Date of Award

Fall 2017

Project Type


Program or Major

Civil Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Jo Sias Daniel

Second Advisor

Dave Eshan Sias

Third Advisor

Ghayoomi Majid Sias


Cracking in asphalt pavements is one of the most common and critical pavement distresses. Cracks let the water penetrate from the surface to underlying layers resulting in shorter pavement service life and poor riding quality. There are various factors that affect the cracking potential of asphalt mixtures including the properties of asphalt components, mix design factors, loading time and loading mode, temperature, stress state, and aging. While several researchers have conducted studies investigating the cracking of asphalt mixtures, the effective parameters are not all well understood to allow engineers to design and construct more resistant pavements against cracking.

The work presented in this dissertation provides some additional insights into the effects of component properties and aging condition on asphalt cracking. The cracking susceptibility of hot mix asphalt (HMA) is evaluated through the experimental testing and numerical modeling on mixtures produced either in design (laboratory) or production (plant) stage. Various criteria and approaches for the prediction of cracking in asphalt binder and asphalt mixture are assessed and their correlation are discussed. Different levels of aging in laboratory are simulated, and the effects of long term oven aging (LTOA) on linear viscoelastic parameters, fatigue and fracture characteristics of asphalt mixtures are explored. The uniaxial tensile fatigue testing based on simplified viscoelastic continuum damage (SVECD) approach is conducted to characterize fatigue behavior, and semi circular bending (SCB), disc-shaped compact tension (DCT) testing and cohesive zone model are used to evaluate thermal cracking in asphalt mixtures.

This dissertation makes a good contribution in improvement of available approaches for evaluation of cracking potential of asphalt pavements and allows for assessment of different mixtures at early stage of material selection. The results of this study can lead to develop a new parameter to predict fatigue and thermal cracking susceptibility of flexible pavements in performance-based specifications, resulting in a better ride quality and cost saving for contractors and taxpayers.