Rheological, physicochemical, and microstructural properties of asphalt binder modified by fumed silica nanoparticles.
Warm mix asphalt (WMA) is gaining increased attention in the asphalt paving industry as an eco-friendly and sustainable technology. WMA technologies are favorable in producing asphalt mixtures at temperatures 20-60 °C lower in comparison to conventional hot mix asphalt. This saves non-renewable fossil fuels, reduces energy consumption, and minimizes vapors and greenhouse gas emissions in the production, placement and conservation processes of asphalt mixtures. At the same time, this temperature reduction must not reduce the performance of asphalt pavements in-field. Low aging resistance, high moisture susceptibility, and low durability are generally seen as substantial drawbacks of WMA, which can lead to inferior pavement performance, and increased maintenance costs. This is partly due to the fact that low production temperature may increase the amount of water molecules trapped in the asphalt mixture. As a potential remedy, here we use fumed silica nanoparticles (FSN) have shown excellent potential in enhancing moisture and aging susceptibility of asphalt binders. In this study, asphalt binder modification by means of FSN was investigated, considering the effects of short-term and long-term aging on the rheological, thermal, and microstructural binder properties. This research paves the way for optimizing WMA by nanoparticles to present enhanced green asphalt technology.