Micromechanical investigation of open-graded asphalt friction courses' rutting mechanisms

Erdem Coleri, John T. Harvey, Kai Yang, John M Boone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


This study aims to identify the permanent deformation accumulation mechanisms of open graded friction course (OGFC) mixes under full-scale loading. Changes in OGFC and underlying dense graded asphalt concrete (DGAC) layers' microstructures under full scale trafficking were determined using X-ray computed tomography (CT) images taken before and after accelerated pavements tests (APT). Image processing and particle tracking methods were used to identify changes in air-void and aggregate distributions to evaluate the rutting mechanisms of multi-layered (OGFC on DGAC) asphalt concrete sections. Densification was observed to be the major factor controlling the rutting on test sections while shear related deformation was just a minor contributor. Based on APT and laboratory test results, OGFC layer thickness was determined to be the major factor affecting the OGFC rutting mechanisms and performance. Displacement vector distributions for the OGFC layers appeared to be larger than the distributions for the DGAC layers due to the high initial air void content for the OGFC layers. However, significant deformation of the DGAC layers suggested that thick underlying DGAC layers might also induce early rutting failures. Results of this study provide experimental data for continued development of multi-scale continuum mechanics and discrete element method analysis approaches for multi-layered flexible pavement structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-34
Number of pages10
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
StatePublished - 2013


  • Microstructure Rutting X-ray computed tomography Asphalt concrete Open-graded friction course Permeable friction course Particle tracking Densification Shear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Materials Science(all)


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