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5 July 2019

Subject: New Performance Graded (PG) Specification for Polymer Modified Bitumen
(PMB) – IS 15462:2019

Dear Highway Colleague:

If you do not know about the just published Performance Graded (PG) Specification for Polymer
Modified Bitumen (PMB) – IS 15462:2019, please read on.
Some of you are aware, I had the privilege of single-handedly introducing viscosity graded (VG)
bitumen in India in 2006 in lieu of penetration graded bitumen with political intervention (read
10 Jan Path at that time). Now, as a member of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) I had the
privilege of making significant contribution in drafting this new Performance Graded (PG)
Specification for Polymer Modified Bitumen (PMB) – IS 15462:2019. Since I served on the US
SHRP Asphalt Advisory Committee which oversaw the development of the Superpave PG
grades for paving bitumen, that experience came in handy for this BIS task.
The previous version of IS 15462:2004, “Polymer and Rubber Modified Bitumen –
Specification” included both PMB and CRMB (crumb rubber modified bitumen). I have been
protesting against the use of CRMB since 2006 when I presented and published an Indian Roads
Congress (IRC) paper on CRMB, which can be accessed with amusing Q and A at the following

I had justified in this IRC paper that the CRMB specification as used in India is not as stringent
as used in the US where it is primarily used in four states only. CRMB as used in India is a third-
class modifier and should not be used. I have not seen any published long-range field study in
India, which has clearly demonstrated that CRMB performs significantly better than VG-30
bitumen. That is why; its use in India has declined over the years, but some agencies still use it
by citing IRC:SP: 53-2010 for “modified” bitumen, which allows its unwarranted use. PMB and
CRMB are two different “animals” and therefore do not belong to a common specification as
wrongfully given in IRC:SP:53-2010. Finally, this fact has been realized now by the BIS and it
has decided to keep IS 15462:2019 for PMB only. A separate specification IS 17079:2019 has
been published for rubber modified bitumen, which in my opinion should not be used at all if
reasonable performance of bituminous pavement is to be ensured.
Now, let’s talk about the revised, just published Performance Graded (PG) Specification for
Polymer Modified Bitumen (PMB) – IS 15462:2019. PMB has been classified into 5
performance grades as follows:
Grade PMB 64 -10
Grade PMB 70 -10
Grade PMB 76 -10
Grade PMB 82 -10
Grade PMB 76 -22
These grades are based on average maximum and minimum pavement temperatures. For
example, PMB 64 -10 should be used if the average maximum pavement temperature is less than
64 C and the minimum pavement temperature is more than -10 C at the project site. The last
grade PMB 76 -22 would be suitable for high altitude areas in northern India where temperatures
are very low.
Since only air temperatures are available from the Indian Meteorological Organization, IS
15462:2019 gives an equation in Section 5, which can be used to calculate pavement temperature
from air temperature and latitude in degrees of the project location. An example of Churu
(Rajasthan) was formulated by me and is given in the standard to show this calculation.
Besides the maximum and minimum pavement temperatures, a third factor: amount and type of
traffic (the so-called traffic service condition) is also used to designate/specify the full PMB
grade by using suffix such as S, H, V, and E as shown in Table 1.
Table 1. Traffic service condition and pertinent suffix
Traffic Service Suffix Description
Standard S Traffic levels fewer than 10 million Equivalent Single Axle
Loads (ESALs) and more than the standard traffic speed
(>70 km/h).
Heavy H Traffic levels 10-30 million ESALs or slow-moving traffic
(20 to 70 km/h).
Very Heavy V Traffic levels of greater than 30 million ESALs
or very slow moving/ standing traffic (less
than 20 km/h)

Extremely Heavy E Traffic levels of greater than 30 million

ESALs and very slow moving/ standing
traffic (less than 20 km/h)

For example, for Churu (Rajasthan), we may need PMB 76 -10 based on maximum and
minimum pavement temperatures. If traffic service condition is Standard (traffic less than 10
million ESALs and high-speed traffic), we must specify PMB 76- 10 S. If the amount of traffic
is same but there are long up gradients on the road, which may cause trucks to slow down, we
should specify PMB 76 -10 H. If there are intersections in Churu where traffic is standing or very
slow moving, we should specify PMB 76 -10 V and so forth. Do pay attention to “and” and “or”
in the last column of the table.
Different traffic service conditions from S to E would require increasing dosage of polymer or
change of polymer so that the resultant PMB satisfies the maximum non-recoverable creep
compliance (Jnr) as determined by the dynamic shear rheometer (DSR) using the multiple stress
creep recovery (MSCR) test.
This means both PMB suppliers and buyers should purchase the DSR to check specification
compliance. In the US, the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) and the Asphalt
Institute have been conducting practical hands-on training for testing performance grade (PG)
bitumen using DSR. Such a role should be played now by the Central Road Research Institute
(CRRI) in India under the sponsorship of MORTH.
Since the use of DSR is time consuming, IS 15462:2019 allows the buyer to accept the PMB
shipment at the project site provisionally by testing for softening point and percent elastic
recovery only as specified subject to final confirmation from DSR tests.
I hope the preceding information is helpful to you to understand the new, revised Performance
Graded (PG) Specification for Polymer Modified Bitumen (PMB) – IS 15462:2019. MORTH,
NHAI, and state PWDs should start specifying IS 15462:2019 for PMB with immediate effect
and the confusing common specification for PMB and CRMB given in IRC:SP:53-2010,
“Guidelines on Use of Modified Bitumen Road Construction” should be withdrawn.
If you would like to learn more technical details of the performance grades (PG) of unmodified
and modified bitumen both in terms of required tests and specifications, please refer to the
revised edition of the first-ever textbook, “Bituminous Road Construction in India”.

Details of this book published by Prentice Hall of India (PHI) are as under.

Kandhal, Prithvi Singh. Bituminous Road Construction in India. PHI Learning Private
Limited, Delhi-110092, 2016.
The book is priced Rs. 525 only. However, you can purchase it for Rs. 420 by availing 20%
publishers’ discount on line at You can also call Mr. Balamurugan of PHI
Learning at 93136-53324 to place order. This book is also available on at
reduced price.

Best regards,

Prof. Prithvi Singh Kandhal


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