AbstractThe crumb rubber (CR) derived from waste tires has been used widely to prepare rubberized asphalt for paving applications. However, rubberized asphalt severely suffers from poor compatibility and consequent storage instability. Therefore, a solution soaking pretreatment was used to activate the CR surface to improve the compatibility of rubberized asphalt in this study. Three different solutions—water, sodium hydroxide, and sulfuric acid—were employed. The Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) spectra indicated the removal of zinc stearate from the CR surface after solution soaking. Consequent improvement of the surface hydrophilicity of CR was found from the promoted sedimentation in water and the reduced water contact angle. Dynamic dhear rheometer (DSR) test results showed that the effect of solution soaking on the rheology of rubberized asphalt was slight. However, according to the results of the segregation test and a novel drainage-based method, the solution soaking pretreatments significantly improved the compatibility of rubberized asphalt. This was reflected directly in the reduced segregation degree and promoted CR/asphalt interactions. The solution soaking pretreatment of CR had no adverse effect on the moisture susceptibility of rubberized asphalt according to the modified binder bonding strength (BBS) test results. Of the three pretreatments, sodium hydroxide performed best, followed by sulfuric acid and water.