Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Howard, Isaac L.

Committee Member

Vahedifard, Farshid

Committee Member

Doyle, Jesse D.

Committee Member

Grogan, William P.

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


Ideally, asphalt pavements are designed to achieve sufficient stiffness prior to the application of traffic to resist rutting while also maintaining enough flexibility after years of service to minimize the amount of durability/brittleness related distresses (e.g. cracking and weathering). Multiple factors have caused an industry transition to mixes which are much more susceptible to crack, and durability related distresses are often the primary mechanism by which pavements fail. To restore a balance between rutting and durability distresses in asphalt pavements, the industry has started investigating balanced mix designs (BMDs). While mitigating only rutting or cracking behaviors is a straightforward exercise based on the collection of knowledge, simultaneously considering the two types of distresses is challenging considering that rutting is an early life distress and durability distresses are not typically observed until longer term aging has occurred. Mixture conditioning protocols to simulate field aging in conjunction with tests to fairly evaluate mixture integrity after conditioning are needed to scrutinize asphalt mixtures for durability related distresses during the mixture design phase. The current longer term conditioning protocol (R30) adopted by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is not as severe as suggested when considering durability/brittleness (Isola et al. 2014; Yin et al. 2016; Cox et al. 2017). This dissertation’s primary objective is to provide guidance on asphalt mixture aging by contributing in four areas: 1) ensuring proper density measurement of field aged cores, 2) provide guidance on increased short term aging time effects in asphalt mixtures, 3) suggest improved mixture conditioning protocols to simulate longer term field aging, and 4) make suggestions for improving binder conditioning protocols to simulate longer term field aging. To these ends, a series of mixture and extracted binder tests were conducted on materials that were used to construct a full-scale test section in Columbus, MS that was monitored for aging for up to 5 after construction. The overall work presented provides simple recommendations or protocols which have the potential to improve the level of scrutiny that can be given to paving materials during the mix design phase and thus improve overall pavement performance.