AbstractThe use of high amounts of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) in asphalt pavements has many economic and environmental benefits; however, there are concerns about brittleness and potential cracking of asphalt mixtures. One of the solutions to address this concern is through the inclusion of recycling agents (rejuvenators). The purpose of this study was to explore the effect of different types of recycling agents (biooils, vegetable oils, tall oil, aromatic extract, and paraffinic oil) on the rheological, microstructural, nanomechanical, and chemical properties of asphalt binder blends with high RAP content. Rheological properties were assessed using a dynamic shear rheometer. Atomic force microscopy was used to determine the microstructural characteristics and nanomechanical properties of the asphalt binder blends. A wavelet packet transform approach was proposed to quantify surface roughness characteristics. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy was used to evaluate the chemical properties based on carbonyl and sulfoxide indices. Results indicated a correlation between the phases observed in the microstructure and rheological performance. Biooil recycling agents were the most effective in improving the microscopic distribution and rheological properties of binder blends, followed by vegetable oils. However, chemical analysis suggested that the addition of recycling agents did not reverse oxidative aging. Finally, the study recommended a rejuvenation index (RI) that quantified the effectiveness of recycling agents in improving blending and reducing stiffness and aging susceptibility. The RI signified that tall oil was the most susceptible to aging, followed by aromatic extract and paraffinic oil, whereas biooils and vegetable oils were the least susceptible to aging.

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