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Construction and Building Materials 25 (2011) 38413848

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Effect of waste polymer modier on the properties of bituminous concrete mixes

Sangita a, Tabrez Alam Khan b,, Sabina b, D.K. Sharma c
Central Road Research Institute, New Delhi 110 024, India
Department of Chemistry, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi 110 025, India
Centre for Energy Studies, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, New Delhi 110 016, India

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: In the present study, the effect of waste polymer (nitrile rubber and polyethylene in 1:4 ratio) modier
Received 28 August 2010 (WPM) on various mechanical properties such as Marshall stability, ow, Marshall quotient (stability to
Received in revised form 12 March 2011 ow ratio), resilient modulus and permanent deformation potential of bituminous concrete overlays has
Accepted 11 April 2011
been evaluated. The Marshall tests of the waste polymer modied bituminous concrete (WPMB) mixes,
Available online 17 May 2011
prepared through dry process, indicated the optimum waste polymer modier content to be 8% (by
weight of optimum bitumen content). The waste polymer modied bituminous mix containing 8%
WPM showed considerable improvement in various mechanical properties of the mix compared to the
Waste polymer modier (WPM)
Waste polymer modied bituminous
conventional bituminous concrete mix.
(WPMB) mixes 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Marshall stability
Marshall quotient
Creep modulus

1. Introduction recycled plastics composed predominantly of polypropylene and

low-density polyethylene can be incorporated in plain bituminous
Bitumen and bituminous mixes are modied in order to im- concrete mixtures. Vasudevan et al. [9] stated that the polymer
prove the performance of bituminous concrete mixtures. There coated aggregate bitumen mix perform better for exible pave-
are two different processes to commercialize the production of ments. Probably, the inter-molecular bonding between waste poly-
bituminous concrete mixes. The wet method involves the use of mer coated aggregate and bitumen enhanced the strength and
ready mixed modied bitumen, while the dry process involves quality of the bituminous concrete mixes [10].
adding waste polymers/rubbers (in powder, shredded or granular The main objective of this work is to evaluate the inuence of
form) to the aggregate followed by bitumen during mixing process the waste polymer modier (nitrile rubber and polyethylene) on
at the hot mix plant [1]. The effect of such modication varies with the mechanical properties of the bituminous concrete mixes, with
the chemical nature and the percentage of the modier used. In a view to nding an alternative disposal and usage of these waste
general, improvement in resistance to rutting, thermal and fatigue polymers.
cracking were obtained and therefore, utilization of such waste
materials in the highway sector is an effective disposal alternative, 2. Experimental
which reduces the disposal cost and save the environmental
contamination. Consequently, with improved durability and resis- 2.1. Materials

tance against deformation to conventional bituminous mixes the

2.1.1. Waste polymer modier (WPM)
longevity of the roads is increased [25]. Flynn [6] has reported The mixture of shredded nitrile rubber and polyethylene wastes (particle size
that recycled polythene from grocery bags may be useful in bitu- <2 mm) in 1:4 ratio was used as the modier to coat the aggregates. The sieve anal-
minous pavements resulting in reduced permanent deformation yses indicated that 98% of WPM passed through 2.36 mm sieve and 73% through
1.18 mm sieve.
in the form of rutting and reduced low-temperature cracking of
Thermal degradation behavior of the waste polymer modier (Fig. 1) was stud-
the pavement surfacing. Similarly, the resistance to deformation ied on a thermo-gravimetric analyzer (TGA) using a sample size of 7.8 mg at a heat-
of bituminous concrete modied with approximately 5% low- ing rate of 20 C per min in nitrogen atmosphere to determine the suitability of
density polythene was found signicantly better than that of incorporating the modier with hot aggregates at hot mix plant during commercial
unmodied mixes [7]. Zoorob and Suparma [8] have reported that production of the mixes.

2.1.2. Bitumen
Corresponding author. Tel.: +91 11 26985938; fax: +91 11 26985507. 60/70 penetration grade paving bitumen has been used as binder and the phys-
E-mail address: (T.A. Khan). ical properties of bitumen in comparison to IS: 73, 1992 [11] are given in Table 1.

0950-0618/$ - see front matter 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
3842 Sangita et al. / Construction and Building Materials 25 (2011) 38413848

Fig. 1. TGA curve for waste polymer modier (WPM).

Table 1
Physical properties of 60/70 penetration grade paving bitumen.

S. No. Test Results Specication limits as per IS: 73, 1992 (India)
1 Penetration (25 C; 0.1 mm) 63 5070
2 Softening point (C) 49 4654
3 Viscosity at (135 C)-Pa s 0.51 >150
4 Ductility (25 C) (cm) 85 >75
5 Flash point (C) +260 175, minimum
6 Specic gravity 1.02 >0.99
Properties after thin lm oven test (residue)
7 Loss on heating (%) by mass 0.6 1 maximum
8 Retained penetration after TFOT, 25 C, 100 g, 5 s, percentage of original 51 55 minimum
9 Softening point after TFOT (C) 55 48 minimum

Table 2
Properties of aggregates used.

S. No. Properties tested Values obtained (aggregate) Limits specied for bituminous concrete
(BC), as per MoRTH specication
Coarse Fine Filler
1 Aggregate impact value (%) 20 24 (max.)
2 Combined akiness and elongation indices (%) 25 30 (max.)
3 Water absorption (%) 0.6 2 (max.)
4 Impact value (%) 21 24 (max.)
5 Specic gravity (g/cm3) 2.68 2.66 2.80

MoRTH = Specications of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (India), IV Revision, 2001.

2.1.3. Aggregates (OBC). The Marshall specimens were prepared by adding 4.5%, 5.0%, 5.5% and 6.0%
The locally available Quartzite aggregates (New Delhi, India) were used, which of bitumen (by weight of aggregate) into the hot aggregate. Three identical speci-
complied with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH, India) mens for each percentage were fabricated and the average value is reported. The vol-
requirements [12]. The tested properties of aggregates are presented in Table 2. umetric properties were then determined as shown in Fig. 3 to obtain the optimum
binder content, which was found to be 5.35% (by wt. of mix) with 3.93% air voids,
17% voids in mineral aggregate and 72% void lled with bitumen. Waste polymer
2.1.4. Filler
modied bituminous concrete mixes were prepared by mixing varying amounts of
Hydrated lime (98% passing through 300 lm sieve and 89% passing through 75
WPM (6%, 8%, 12% or 15%) into the pre-heated aggregate at 150160 C, followed
lm sieve) has been used as ller.
by addition of the bitumen using the same optimum binder content (5.35%) as
was determined for conventional mixes. The bituminous mix was then placed in a
2.2. Methods Marshall mold (63.5 mm height and 101.5 mm dia.) and compacted by applying
75 blows on each side in the above temperature range. The samples were cooled
2.2.1. Design of bituminous concrete mixes at room temperature for a day and then placed in water at 60 C for 30 min. The Mar-
The gradation curve for bituminous concrete mix vis-a-vis the limits, according shall stability was determined using Marshall test apparatus. Marshall stability,
to MoRTH, India standard test methods [12] is given in Fig. 2. From the job mix for- Marshall quotient and retained stability tests values are higher for bituminous con-
mula, the ratio of aggregate (20 mm), aggregate (10 mm), stone dust and lime for crete mix containing 8% WPM conrming the optimum WPM content to be 8%. The
mix designing was found to be 18:30:49:3. The Marshall mix design procedure as various engineering properties of modied bituminous mixes were evaluated to as-
specied in ASTM D1559 was used for determining the optimum binder content sess the effect of 8% waste polymer modier on bituminous mixes.
Sangita et al. / Construction and Building Materials 25 (2011) 38413848 3843

Fig. 2. Gradation curve of bituminous concrete mix.

2.2.2. Marshall stability, ow and Marshall quotient tests (LVDTs) according to Australian standards AS 2891.12.1 [20]. To control the ambi-
The magnitude of Marshall stability signies the ability of the bituminous con- ent temperature of test samples, the loading mechanism of UTM machine was
crete mixtures to resist shoving and rutting under heavy trafc load. It is dened as equipped with an environmental chamber. The 8% waste polymer modied and
maximum load carried by a compacted bituminous mix using standard test at 60 C. conventional bituminous mix specimen were tested at 40 C and 60 C at 200 kPa
Low Marshall stability values indicate reduced stability of the bituminous concrete peak stress and 1 Hz frequency.
mixes, which may lead to raveling of the road surfaces. The ow value is the defor-
mation which the Marshall specimen undergoes during the loading up to the max- 2.2.6. Wheel tracking test
imum load in 0.25 mm units [13]. The Marshall quotient calculated as the ratio of Wheel tracking test is widely used for evaluating the rutting potential and strip-
stability to ow is used as a measure of the materials resistance to permanent ping of pavements. Rutting behavior of the modied and conventional mixes was
deformation, shear stress and rutting in the road service [14]. studied using Hamburg wheel tracking device (HWTD). In this method, a steel
wheel with solid rubber tire (31 kg load) indented to and fro motion of 24 passes
2.2.3. Retained stability (aggregate adhesion) per minute over the specimen of bituminous surface of size 300  150  50 mm
The potential for stripping is a function of the afnity between the aggregate at 50 C was employed and the rutting potential at 20,000 passes/load repetitions
and the bitumen and its consequent ability to resist the displacing effect of water was determined. As the test proceeded, the tire indented a path in the specimens
[15]. In materials with high void content, there is risk of stripping, resulting in a loss tested. The rut depth was recorded using LVDTs and subsequently analyzed.
of internal cohesion and possibly disintegration of the surfacing. The damage
caused by water to the bituminous pavement was studied by measuring the re- 2.2.7. Resilient modulus (RM) test
tained stability (Indian Roads Congress standard, IRC SP: 53-2002) [16], determined Resilient modulus (RM) is one of the important mechanical properties used to
by keeping the Marshall specimen in water for 24 h at 60 C. It is the ratio of Mar- design asphalt pavement structures. It is dened as the ratio of the repeated stress
shall stability of bituminous specimen after wet conditioning to the identical spec- to the corresponding resilient strain. Since the recoverable portion of the strain is
imen without conditioning and is usually quoted as percentage. Specications for measured in a resilient modulus test, the stiffness of the material can be related
the mechanical properties of polymer modied bituminous mixes according to In- to the modulus of elasticity of the bituminous mix and is commonly used for mech-
dian Roads Congress standard (IRC SP: 53-2002) are tabulated in Table 3. anistic analysis [21]. Therefore, the resilient modulus of both conventional and
modied bituminous concrete mixes was studied at different temperatures for pre-
2.2.4. Indirect tensile strength (ITS) test dicting the mixture design and pavement performance. The total resilient modulus
The indirect tensile strength (ITS) test is carried out to dene the tensile char- (ERT) is dened as:
acteristics of the bituminous concrete mixes, which can further be related to the
cracking properties of the pavement [17]. The indirect tensile strength (ITS) of P mRT 0:27
water conditioned as well as unconditioned dry specimen (both conventional and t DH T
8% WPM modied mix) was determined using Marshall test apparatus. The ITS test where, P is the repeated load (N), mRT the total resilient Poissons ratio (a value of nor-
was calculated using the following equation: mally 0.35 used), t the thickness of specimen (mm) and DHT is the total recoverable
2Pmax horizontal deformation (mm). The test was done on Universal Testing Machine
ITS 1 (UTM-16) according to ASTM D 4123-82. The test was conducted by applying the
p td
compressive load with a haversine waveform at 5 C, 25 C, 35 C and 45 C for 8%
where, Pmax is the maximum load (kg), t is the thickness of the specimen (cm), d is waste polymer modied and conventional bituminous mixes. Three laboratory fab-
the diameter of the specimen (cm). The tensile strength ratio (TSR), which is the ratio ricated Marshall specimen were tested. Prior to testing, three dimensional axes were
of the tensile strength of water conditioned specimen, (ITS wet, 60 C, 24 h) to the marked on the specimen and height of the sample was determined. The specimen
tensile strength of unconditioned specimen (ITS dry), have been evaluated according were conditioned for 24 h in the environmental chamber at the given temperature
to AASHTO T283. and then subjected to repeated loading (pulse width of 100 ms, pulse repetition per-
iod of 3000 ms and test pulse count of ve).
2.2.5. Creep stiffness
Dynamic creep test, based on the concept of axial compression test [18], is
thought to be one of the best methods for assessing the permanent deformation po-
3. Results and discussion
tential of bituminous mixtures. Creep test is usually carried out in the static or dy-
namic mode of loading. Typical conditions for carrying out unconned static Various laboratory tests indicate that 60/70 penetration grade
uniaxial creep test are: (a) standard test temperature 40 C, and for hot climate paving bitumen (Table 1) and aggregate (Table 2) meet the specied
60 C, (b) preloading for 2 min at 0.01 MPa, as a conditioning stress, (c) constant
limits. Thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGA) curve of the waste poly-
loading stress during the test at 0.1 MPa, (d) duration of test 1 h loading and
1 h unloading [19]. During the test, axial permanent deformation is measured as mer modier (Fig. 1) shows that WPM is thermally stable up to
a function of time. Thus, knowing the applied stress (r), the axial strain (e), the 200 C with no weight loss. This suggests that the modier can be
creep modulus, Ec, at any loading time can be determined: used safely up to this temperature in bituminous concrete mixtures.
Applied stress r
Ec 2
Accumulated axial strain e 3.1. Marshall stability, ow and Marshall quotient properties
Dynamic creep test was carried out using a Universal Testing Machine (UTM-
19) by applying repeated axial stress pulse to bituminous mixture specimen and Fig. 4 shows the Marshall stability and bulk density of the con-
measuring the vertical deformation with linear variable displacement transducer ventional and modied mixes versus the percent WPM content. As
3844 Sangita et al. / Construction and Building Materials 25 (2011) 38413848

Fig. 3. Volumetric properties of bituminous concrete mix at binder content versus: stability, ow, air voids, bulk density and voids lled with bitumen.

Table 3
Specications for mechanical properties of polymer modied bituminous mixes according to Indian Roads Congress standards (IRC SP:53-2002).

S.No. Properties Requirement Method of test

Hot climate Cold climate High rainfall
1 Marshall stability (75 blows) at 60 C, kg (minimum) 1200 1000 1200 ASTM D:15591979
2 Marshall ow at 60 C, mm 2.54.0 3.55.0 3.04.5 ASTM D:15591979
3 Marshall quotient, kg/mm 250500 ASTM D:15591979
4 Voids in compacted mix, % 3.05.0
5 Retained stability after 24 h in water at 60 C, %, (minimum) 99 95 100 ASTM D:10751979

can be seen the Marshall stability of modied mixes is higher than about 50%. However, further increase in the modier content
that of the conventional mixes. With increase in the modier con- (1215%) results in a decrease in the stability of the modied
tent from 6% to 8%, the stability of modied mixes increases by mixes, which may be ascribed to reduced adhesiveness of the
Sangita et al. / Construction and Building Materials 25 (2011) 38413848 3845

Fig. 4. Marshall stability (standard deviation = 8.741.6, CoV = 0.0050.025) and bulk density versus percent modier.


Flow (mm)





Conventional 6% WPM 8% WPM 12% WPM 15% WPM

Fig. 5. Flow versus percentage of waste polymer modier (WPM) (standard deviation = 0.076 0.41, CoV = 0.020.133).

Marshall Quotient (kg/mm)






Conventional 6% WPM 8% WPM 12% WPM 15% WPM

Fig. 6. Marshall quotient versus percentage of waste polymer modier (WPM).

mix. Therefore, the optimum percentage of modier was selected gradually as the percentage of the modier is further enhanced
to be 8% by weight of bitumen. The bulk density values at various from 8% to 15%, which can be ascribed to the fatigue cracking of
percentage of WPM as shown in Fig. 4, further supports the opti- the mix due to the increased stiffness. The Marshall quotient,
mum waste polymer content for the modied mixes to be 8%. which is a measure of resistance to permanent deformation, shear
The ow values of conventional and the modied mixes at var- stress and rutting was highest for the modied mix having 8%
ious WPM percentages are shown in Fig. 5. The ow initially in- modier which is 1.41 times higher than that of conventional
creases with addition of the modier up to 8%, but decreases mix (Fig. 6).
3846 Sangita et al. / Construction and Building Materials 25 (2011) 38413848

Fig. 7. Retained stability versus percentage of waste polymer modier (WPM).

14 Fig. 9. Tensile strength ratio for conventional and 8% waste polymer modied
12 bituminous (WPMB) mix.
ITS (kg/sq. cm)

8 nous mix. However, the creep modulus of waste polymer modied
6 bituminous mix is substantially higher than that of conventional
4 mix as shown in Fig. 11. The higher creep modulus of waste poly-
mer modied bituminous mixes indicates increased resistance to
permanent deformation.
Conventional 8% WPM
3.5. Wheel tracking test
Fig. 8. Indirect tensile strength for conventional and 8% waste polymer modied
bituminous (WPMB) mix. The wheel tracking test results are shown in Fig. 12. The rutting
(deformation) is found to be lower in case of bituminous concrete
mix containing 8% WPM (3.68 mm) in comparison to the conven-
3.2. Resistance to stripping tional mix (up to 6.44 mm).

By subjecting the specimen to immersion in water for 24 h at

3.6. Resilient modulus (RM) test
60 C, the WPMB mix was shown to perform better than the con-
ventional mix in terms of its resistance to moisture susceptibility.
The results of resilient modulus tests for both conventional and
The retained stability (Fig. 7) indicates that the WPMB mix con-
WPMB mix (8% modier) is presented in Fig. 13. It can be seen that
taining 8% WPM retained 94% of its pre-conditioned stability as
the resilient modulus values decreases with increase in tempera-
compared to others with higher modier percentage. This can be
ture from 5 C to 45 C. At 5 C the RM value for 8% WPMB is
attributed to the reduced adhesion between the waste polymer
0.46 times higher whereas at 45 C it is about 1.21 times higher
coated aggregate and bitumen at higher modier content. This test
as compared to the conventional mix. This shows that 8% WPMB
further conrms that 8% WPM is the optimum modier content.
mix is more suitable for hot climate. Moreover, MR values for the
mix containing 8% modier at all specied temperatures are higher
3.3. Indirect tensile strength as compared to conventional mix, thereby indicating that the mod-
ied mix is harder than conventional 60/70 mix.
Indirect tensile strength (ITS) results of the WPMB mix contain-
ing 8% WPM were higher than the conventional mix as shown in 4. Conclusions
Fig. 8. ITS (dry) values obtained at 25 C for the conventional mix
is 6.5 kg/cm2 while it is 11.92 kg/cm2 for modied mix containing The effect of waste polymer modier (nitrile rubber and poly-
8% WPM. This implies that the WPMB mix is capable of withstand- thene) on various mechanical properties of the bituminous con-
ing much larger tensile strains prior to cracking. The tensile crete mixtures was evaluated. The TGA results showed that
strength ratio of 8% WPMB mix is 93.5% compared to 89% for con- waste polymer modier (WPM) is thermally stable up to 230 C
ventional mix as shown in Fig. 9, which conrms that the 8% so will not degrade when blended with hot aggregates. Various test
WPMB mix is less susceptible to moisture damage in comparison results on 60/70 bitumen and aggregate satised the specied lim-
to the conventional mix. its. Marshall stability, Marshall quotient and retained stability tests
conrmed the optimum WPM content to be 8%. The WPMB mix
3.4. Creep stiffness test containing 8% WPM showed signicant improvements in various
properties of the bituminous concrete mixture. The higher values
The dynamic creep test provides a better simulation of the con- of Marshall stability, Marshall quotient and retained stability indi-
ditions in the pavement than a static creep test. The accumulated cated increased strength and low moisture susceptibility.
permanent strain measured at 40 C and 60 C is plotted against The ITS results for both dry and wet specimen of 8% WPMB mix
number of cycles in Fig. 10. The results indicate that the permanent show 50% enhanced tensile strength compared to conventional
strain curves of 8% waste polymer modied mix specimen at both mix. High TSR (%) indicate that 8% WPMB mix is more resistant
the temperatures is lower than that of the conventional bitumi- to water damage. The dynamic creep test at 40 C and 60 C
Sangita et al. / Construction and Building Materials 25 (2011) 38413848 3847

Fig. 10. Permanent strain versus number of cycles for conventional and 8% waste polymer modied bituminous (WPMB) mix.

Fig. 11. Creep modulus versus number of cycles for conventional and 8% waste polymer modied bituminous (WPMB) mix.

Fig. 12. Deformation versus number of cycles for conventional and 8% waste polymer modied bituminous (WPMB) mix.

showed that the addition of 8% WPM enhanced the creep stiffness compared to the conventional mix. Hamburg wheel tracking test
and decreased the permanent axial strain of the modied bitumi- results indicate that the modied mix containing 8% waste poly-
nous mix. The results for resilient modulus obtained at low and mer modier is less susceptible to rut deformation as compared
high temperature showed that 8% WPMB mix has high RM value to conventional bituminous concrete mixes.
3848 Sangita et al. / Construction and Building Materials 25 (2011) 38413848

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