AbstractAsphalt pavement failure is directly related to the traffic and climate effects. Temperature and moisture severely impact pavement service life. It is known that moisture changes the stiffness and stress–strain distribution and all the mechanical behaviors of the mixture/structure. There is a huge interest in studying the impact of water on the behavior of flexible pavements, mainly on freeze–thaw regions under tropical climates with high rainfall levels. The scope of the present paper was to check the susceptibility to moisture-induced damage of dense asphalt mixes produced and applied on highways in Brazil’s southernmost region using different laboratory tests: visual adhesion of coarse aggregate; tensile strength ratio (TSR), and dynamic modulus ratio (DMR). Thus, this study evaluated the morphological, chemical, and mineralogical properties of aggregates from 11 quarries, as well as the interaction between aggregates and the respective bituminous binders. Rocks with high Si contents performed worse in visual adhesiveness tests; chemical ratios such as Fe/Si above 1 and Ca/K above 5, as well as the rougher texture of aggregates, considerably improved the coating, reducing the failures in adhesion. Results of TSR and DMR, after applying the induced moisture damage cycle, indicated greater susceptibility to conventional binders than mixtures containing modified binders in their composition. The action of moisture damage for most mixtures caused a reduction in strength and stiffness, warning of a decrease in the binder’s ability within the mixture, completely changing the distribution of efforts within the structure. Therefore, from this study, it is possible to suggest using DMR instead of TSR to assess susceptibility to moisture damage.

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