Asphalt binder testing is a critical step in the pavement design process. The asphalt binder is a sticky, black, and viscous liquid that serves as the glue that holds the aggregates in an asphalt pavement together. Asphalt binder testing is classified into two types: empirical testing and performance testing.
Empirical testing involves using standardised laboratory tests to assess the mechanical and physical properties of the asphalt binder. These tests are based on a series of empirical models that relate the binder's physical properties to its field performance. Penetration, viscosity, ductility, and softening point tests are examples of common empirical tests. These tests are quick and simple to carry out and provide a basic characterization of the binder's properties.
Performance testing, on the other hand, involves measuring the binder's performance under realistic field conditions. Performance tests are typically more complex and time-consuming than empirical tests, and they necessitate the use of specialised equipment and expertise. These tests are intended to mimic the actual conditions that the pavement will be subjected to, such as temperature, traffic load, and ageing. The growing popularity in using polymers and other additives to asphalt binders is increasing the use of performance testing, since needed to highlight the property modifications given by these materials.
Asphalt binder testing results are used to select the best binder for a specific pavement design. To ensure optimal performance and longevity, the binder's properties must match the requirements of the pavement design. For example, if the pavement is expected to be subjected to high traffic loads and high temperatures, a binder with rutting and cracking resistance at high temperatures will be required. Finally, asphalt binder testing is an important part of the pavement design process.
Engineers can choose between our wide range of asphalt binder testing machine to perform the right binder test for a specific pavement design and ensure that the pavement will perform optimally and have a long service life by characterising the physical properties and performance of the binder.