Cohesive modeling of fracture in asphalt mixtures at low temperatures

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Low temperature cracking is the major distress observed in asphalt pavements in the northern US and Canada. In the past years fracture mechanics concepts were introduced to investigate the fracture properties of asphalt mixtures at low temperatures. In this paper the cohesive zone model (CZM) is used to describe the fracture behavior of asphalt mixtures at low temperatures and the interface element is used to numerically simulate the material response under monotonic loading. The simulation is calibrated with the experimental results from a newly proposed semi circular bend (SCB) test. A parametric analysis of the input material properties indicates that the tensile strength has a significant effect on the peak load in the SCB configuration, the modulus has a strong effect on the calculated stiffness of the SCB specimen, and the fracture energy influences the post-peak behavior of the asphalt mixtures. The calibrated numerical model was applied to simulate the low temperature cracking in a simplified asphalt pavement and to study the influence of these material parameters on the performance of asphalt pavements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-308
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Fracture
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Nov 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the Minnesota Department of Transportation for providing financial support and the Minnesota Supercomputer Institute at the University of Minnesota for providing computation resources.


  • Asphalt mixture
  • Cohesive zone model
  • Fracture
  • Interface element


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