Date of Award


Document Type


First Advisor

Fini, Ellie


The life expectancy of Asphalt Binder (AB) has been negatively impacted by the harsh bombardment of UV rays. UV rays cause asphalt to oxidize faster which results in deterioration of asphalt rheological characteristics that can lead to pavement distresses. This study investigates the impact that nano-particles and bio modification have on the aging susceptibility of asphalt binder. As such, the following hypothesis was investigated: Introduction of nano particles to asphalt binder will reduce asphalt oxidation aging by increasing the inter layer spacing of the nano particles. Two nano scale materials were used for this study, nano-clay and bio-char as well as one micro scale material, silica fume. Nano-clay (Cloisite 30B) is a naturally occurring inorganic mineral. Bio-char is the waste product from bio-binder production. Bio-binder is produced from swine manure using a thermochemical conversion process. This process is then followed by a filtration procedure where the bio-char is produced. Chemical and physical properties of bio-char showed a significant presence of carbon which could in turn reduce the rate of asphalt oxidation. Silica Fume is an ultra-fine powder collected as a by-product of silicon and ferrosilicon alloy production and consists of spherical particles. In this study several mixtures are designed and evaluated using RV testing (Rotational Viscometer), X-ray Diffraction (XRD) and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). Nano-clay is blended at 2% and 4% by weight of dry mass, with and without bio-binder (5% by weight of dry mass). Bio-char is grinded to nano scale and added to the virgin asphalt binder (PG 64-22) at 2%, 5% and 10% by weight of dry mass. Silica Fume is added to virgin asphalt binder (PG 64-22) at 2%, 4% and 8% by weight of dry mass. The optimum percent of nano scale material that is added to virgin asphalt binder is expected to reduce aging susceptibility of asphalt binder, extending its service life.