Evaluation of contact angle between asphalt binders and aggregates using Molecular Dynamics (MD) method

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The objectives of this study are to explore the mechanism of the self-healing or flow of asphalt binder on the surface of the aggregates and evaluate the contact angle between the asphalt binder and aggregates. The mastic samples (small size) were prepared with asphalt binder and fine aggregates of a small size (below 0.3 mm). The microscale dynamic X-ray tomography was used to observe the flow of asphalt binder in the mastic sample at 353.15 K (80 °C) using the Advanced Photon Source (APS) beamline 2-BM at Argonne National Laboratory. The activation energy for flow of the asphalt binder and the contact angle between the asphalt binder and aggregates were analyzed to explain the self-healing characteristics of the asphalt binder materials. The Molecular Dynamics (MD) method was employed to simulate the flow process of the molecules of asphalt binder at different temperatures and mimic the contact angle difference between the asphalt binder and aggregate models. Simultaneously, in the laboratory, the contact angle goniometer was selected to measure the contact angle between the asphalt binder droplet and aggregates at different temperatures. The results of tests and MD simulations show that (1) asphalt binder diffused after heating from the X-ray images, and the stages and mechanism of the flow process of asphalt binder on aggregates were investigated; (2) low contact angle was observed in the interface model of asphalt binder and aggregates at high temperatures using the MD method. The wetting condition changed from partial non-wetting to wetting after heating in the interface model; (3) contact angle results between the asphalt binder and aggregates demonstrated flow steps of the asphalt binder material. The test data was also compared with the MD simulation results at different temperatures.

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© 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2019.03.283

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Construction and Building Materials