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Implementation of GPC characterization of asphalt binders at Louisiana materials laboratory.
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    This research implemented a procedure for using gel permeation chromatography (GPC) as an analytical tool to

    define the percentage amounts of polymer modifiers, which are soluble in eluting GPC solvents, in polymermodified asphalt cements. It also addressed quantification of both GPC solvent soluble and insoluble crumb

    rubber present in crumb rubber modified binders. Attention was also paid to using GPC for assessment of the

    extent of oxidative rolling thin-film oven ( RTFO) and pressure aging vessel (PAV) aging of a series of asphalt

    binders as well as forensic analysis of pavement failures.

    The project was sub-divided into two phases including (I) purchasing, installing and calibrating a GPC instrument

    at the DOTD Materials Laboratory and writing detailed procedures for conducting binder analysis to determine

    the percent polymer content in polymer modified binders and (II) developing an efficient extraction process

    capable of recovering binder from asphalt cement cores. Phase I included the GPC analysis of different polymers

    and binders, and a quantitative estimation of polymers, asphaltenes, and maltenes present in the analyzed binders.

    At DOTD, a large number of binders from various asphalt sources and polymer additives have been analyzed.

    Over 180 samples of PG 64-, PG 67-, PG 70-22m and PG 76-22m grades were subjected to GPC analysis and the

    polymer percentage was calculated and compiled. Phase II extended the development of a procedure to define the

    percent amounts GPC solvent insoluble crumb rubber present in CRM binders. It included a comparison between

    the extraction of soluble CRM species with a blend of toluene-ethanol (85:15 volumetric ratio) and bromopropane

    at room or moderate temperatures. Since similar results have been obtained, due to the fact that bromopropane is

    more expensive than toluene and ethanol, the toluene/ethanol mixture appears to be a better option, especially for

    large scale extractions. An AASHTO standard test method for the quantification of polymer content in polymer

    modified asphalt cements by GPC has been proposed.

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