Microstructural investigation of asphalt concrete for performing multiscale experimental studies

B. Shane Underwood, Y. Richard Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


In this paper, a microstructural hypothesis for asphalt concrete (AC) is developed in order to provide a basis for a multiscale experimental investigation. The hypothesis is consistent with the belief that AC can be considered as a four-scale assemblage of components with different characteristic length scale, binder, mastic, fine aggregate matrix (FAM) and finally AC. The hypothesis is supported with a series of direct microstructural experiments including morphological observations with digital and scanning electron microscopy as well as quantitative evaluation using a novel meso-gravimetric test method developed specifically for this research. Morphological evaluation shows that asphalt mastic effectively exists as a basic building block for AC. Meso-gravimetric analysis finds that the volumetric composition of this mastic is equal to that found when assuming that mastic contains all of the effective asphalt binder and the filler-sized particles. Other key volumetric properties including FAM gradation and mastic concentration within the FAM and mixture are presented as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)498-516
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Pavement Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013


  • asphalt
  • fine aggregate matrix
  • mastic
  • multiscale modelling
  • scanning electron microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials


Dive into the research topics of 'Microstructural investigation of asphalt concrete for performing multiscale experimental studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this