Study of the Internal Mechanical response of an asphalt mixture by 3-D Discrete Element Modeling

Huan Feng, Matteo Pettinari, Bernhard Hofko, Henrik Stang

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    In this paper the viscoelastic behavior of asphalt mixture was investigated by employing a three-dimensional Discrete Element Method (DEM). The cylinder model was filled with cubic array of spheres with a specified radius, and was considered as a whole mixture with uniform contact properties for all the distinct elements. The dynamic modulus and phase angle from uniaxial complex modulus tests of the asphalt mixtures in the laboratory have been collected. A macro-scale Burger’s model was first established and the input parameters of Burger’s contact model were calibrated by fitting with the lab test data of the complex modulus of the asphalt mixture. The Burger’s contact model parameters are usually calibrated for each frequency. While in this research a constant set of Burger’s parameters has been calibrated and used for all the test frequencies, the calibration procedure and the reliability of which have been validated. The dynamic modulus of asphalt mixtures were predicted by conducting Discrete Element simulation under dynamic strain control loading. In order to reduce the calculation time, a method based on frequency–temperature superposition principle has been implemented. The ball density effect on the internal stress distribution of the asphalt mixture model has been studied when using this method. Furthermore, the internal stresses under dynamic loading have been studied. The agreement between the predicted and the laboratory test results of the complex modulus shows the reliability of DEM for capturing the viscoelastic properties of asphalt mixtures.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalConstruction and Building Materials
    Pages (from-to)187-196
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • Asphalt mixtures
    • Viscoelastic
    • Discrete element method
    • Micromechanical modeling
    • Burger’s model
    • Frequency–temperature superposition


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