An evaluation of the suitability of SUPERPAVE and Marshall asphalt mix designs as they relate to Thailand’s climatic conditions
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NOTICE: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Construction and Building Materials. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Construction and Building Materials, Vol. 40, 2013. doi: 10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2012.11.011
The most commonly-used asphalt mix design in Thailand still relies on the Marshall Mix design procedure which is empirical in its nature, in the sense that it is based on data produced by experiment and observation rather than reliable “in-field” data. As a result of this, the Marshall Mix design procedure has substantial drawbacks with respect to replicating the real or actual behaviour of asphalt during construction and in actual in-service conditions. The Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) has developed the Superior Performance Asphalt Pavements (SUPERPAVE) mix design procedure, which shifts to a large degree away from the empiricism of the Marshall Mix design to provide a more reliable and responsive solution to actual pavement conditions. This study aims to evaluate whether the SUPERPAVE mix design procedure can be reliably implemented under Thailand pavement conditions. A map of the Performance Grade (PG) asphalt binders was generated to cover the study area, namely the North part of Thailand, according to the SUPERPAVE asphalt classification with the highest and lowest temperature ranges that the asphalt might be subjected to. Using local materials, and considering loading and environmental conditions, a comparative study of the performance of two mixes, designed using SUPERPAVE and Marshall Mix design procedures, was carried out. The SUPERPAVE mixes proved superior to the Marshall Mixes. However, the asphalt binder commonly used in Thailand is not suitable for Thailand pavement conditions, based on the PG grade asphalt classification system.
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