AbstractThis paper investigates the mechanical response of asphalt surfaces under moving traffic loads using the three-dimensional (3D) discrete element method (DEM). As an example of a semirigid base asphalt pavement, a discrete element model for asphalt surface was established based on the random generation algorithm of irregular particles in Python language and DEM. The model considered the temperature gradient and fatigue damage to simulate the permanent deformations, shear stresses, and strains in asphalt surfaces under different working conditions (e.g., different temperatures and numbers of repeated loads). Part of the simulation results was verified by performing a full-scale accelerated loading test (ALT). Results show that the 3D discrete element model embedded with temperature gradient and fatigue damage could be used to predict the mechanical response of asphalt surfaces under repeated loads. As the temperature increased, the mechanical response of asphalt surfaces increased. The middle surface was the main area of shear stresses in semirigid base asphalt pavements. Due to fatigue damage, the stresses and strains in asphalt surfaces increased with the number of repeated loads.