compared. For
example, the stress ratio result obtained for this material increased from 3.67 after 0 days of storage to 4.13
after 5 days of storage when the stress ratio results determined at 0.15 strain were compared (Table 5.1),
and from 1.83 after 0 days of storage to 2.11 after 5 days of storage when the stress ratio results determined
at 3 strain were compared (Table 5.2). This trend appeared to mirror the trend observed when the same
samples were subjected to standard extensiometer test conditions during the third year of the project
(Austroads 2015) as force ratio results were also found to generally increase with increased storage time
when extensiometer tests were conducted at the same test temperature (i.e. 10 C) as DSR flow tests.

5.2

Comparisons between DSR Flow Test Results and Asphalt Fatigue


Results

It was noted in Section 3.4 that it was necessary to calculate stress ratio results from the results of DSR flow
tests using a different method than extensiometer force ratio results as the DSR stress-strain curves did not
generally show a distinct peak. Due to the differences in the shapes of the extensiometer force-displacement
curves and DSR flow test stress-strain curves, DSR stress ratio results were calculated for each of the
binders by dividing the stress observed from each binder at 10 strain by the stress observed from each
material at a variety of different lower strain levels (i.e. 0.15, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 strain). Stress ratio results were
calculated in this way as the appropriate level of lower strain to be used in stress ratio calculations was not
known.
In order to determine the appropriate level of lower strain to be used in stress ratio calculations, the asphalt
fatigue life results obtained for both the hard and soft binders were initially plotted against the stress ratio
results which were determined for the materials at each lower strain level (six plots in total). Each set of data
was then fitted to an exponential function (i.e. the same type of function used to fit the asphalt fatigue life
versus force ratio data) and the fitted coefficients and the correlation coefficient (R 2) values obtained from
each fit were determined.
Table 5.3 lists the values of the fitted coefficients and values of R 2 which were obtained by fitting the fatigue
life-stress ratio data at each separate lower strain level to an exponential function. The R 2 value obtained
by fitting the stress ratio results calculated using a lower strain level of 0.15 strain was quite low (i.e. 0.58).
As the highest R2 value (0.77) was obtained when stress ratio results were calculated using a lower strain
level of 3 strain, this level of lower strain was considered the most appropriate for calculating stress ratio
results. It should be noted, however, that there only appeared to be a small range of R 2 values (i.e. 0.71 to
0.77) when lower strain values of between 1 and 5 strain were used in the analysis.
Table 5.3:

Fitted coefficients and values of R2 obtained from fitting the fatigue life-stress ratio data obtained for
the hard and soft binders to an exponential function

Lower strain level used to


calculate stress ratio results

Fitted pre-exponential
coefficient, A

Fitted exponential
coefficient, B

R2 value obtained from fit

0.15

16 892

0.941

0.58

8 354

1.880

0.71

5 320

2.456

0.76

3 240

2.985

0.77

1 782

3.614

0.76

833

4.437

0.74

Note: The values of A and B in the table correspond to the fitted parameters obtained from exponential fits to the
experimental data using an equation of the form: Fatigue life = A e(B x stress ratio). Stress ratio results were calculated using
six different lower strain levels.

Austroads 2016 | page 44

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Figure 5.3 shows a plot of the fatigue lives of all binders studied versus stress ratio results which were
obtained using a lower strain level of 3 strain. The fatigue life results have been plotted on a logarithmic
scale as these results spanned a range of more than a factor of 1000. The figure also includes an
exponential fit to the experimental data, and the equation and R 2 value obtained from the fit. The data points
corresponding to the hard binders are shaded red in Figure 5.3.
Figure 5.4 shows the data presented in Figure 5.3 where the grades of the commercial binders included in
the study have also been shown. The binders have also been grouped in terms of whether they represent
bitumen samples or PMBs. The PMB samples have been further separated in terms of the polymer used to
modify each of the materials.
Figure 5.3: Asphalt fatigue life versus stress ratio results at 3 strain obtained for the hard and soft binders

Figure 5.4: Asphalt fatigue life versus stress ratio results at 3 strain obtained for the hard and soft binders with
commercial binder grades and binder types included

Note: PBD = polybutadiene, SBS = styrene butadiene styrene, EVA = ethylene vinyl acetate.

Austroads 2016 | page 45

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

The results shown in Figure 5.3 and Figure 5.4 appear to indicate that all the data points are scattered
around the fitted exponential curve. The degree of scatter about the fitted curve does not appear to depend
on whether the binders are hard or soft binders (Figure 5.3), or whether they are bitumen samples or PMBs
made with different types of polymers. The value of R2 obtained from an exponential fit to the experimental
data (0.77) indicated that there was a very reasonable correlation between the stress ratio results obtained
for the 27 different binders and the fatigue lives of the materials in the 10 mm dense graded asphalt mix
which was used in this project. As none of the hard binders studied broke when DSR flow tests were
conducted at 10 C, this type of test appears suitable for characterising the properties of both hard and soft
PMB grades.

5.3

Comparison of Extensiometer and DSR Flow Test Results

As the results obtained in this study indicated that there were correlations between both force ratio
(Figure 4.1) and stress ratio results (Figure 5.3), and the fatigue lives of the binders in asphalt, the two binder
test parameters were compared to determine whether they were measuring the same physical property of
the binders. Figure 5.5 shows a plot of DSR stress ratio results at 3 strain versus extensiometer force ratio
results (which were determined using standard test conditions) for all binders which did not break during
extensiometer tests. Both tests were conducted at 10 C. The figure also includes a linear fit to the
experimental data and the correlation coefficient (R2) value obtained from the fit.
Figure 5.5: DSR stress ratio versus extensiometer force ratio results for all binders which did not break under
standard extensiometer test conditions

The very high correlation coefficient value shown in Figure 5.5 (R2 = 0.94) indicates that there is a direct
linear relationship between extensiometer force ratio results (determined under standard test conditions) and
DSR stress ratio results determined at 3 strain, if binders do not break during extensiometer tests. The
excellent correlation observed between these two test parameters indicates that both DSR stress ratio tests
and extensiometer force ratio tests are measuring the same material property of the binders when both tests
are conducted at 10 C.

Austroads 2016 | page 46

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

5.4

General Discussion

Based on the results obtained during this project and studies by Wilson et al. (2009), force ratio results
obtained using standard extensiometer test conditions (i.e. test temperature = 10 C, test speed = 0.5 mm/s
and final sample displacement = 250 mm) appear to be suitable for ranking the low temperature cracking
performance of 10 of the 13 binder grades which have specified test properties listed in the Australian PMB
specification (i.e. S10E, S15E, S20E, S25E, S35E, S45R, A20E, A15E, A10E and A25E grade PMBs). They
do not appear to be suitable for characterising the properties of A35P, S15RF and S18RF grade PMBs as
samples of these grades of materials would be anticipated to break during extensiometer tests.
The results obtained in the current study indicated that there was a very reasonable correlation between
DSR stress ratio results determined using a lower strain level of 3 strain and the fatigue lives of the binders
in a single type of 10 mm dense graded asphalt mix for a dataset which included 27 different binders. As
none of the hard binders studied broke during DSR flow tests, it appears that DSR stress ratio results (which
are obtained using test conditions of test temperature = 10 C, shear rate = 0.0075 s-1 and lower strain level
= 3 strain) are suitable for ranking the low temperature cracking performance of all 13 binder grades which
have specified properties listed in the Australian PMB specification.
As both force ratio and stress ratio results appear to be able to rank the low temperature cracking
performance of a wide range of PMBs, the selection of the most appropriate test to be included in the
Australian PMB specification (Austroads Test Method AGPT/T190: 2014) may also need to consider the
number of DSR instruments currently in Australia. At the present time, most laboratories have access to
extensiometer test equipment as the same equipment is used to conduct consistency at 60 C and stiffness
at 15 C/25 C tests which are included in the Australian PMB specification. While the number of DSR
instruments in Australia is increasing, it is likely that not all quality-control laboratories would have access to
a DSR at present. If force ratio tests were included in the Australian PMB specification then it is unlikely that
they would be suitable for ranking the performance of A35P, S15RF and S18RF PMB grades. If stress ratio
tests were incorporated into the Australian PMB specification all specified PMB grades could be tested, but
some laboratories would be required to buy a new piece of test equipment.

Austroads 2016 | page 47

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

6. Conclusions
1. Studies conducted during the third year of the project found a good correlation between force ratio results
obtained using a standard set of extensiometer test conditions (i.e. test temperature = 10 C, test speed =
0.5 mm/s, sample displacement = 250 mm) and the fatigue lives of the binders at 10 C in a single type of
10 mm dense graded asphalt mix, if binders did not break during extensiometer tests. Extensiometer
tests were initially conducted on a series of hard PMBs using a variety of different test conditions in order
to find a set of test conditions where none of the binders broke. Hard binders studied included three
commercial A35P grade PMBs, samples of commercial A25E and S18RF grade PMBs, and two
laboratory-produced binders which contained 15% w/w crumb rubber. All hard binders, except for the
A25E binder and one of the A35P binders, broke during extensiometer tests when standard test
conditions were used. None of the hard binders broke before a displacement of 200 mm when
extensiometer tests were conducted at 20 C using a test speed of 0.1 mm/s.
2. The results of conventional binder tests on each of the hard PMBs indicated that 3 of the 5 commercial
binders met the specified requirements of their stated PMB grade where tested. The S18RF binder and 1
of the A35P binders did not meet the requirements of their stated PMB grade. The 2 laboratory-prepared
crumb rubber binders met the requirements listed for an S15RF grade PMB in the Australian PMB
specification.
3. The force ratio results which were obtained for a series of 20 binders which were all tested using test
conditions where none of the hard binders broke (i.e. test temperature = 20 C, test speed = 0.1 mm/s
and sample displacement = 150 or 200 mm) were compared with the fatigue life results obtained for each
of the materials in a single type of 10 mm dense graded asphalt mix. As no marked correlation was found
between force ratio results at 20 C and fatigue life results obtained at 10 C, it appears that force ratio
tests cannot be used at the current time to rank the low temperature cracking performance of hard A35P,
S15RF and S18RF grades.
4. An analysis of the results obtained during the third and fourth years of the project reconfirmed that there
was still a good correlation between force ratio results determined using standard extensiometer test
conditions and the fatigue lives of the materials in a single type of 10 mm dense graded asphalt mix if
binders did not break during extensiometer tests. As the sample of the hard A25E binder did not break
during extensiometer tests when standard test conditions were used, force ratio results obtained using
standard extensiometer test conditions appear to be suitable for ranking the low temperature cracking
performance of 10 of the 13 binder grades which have specified test properties listed in the Australian
PMB specification (i.e. S10E, S15E, S20E, S25E, S35E, S45R, A20E, A15E, A10E and A25E grade
PMBs).
5. A relationship was observed between DSR stress ratio results calculated using a lower strain level of 3
strain and the fatigue lives of the binders in a single type of 10 mm dense graded asphalt mix for a
dataset which included 4 bitumen samples, 16 soft PMBs and 7 hard PMBs. DSR stress ratio tests
appeared to be more suitable for characterising the properties of hard binders as none of these materials
broke during testing. Based on the correlation between DSR stress ratio results and asphalt fatigue
results observed for the different types of binders studied, DSR stress ratio results appear to be suitable
for ranking the low temperature cracking performance of all of the binder grades which have specified test
properties listed in the Australian PMB specification.
6. As both extensiometer force ratio and DSR stress ratio results appear to be able to rank the low
temperature cracking performance of a wide range of PMBs, the selection of the most appropriate test to
be included in the Australian PMB specification may also need to consider the availability of DSR
instruments in Australia. If force ratio tests are included in the PMB specification, it is unlikely that A35P,
S15RF and S18RF grade PMBs would be able to be tested effectively. If stress ratio tests are included in
the PMB specification, some Australian laboratories may need to purchase a DSR.

Austroads 2016 | page 48

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

References
Al-Khateeb, G, Stuart, K, Mogawer, W & Gibson, N 2008, Fatigue performance: asphalt binders versus
mixtures versus full-scale pavements, Canadian Journal of Transportation, vol. 2, no. 1, 12 pp.
Austroads 2013a, Effects of polymer segregation in polymer modified binders on field performance, APT254-13, Austroads, Sydney, NSW.
Austroads 2013b, Investigation of long-term ageing characterisation test methods for sprayed sealing
binders, AP-T244-13, Austroads, Sydney, NSW.
Austroads 2013c, Polymer modified binder sprayed seal trials: construction report, AP-T242-13, Austroads,
Sydney, NSW.
Austroads 2013d, PMB sprayed seal trials: 12 month summary report, AP-T253-13, Austroads, Sydney,
NSW.
Austroads 2014a, Effects of hot storage on polymer modified binder properties and field performance, APT271-14, Austroads, Sydney, NSW.
Austroads 2014b, Post-ageing characterisation of sprayed sealing binders, AP-T270-14, Austroads, Sydney,
NSW.
Austroads 2014c, Guide to pavement technology part 4B: asphalt, AGPT04B-14, Austroads, Sydney, NSW.
Austroads 2015, Development of a binder test to rank the low temperature cracking resistance of polymer
modified binders, AP-T299-15, Austroads, Sydney, NSW.
Read, J & Whiteoak, D 2003, The Shell bitumen handbook, 5th edn, Thomas Telford Publishing, London, UK.
VicRoads 2014a, Registration of bituminous mix designs, RC 500.01, VicRoads, Kew, Vic.
VicRoads 2014b, Design of asphalt mixes (Marshall method), RC 201.01, VicRoads, Kew, Vic.
Wilson, G, Fernando, T, Budija, M & Urquhart, R 2009, Crack reflection in sprayed seals: the search for a
binder test, AAPA international flexible pavement conference, 13th, Surfers Paradise, Queensland,
Australia, Hallmark Conference and Events, Brighton, Vic, 7 pp.
Australian Standards
AS 1141.11.1-2009, Methods of sampling and testing aggregates: particle size distribution: sieving method.
AS 2008-2013, Bitumen for pavements.
AS/NZS 2341.4-2015, Methods of testing bitumen and related roadmaking products: determination of
dynamic viscosity by rotational viscometer.
AS 2341.12-1993, Methods of testing bitumen and related roadmaking products: determination of
penetration.
AS 2341.18-1992, Methods of testing bitumen and related roadmaking products: determination of softening
point (ring and ball method).
AS/NZS 2341.21-2015, Methods of testing bitumen and related roadmaking products: sample preparation.

Austroads 2016 | page 49

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

AS/NZS 2891.8-2014, Methods of sampling and testing asphalt: voids and volumetric properties of
compacted asphalt mixes.
Austroads Test Methods
AGPT/T108: 2006, Segregation of polymer modified binders.
AGPT/T121: 2014, Shear properties of polymer modified binders (ARRB Elastometer).
AGPT/T124: 2016, Force ratio of polymer modified binders (ARRB Extensiometer).
AGPT/T190: 2014, Specification framework for polymer modified binders.
AGPT/T233: 2006, Fatigue life of compacted bituminous mixes subject to repeated flexural bending.
European Committee for Standardization
EN 13399:2010, Bitumen and bituminous binders: determination of storage stability of modified bitumen.
EN 14023:2010, Bitumen and bituminous binders: specification framework for polymer modified binders.

Austroads 2016 | page 50

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Appendix A Summary of Test Results Obtained


in the Third Year of the Project
This appendix provides a summary of the conventional binder test results, force ratio results and asphalt
fatigue results which were obtained for the binders which were studied during the third year of the project
which are not included in the main body of the report. All force ratio results shown in the tables were
obtained using standard extensiometer test conditions (i.e. test temperature = 10 C, test speed = 0.5 mm/s
and sample displacement = 250 mm).
The samples have been identified in the tables in this appendix using the same naming conventions as used
in Austroads (2015). Bitumen samples which were obtained from different sources have been referred to in
this project in terms of their compatibility with styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) polymer (see Section 3.1 for
details).
Table A 1: Summary of conventional binder, force ratio and asphalt fatigue results obtained for samples of
bitumen
Compatible
C170 bitumen

Medium
compatibility
C170 bitumen

Incompatible
C170 bitumen

Incompatible
C320 bitumen

23/2/2011

28/9/2010

31/5/2009

14/12/2011

Viscosity at 60 C (Pa s)

176

148

152

279

Viscosity at 135 C (Pa s)

0.36

0.38

0.38

0.50

Penetration at 25 C (0.1 mm)

71

69

77

51

Viscosity at 60 C after rolling thin


film oven (RTFO) treatment (Pa s)

253

282

301

480

Percentage increase in viscosity at


60 C after RTFO treatment (%)

144

191

198

172

Softening point (C)

48.0

48.0

47.5

51.0

Stiffness at 25 C (kPa)

18

20

14

36

Stiffness at 15 C (kPa)

187(1)

186

162

> 187(1)

Force ratio at 10 C, 0.5 mm/s,


250 mm

0.02

0.02

0.02

0.03

Average asphalt specimen air


voids (%)

5.2

5.0

5.1

4.6

Average asphalt specimen initial


flexural stiffness at 10 C (MPa)

10 780

10 680

8 600

10 300

Average asphalt specimen fatigue


life at 10 C (cycles)

31 300

47 700

82 800

83 100

Property
Sampling date

>

The stiffness at 15 C results for these binders were above the maximum limit of 187 kPa which can be measured
with the elastometer. Due to this values of > 187 kPa have been included in the table.

Source: Austroads (2015).

Austroads 2016 | page 51

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Table A 2: Summary of conventional binder, force ratio and asphalt fatigue results obtained for
laboratory-produced PMBs containing 3.5% w/w SBS polymer
3.5% SBS PMB made
with compatible C170
bitumen

3.5% SBS PMB made


with medium
compatibility C170
bitumen

3.5% SBS PMB made


with incompatible
C170 bitumen

96.5% w/w compatible


C170 bitumen,
3.5% w/w SBS
polymer(1)

96.5% w/w medium


compatibility C170
bitumen, 3.5% w/w SBS
polymer(1)

94.5% w/w incompatible


C170 bitumen,
3.5% w/w SBS polymer,
2% w/w polymer
combining oil(1)

0.27

0.29

0.25

21

24

27

Softening point (C)

53.5

55.0

53.0

Consistency at 60 C mould B
(Pa s)

443

481

588

Consistency 6% at 60 C mould
B (Pa s)

405

415

363

Elastic recovery at 60 C mould


B (%)

63

Stiffness at 25 C (kPa)

22

27

17

Stiffness at 15 C (kPa)

187(2)

187(2)

155

59

55

64

Storage stability (3 days storage at


180 C) (C)

0.6

0.6

0.4

Force ratio at 10 C, 0.5 mm/s,


250 mm

0.16

0.18

0.21

Average asphalt specimen air


voids (%)

5.2

5.0

4.8

Average asphalt specimen initial


flexural stiffness at 10 C (MPa)

10 670

9 640

8 000

Average asphalt specimen fatigue


life at 10 C (cycles)

58 100

138 800

211 500

Property

PMB formulation

Viscosity at 165 C (Pa s)


Torsional recovery at 25 C (%)

Penetration at 25 C (0.1 mm)

1
2

>

>

The SBS polymer and polymer combining oil used in the PMB blends were Kraton D1101 from Kraton Polymers and
Permaflux from Shell Australia, respectively.
The stiffness at 15 C results for these binders were above the maximum limit of 187 kPa which can be measured
with the elastometer. Due to this values of > 187 kPa have been included in the table.

Source: Austroads (2015).

Austroads 2016 | page 52

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Table A 3: Summary of conventional binder, force ratio and asphalt fatigue results obtained for a
laboratory-produced PMB containing 3.5% w/w SBS polymer which was subjected to long-term hot
storage
Property
PMB formation
Storage time at 180 C (days)

92.5% w/w compatible C170 bitumen, 3.5% w/w SBS polymer, 4% w/w polymer
combining oil(1)
0

0.21

0.20

0.19

0.19

25

40

38

31

Softening point (C)

50.5

53.5

57.0

54.5

Consistency at 60 C mould B
(Pa s)

267

354

428

491

Consistency 6% at 60 C mould
B (Pa s)

244

301

309

313

Stiffness at 25 C (kPa)

13

14

13

13

Stiffness at 15 C (kPa)

125

126

102

109

Penetration at 25 C (0.1 mm)

74

72

71

72

Storage stability (3 days storage at


180 C) (C)

0.6

Force ratio at 10 C, 0.5 mm/s,


250 mm

0.10

0.34

0.43

0.50

Average asphalt specimen air


voids (%)

5.2

5.0

5.1

4.5

Average asphalt specimen initial


flexural stiffness at 10 C (MPa)

8 990

7 880

7 530

7 840

Average asphalt specimen fatigue


life at 10 C (cycles)

63 800

235 200

300 400

331 900

Viscosity at 165 C (Pa s)


Torsional recovery at 25 C (%)

3.5% SBS PMB

The SBS polymer and polymer combining oil used in the PMB blends were Kraton D1101 from Kraton Polymers and
Permaflux from Shell Australia, respectively.

Source: Austroads (2015).

Austroads 2016 | page 53

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Table A 4: Summary of conventional binder, force ratio and asphalt fatigue results obtained for a
laboratory-produced PMB containing 6% w/w SBS polymer which was subjected to long-term hot
storage
Property
PMB formation
Storage time at 180 C (days)

85% w/w compatible C170 bitumen, 6% w/w SBS polymer, 9% w/w polymer
combining oil(1)
0

0.39

0.36

0.33

0.32

77

74

64

65

88.0

81.0

76.5

75.5

Consistency at 60 C mould
A (Pa s)

21 311

6 371

1 977

3 673

Consistency 6% at 60 C
mould A (Pa s)

2 287

798

565

675

Elastic recovery at 60 C
mould A (%)

88

95

84

94

Stiffness at 25 C (kPa)

14

13

10

11

Stiffness at 15 C (kPa)

80

71

65

65

Penetration at 25 C (0.1 mm)

82

89

93

90

Storage stability (3 days


storage at 180 C) (C)

1.2

Force ratio at 10 C, 0.5 mm/s,


250 mm

0.79

0.78

0.87

0.96

Average asphalt specimen air


voids (%)

4.8

5.0

5.0

4.9

Average asphalt specimen


initial flexural stiffness at 10 C
(MPa)

6 540

5 900

5 250

5 480

375 000

2 164 100

4 752 800

4 086 400

Viscosity at 165 C (Pa s)


Torsional recovery at 25 C (%)
Softening point (C)

Average asphalt specimen


fatigue life at 10 C (cycles)
1

6% SBS PMB

The SBS polymer and polymer combining oil used in the PMB blends were Kraton D1101 from Kraton Polymers and
Permaflux from Shell Australia, respectively.

Source: Austroads (2015).

Austroads 2016 | page 54

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Table A 5: Summary of conventional binder, force ratio and asphalt fatigue results obtained for commercial
PMB samples
S35E from
Coober
Pedy trial

S35E

S10E from
Coober
Pedy trial

S20E from
Coober
Pedy trial

S25E

PBD

PBD

SBS

SBS

SBS

Crumb
rubber

0.29

0.26

0.27

0.39

0.64

2.46

26

32

40

50

76

49

Softening point (C)

46.5

50.5

60.0

74.0

92.5

60.5

Consistency at 60 C (Pa s)(2)

263

348

666

1 137

11 599

1 721

Consistency 6% at 60 C
(Pa s)(2)

213

266

366

594

1 260

978

Elastic recovery at 60 C (%)(2)

45

36

99

34

Stiffness at 25 C (kPa)

14

13

34

12

29

Stiffness at 15 C (kPa)

50

145

85

> 187(3)

64

168

Penetration at 25 C (0.1 mm)

101

69

77

50

87

57

Storage stability (3 days storage


at 180 C) (C)

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.8

0.8

12.6

Force ratio at 10 C, 0.5 mm/s,


250 mm

0.24

0.26

0.81

0.38

1.99

0.80

Average asphalt specimen air


voids (%)

4.9

5.0

4.9

5.0

4.8

5.5

5 810

8 920

6 890

9 460

8 040

1 025 900

211 100

662 600

110 700

Property
PMB modifier(1)
Viscosity at 165 C (Pa s)
Torsional recovery at 25 C (%)

Average asphalt specimen initial


flexural stiffness at 10 C (MPa)
Average asphalt specimen
fatigue life at 10 C (cycles)
1
2
3
4

47 900 000
(4)

S45R from
Coober
Pedy trial

588 200

PBD = polybutadiene.
Tests were performed on S35E and S10E binders using mould B. Tests on the other binders listed in the table were
performed using mould A.
The stiffness at 15 C result for this binder was above the maximum limit of 187 kPa which can be measured with the
elastometer. Due to this a value of > 187 kPa has been included in the table.
Extrapolated value based on six measurements conducted at peak tensile strain levels between 700 and 1100
.

Source: Austroads (2015).

Austroads 2016 | page 55

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Appendix B DSR Flow Test Results for Binders


Not Included in the Main Body of the
Report
Figure B 1: DSR stress-strain curves obtained for laboratory-produced PMBs containing 3.5% w/w SBS polymer

Figure B 2: DSR stress-strain curves obtained for a laboratory-produced PMB containing 3.5% w/w SBS polymer
which was subjected to long-term hot storage

Austroads 2016 | page 56

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Figure B 3: DSR stress-strain curves obtained for a laboratory-produced PMB containing 6% w/w SBS polymer
which was subjected to long-term hot storage

Figure B 4: DSR stress-strain curves obtained for commercial S35E and S25E binders

Austroads 2016 | page 57

Development of a Binder Test to Rank the Low Temperature Cracking


Resistance of Polymer Modified Binders Stage 2: Hard Binders

Austroads 2016 | page 58