The National Academies

NCHRP IDEA 20-30/IDEA 178 [Active (IDEA)]

Development of Renewable Polymers for Use in Asphalt Pavements
[ NCHRP 20-30 (NCHRP-IDEA) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $124,999
Staff Responsibility: Inam Jawed
Research Agency: Iowa State University
Principal Investigator: R. Christopher Williams
Fiscal Year: 2014

This project aimed at developing and demonstrating the application of renewable polymers for use in asphalt pavements. Work on the project will be carried out in two stages. Stage 1 will involve synthesis and characterization of renewable polymers and demonstrating through laboratory tests that they meet performance expectations for both asphalt binders as well as asphalt mixtures. The work will be performed through several tasks. Task 1 will involve the formulation of new polymers. The chemical, physical, and rheological characterization of biopolymers and biopolymer modified asphalt will be carried out in Task 2 using standard test methods. Task 3 will evaluate the compatibility, volatility and biodegradability of the biopolymers in asphalt binders while Task 4 will evaluate the developed biopolymer-asphalt binder blends in asphalt mixtures via mixture performance testing. Task 5 will involve an analysis of data collected in the first four tasks with a primary focus on rheological and chemical characterization data and mixture performance test results. Work in Stage 2 will focus on demonstrate and establishing that the developed biopolymers can be used turn-key in asphalt production and construction facilities. This will be achieved through demonstration paving projects on roadways as well as at the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) Test Track. The biopolymers will be produced at a pilot plant that is under construction and due for completion in September 2014 in Boone, Iowa. Seneca Petroleum, the parent company of Argo Genesis Chemical, has reserved a test section for placement of the biopolymer modified asphalt mixture at the NCAT Test Track in 2015. The final report will provide all relevant data and guidelines for using new biopolymers in asphalt pavements as well as plans for its implementation by highway agencies and commercialization by their industrial partners.

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