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Characterization of Louisiana asphalt mixtures using simple performance tests and MEPDG.
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    The National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Project 9-19, Superpave Support and Performance

    Models Management, recommended three Simple Performance Tests (SPTs) to complement the Superpave volumetric

    mixture design method. These are the dynamic modulus, flow time, and flow number tests. In addition, the Mechanistic

    Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) developed under NCHRP project 1-37A uses dynamic modulus to characterize

    Hot Mix Asphalt mixtures for pavement structural design. The objectives of this study were to (1) characterize common

    Louisiana asphalt mixtures using SPT protocols, (2) develop a catalog of dynamic modulus values for input into the MEPDG

    software, (3) evaluate the sensitivity of rut prediction of the MEPDG program, (4) assess the prediction of dynamic modulus

    values using Witczak and Hirsch models, and (5) compare dynamic modulus data obtained from axial and Indirect Tensile

    (IDT) modes of testing. Fourteen rehabilitation projects across Louisiana were selected to provide a total of 28 asphalt

    mixtures for this study. Laboratory mechanistic tests were performed to characterize the asphalt mixtures including the

    dynamic modulus in axial and IDT modes, flow time, flow number, and Hamburg type loaded wheel tracking tests. A catalog

    of dynamic modulus values was developed and grouped by design traffic level. Test results indicated that dynamic modulus

    was sensitive to the design traffic level, nominal maximum aggregate size, and the high temperature performance grade of

    the binder. Mixtures designed for higher traffic levels, with larger aggregate, and higher grade binder tended to have higher

    dynamic modulus values at high temperature. The MEPDG simulations carried out using the “nationally calibrated” default

    calibration factors overestimated the rut predictions by a significant amount. To address this problem, a local calibration of

    the MEPDG rut prediction model was performed and preliminary ranges of local calibration factors were developed. Both the

    Witczak and Hirsch models predicted dynamic modulus with reasonable accuracy. Dynamic modulus test results obtained

    from axial and IDT modes showed no statistical differences for the majority of the mixtures tested.

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