Physical Hardening of Asphalt Binders Relative to Their Glass Transition Temperatures

David A. Anderson, Mihai O. Marasteanu

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73 Scopus citations


Physical hardening (physical aging) is a process that occurs below room temperature in asphalt binders. Physical hardening causes time-dependent isothermal changes in the rheological behavior and specific volume of asphalt binders. The process is reversible: when the asphalt binder is heated to room temperature or above, the effect of physical hardening is completely removed. Physical hardening for amorphous materials is generally reported as occurring below the glass transition temperature (Tg), but this is not the case for asphalt binders, in which physical hardening is observed both above and below Tg. The glass transition temperature of asphalt binders is measured by using three different techniques: dilatometry, differential scanning calorimetry, and rheological considerations (peak in the loss modulus versus temperature). These three techniques give roughly equivalent estimates of the glass transition temperature. The behavior of physical hardening in asphalt binders is somewhat different than that reported for polymers and other organic materials. This difference is explained in terms of the presence of crystalline fractions in the asphalt binder. Techniques for modeling physical hardening are described, and possible explanations for the anomalous behavior of asphalt binders are given.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-34
Number of pages8
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1661
StatePublished - 1999


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