American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Investigating Effects of Application of Silica Fume to Reduce Asphalt Oxidative Aging

Nader Abutalib, Elham H. Fini, Sassan Aflaki and Taher M. Abu-Lebdeh

DOI : 10.3844/ajeassp.2015.176.184

American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Volume 8, Issue 1

Pages 176-184


This paper investigates the feasibility of using silica fume to enhance the rheological properties of asphalt binder. It has been widely reported that asphalt binder oxidation is one of the phenomena that reduces the service life of asphalt pavement by negatively impacting its rheological properties. This in turn can lead to a more brittle pavement which is more prone to cracks due to thermal stress and traffic loading. Prior research has shown that introduction of nano-silica to asphalt can reduce asphalt oxidation aging; however, the main challenge with use of nano-silica found to be agglomeration of nano-particles to form micro size clusters which can reduce nano-silica effectiveness while making asphalt binder more susceptible to shear. Therefore, this paper studies effectiveness of using silica fume to reduce asphalt oxidative aging while alleviating agglomeration issue.  To do so, various percentages of silica fume was introduced to a base asphalt binders and the rheological properties and high temperature performance of each specimen was evaluated by measuring the rotational viscosity and complex shear modulus before and after oxidative aging. Analysis of the experimental results showed that silica fume reduced asphalt aging index significantly; in addition the temperature susceptibility of asphalt binder was reduced as the percentage of silica fume increased. The flow of modified mixtures increased and the loss of stability of samples decreased as the amount of silica fume increased. The positive effect of silica fume on base asphalt’s rheological properties could be attributed to the high surface area and the low degree of agglomeration of the silica fume due to their high polarity. This in turn could improve silica fume’s blending properties resulting in a uniformly distributed silica fume modified matrix with enhanced oxidative aging resistance.


© 2015 Nader Abutalib, Elham H. Fini, Sassan Aflaki and Taher M. Abu-Lebdeh. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.