Burnham, Nancy A.
Asphalt binders (bitumen) are used heavily in construction and have been found to possess a unique and complex microstructure that contains 'bee-structures'. Past literature suggests these structures are composed of waxy materials, thus they should dissolve at higher temperatures into the rest of the asphalt binder. These structures have been studied with an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) under changing thermal conditions in order to learn how to make asphalt concrete more recyclable and reduce the occurrence of potholes. Experiments have shown that as temperature increases the height of the bee structures decrease by an average of 32% with a standard deviation of 16. This information was obtained via cross section analysis comparing structures at room temperature and 45 CÂ°.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Major Qualifying Project
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Civil and Environmental Engineering