Revealing compatibility mechanism of nanosilica in asphalt through molecular dynamics simulation

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Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering


The compatibility between asphalt and nanosilica (nano-SiO2) is critical to determine the performance of nano-SiO2–modified asphalt. However, a comprehensive understanding of the compatibility behavior and mechanism of asphalt components and nano-SiO2 in the modified asphalt is still limited. In this study, the compatibility was revealed through molecular dynamics (MD) simulation. Virgin asphalt, nano-SiO2–modified asphalt, and oxidation aged asphalt models produced with the COMPASS force field; meanwhile, the proposed models were validated by comparisons with reference data. The compatibility of asphalt and nano-SiO2 was analyzed by solubility and the Flory–Huggins parameters and interaction energy. Results show that the solubility parameters decreased with the increase of system temperature while increased with the asphalt’s oxidation level increase. Meanwhile, the compatibility of the asphaltene, resin, and aromatic components in asphalt is better than the compatibility with saturates, which may be due to saturates being volatile; however, the compatibility of the nano-SiO2 and saturates is much better than those with asphaltene, resin, and aromatic components. The incorporation of nano-SiO2 alleviates the volatilization of saturates. The present results provide insights into the understanding of the compatibility behavior and mechanism of nano-SiO2 and asphalt components.

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© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH, DE part of Springer Nature. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00894-021-04697-1

Publication Title

Journal of Molecular Modeling