Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Howard, L. Isaac

Committee Member

Brown, Ray E.

Committee Member

Cooley Jr., Allen L.

Committee Member

White. D. Thomas

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Civil Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


Reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) is a valuable resource that can be recycled into new asphalt mixtures. In recent years, the continued rise of raw material costs has generated considerable interest in increasing RAP usage. Warm mix asphalt (WMA) is a modern development in the asphalt industry that can potentially help increase RAP usage and achieve adequate mixture performance. The purpose of this dissertation is to: 1) develop a method to characterize the absorbed, inert and effective bituminous components in RAP; and 2) evaluate performance of high RAP-WMA mixtures for various pavement applications including airfield surfaces, highway surfaces and highway bases. A unique approach was taken to characterize RAP properties that coupled a dataset of 568 asphalt mix designs spanning five years of practice and testing 100% RAP with added virgin binder; 394 compacted specimens and 68 loose specimens were tested. A method to predict RAP absorbed asphalt was developed and shown to yield more reasonable results than conventional methods which were shown very likely to give incorrect absorbed asphalt contents in some conditions. The relative effectiveness of RAP surface asphalt was evaluated and estimates of inert and effective RAP asphalt were made for a variety of temperature, compactive effort, and warm mix additive conditions. Results showed different behaviors between RAP sources and between hot and warm mix temperatures. These results were also observed in volumetrics of high RAP mixtures. Performance evaluation was based on testing 75 slab specimens and more than 1100 gyratory specimens. Test data indicated a potential for decreased durability as RAP content increases; however 25% RAP highway surface mixtures and 50% RAP base mixtures had similar performance to current practice. Low temperature mixture stiffness testing and thermal cracking analysis indicated slightly increased stiffness with high RAP and 25% RAP highway surface mixtures that had comparable performance to current practice. Dry rut testing indicated high RAP mixtures are rut resistant. Moisture damage testing of high RAP mixtures indicated passing results in tensile strength ratio testing but potential for moisture damage in loaded wheel tracking. Overall, 25% RAP highway surface mixtures are recommended for immediate implementation.