Faculty Advisor

Rajib B.Mallick

Faculty Advisor

Mingjiang Tao

Faculty Advisor

Nima Rahbar

Faculty Advisor

Michael Radzicki




"Susceptibility of Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) mixes to moisture induced damage is one of the main reasons for premature failures of asphalt pavements. Hence, the evaluation of mixes for the moisture susceptibility is an essential part of the mix design. The existing methods are found to be in-sufficient to characterize mixes in terms of their moisture damage potential, and many studies have been conducted to establish an improved methodology that can better address the issue. Most of these methods involve the determination of changes in mix properties due to moisture conditioning in the laboratory or to verify the mix performance in the field or the laboratory. In the field moisture susceptible mixes are also found to lose material to extents that are dependent upon the properties of the mix and materials. So far, there has been no comprehensive study to investigate the loss of materials due to moisture induced damage. The objective of this study was to identify and evaluate a conditioning and a test method that can be used on a regular basis to detect moisture susceptible mixes and to understand the combined problem of moisture induced material loss and change in strength/stiffness of the mix. The Moisture Induced Stress Tester (MIST), Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity (UPV), Dynamic Modulus in Indirect tensile mode, and Indirect Tensile Strength (ITS) tests were utilized in the study. The effluent from the MIST was checked for the gradation of dislodged aggregates and the Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC) content. A system dynamics (SD) approach was also adopted to investigate the problem and establish a model to reproduce field observations. The results showed that the use of MIST in combination with UPV or ITS is able to identify moisture susceptible mixes, in particular for mixes with the potential of aggregate breakdown. The mixes with a higher loss of asphalt binder during conditioning exhibit higher tensile strengths, and those with a loss of finer materials, which is indicative of aggregate breakdown, show a lower tensile strength. For the mixes used in this study, the rate of change in indirect tensile strength during moisture conditioning was found to be strongly correlated to the pre-conditioning modulus of the mix. A step-by-step framework to characterize the moisture susceptible mixes was presented."


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Civil & Environmental Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





moisture damage, Moisture Induced Stress Tester, dynamic modulus, fineness modulus, dissolved organic carbon, system dynamics, indirect tensile strength, seismic modulus, asphalt, HMA