A Study of the Influence of the Microstructure of One Type of Bitumen Grade on the Performance as a Binder

Significance Statement

The adhesive properties bitumen has been studied extensively due to its relevance in road construction. Further understanding on the stage of failure associated with temperature and strain rates, overall performance of bitumen as an adhesive is of high importance to the construction industry.

Dr. Hartmut Fischer and Dr. Steven Mookhoek from TNO Technical Sciences in the Netherlands studied the effects and performance of the microstructure of various samples of bitumen with comparable PEN grade (Q8, Esso, Nynas, Shell, Total and Venezuelan). The work which is published in the peer-reviewed journal, Construction and Building Materials achieved this feat by making use of a newly designed micro-tensile testing (µ-DDT) to evaluate the adhesive performance of the bituminous binders with the use of a glass-silica half ball configuration in the tensile test setup. Results were coupled the observed features in the microstructure, as determined by use of an atomic force microscopy and differential thermal analysis on the bitumen samples.

The newly evolved micro-tensile test was found to be powerful in determining adhesive/cohesive forces between the formed bonds of different bitumen samples with silica at certain strain rates, with a clear view of the adhered area from residual materials on the half-ball silica surface.

Outcomes from atomic force microscopy indicated that the bitumen samples have comparable microstructural features with the presence of perpetua and peri phase microstructure, all except for the bitumen specimen of Nynas.

In differential thermal analysis it was observed that an equal mixture of the bitumen samples with glass spheres and with Wigras filler material had a loss in thermal transition due to reduction in asphaltenes inside the bitumen samples after addition of filler particles. From this observation, asphaltenes can be said to be a strong requirement for good adhesion. The Nynas bitumen sample in contrast to other bitumen samples did not show the formation of a catana phase, and resulted in a poor adhesion to the glass-silica surface.

A two-step response was recorded with appreciate to normal force, cavitation and cohesive rupture for all bitumen specimens with a prolonged peri phase or a co-continuous micro structure except for that of Nynas, leading to a strong correlation between measurable bond strength and that of the catana/peri phase area.

In addition, it was shown that a stronger adhesive-cohesive force was determined to be found in bitumen specimen with an extended two phase microstructure compared with those with absent two phase microstructure or that of a shielded peri microstructure which depicts the importance of the peri phase on the bonding behaviors of the tested binders.

This study provides a new technique to further our knowledge on performance of bitumen as binding agent which might produce advanced and higher performance materials for pavements and highway applications.

A Study of the Influence of the Microstructure of One Type of Bitumen

About the author

Dr. Hartmut R. Fischer is a senior research scientist within TNO Technical Sciences, department Materials Performance and as such connected with all kind of materials, their testing and evaluation with a focus onto materials under extreme environments and for high end equipment applications. Areas of current activities are the assessment of pavement durability as well as adhesion and surface studies, the study and design of self-healing systems and the investigation and understanding of the micro structure of building materials leading to the design of modern building materials for applications under extreme circumstances.

He acts as co-promotor for PhD students and mentor of Post-Docs at the TU Eindhoven and Delft in the areas polymer nanocomposites, self-healing systems and transport in porous media. He is also referee for the German and Dutch Research Council as well as for about 40 scientific journals.

Hartmut is the author of 185 refereed publications, 35 patents and 8 book chapters.

Selected Publications:
1. H. Fischer, “Self Healing Material Systems – A Dream or Reality”, (2010), Natural Science Vol.2, No.8, 873-901, doi:10.4236/ns.2010.28110, http://www.scirp.org/journal/NS/
2. Fischer, H. Polymer nanocomposites: From fundamental research to specific applications (2003) Materials Science and Engineering C, 23 (6-8), pp. 763-772.
3. SJ Garcia, HR Fischer, S van Der Zwaag, A critical appraisal of the potential of self healing polymeric coatings, Progress in Organic Coatings 72 (3), 211-221
4. M Wouters, E Craenmehr, K Tempelaars, H Fischer, N Stroeks, Joyce van Zanten, Preparation and properties of a novel remendable coating concept, Progress in Organic Coatings 64 (2), 156-162
5. Fischer, H., Stadler, H., Erina, N., Quantitative temperature-depending mapping of mechanical properties of bitumen at the nanoscale using the AFM operated with PeakForce TappingTM mode (2013) Journal of Microscopy, 250 (3), pp. 210-217.
6. H Fischer, Thermal probe surface treatment of a bulk polymer: Does a surface layer with a lower glass transition than the bulk exist?, Macromolecules 35 (9), 3592-3595,
7. H Soenen, J Besamusca, HR Fischer, LD Poulikakos, JP Planche, Prabir K Das, Niki Kringos, James RA Grenfell, Xiaohu Lu, Emmanuel Chailleux, Laboratory investigation of bitumen based on round robin DSC and AFM tests, Materials and structures 47 (7), 1205-1220.

Selected Patents:
1. WO 9907790 NANOCOMPOSITE MATERIAL (Block copolymer compatibilizer)

About the author

Dr. Steven D. Mookhoek is a lead scientist in road and pavement engineering of existing and novel road constructions and asphaltic materials within TNO. The core area of TNO in this field concerns the assessment of pavement durability. Especially for high noise reduction pavements (open-graded asphaltic wearing courses) he has expert knowledge. He leads the team of scientists in this research field and is responsible for the research strategic choices.

Steven collaborates in affiliation with the Delft University of Technology and the Dutch Ministry for Highway Administration (Rijkswaterstaat) under the umbrella organisation InfraQuest. Additionally he works for large internationally orientated contractors and material suppliers to the road industry (binders, fibres, chemicals, etc.). He also collaborates with other members of FEHRL in several research initiatives and projects.

Key publications and patents:

1.  C. Giezen, S.D. Mookhoek, M.Schelland, P. Paffen, F.G.M., Bouman, A.E. van Dommelen, S.M.J.G. Erkens, R. Hofman, M.M. Villani & T.A. Bennis, Set-up for establishing residualservice-life monitoring of bearingcapacity and road design of Dutch highways, conference proceedings, International Conference on Life Cycle Civil Engineering – IALCCE 2016, Delft.
2. H.R. Fischer, & S.D. Mookhoek, A study of the influence of the microstructure of one type of bitumen grade on the performance as a binder, Construction and Building Materials, 2016, 117, 1-7.
3. S.D. Mookhoek, G. Liu, S. M. J. G. Erkens, C. Giezen, J. L. M. Voskuilen; Accelerated ageing protocols for (polymer modified) PA to obtain representative (rheological) properties, mimicking field aged materials, Proceedings of the Intern. Conference on Ageing of Materials & Structures, Delft 26 – 28 May 2014, The Netherlands
4. G.A. Leegwater, S.L.A. Valcke, S.D. Mookhoek, D. van Vliet; Impact of fibres on behaviour of bituminous materials; Conference proceedings of the 5th EATA conference, June 2013, Braunschweig, Germany.
5. G. J. Xu, M. Z. Chen, S. Peng. Wu, M. van de Ven, S.D. Mookhoek; Rheological Characteristics of Residue Binder from Low Penetration Grade Bitumen Emulsion, Key Engineering Materials, 2012, 509, 328-332.
5. S.D. Mookhoek, H.R. Fischer and S. van der Zwaag, A Numerical Study into the Effects of Elongated Capsules on the Healing Efficiency of Liquid-based Systems,Comput. Mater. Sci., 2009, 47(2), 506-511.
6.  S. van der Zwaag, N.H. van Dijk, H.M. Jonkers, S.D. Mookhoek, and W.G. Sloof, Self-healing behaviour in man-made engineering materials: bioinspired but taking into account their intrinsic character, Philosophical Transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences, 2009, 367(1894), 1689-704.

S.R. White, S.D. Mookhoek, N.R. Sottos, B.J. Blaiszik and S. van der Zwaag, Multicapsule system and its use for encapsulating active agents, US patent application US2009181254, 2009.
S.D. Mookhoek, H.R. Fischer and S. van der Zwaag, Polymeric material comprising multiple cavities, European patent application EP1983025, 2008.


Journal Reference

Hartmut R. Fischer, Steven D. Mookhoek. A Study of the Influence of the Microstructure of One Type of Bitumen Grade on the Performance as a Binder, Construction and Building Materials 117 (2016) 1-7.

TNO Technical Sciences, De Rondom 1, Eindhoven, 5621 AP, and Van Mourik Broekmanweg 6, 2628 XE Delft, The Netherlands.

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