Characterization of nanoscale cracking at the interface between virgin and aged asphalt binders based on molecular dynamics simulations

Yohannes L. Yaphary, Zhen Leng, Haopeng Wang, Shisong Ren, Guoyang Lu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Low-temperature cracking is a major concern to improve the utilization of recycled asphalt mixture (RAM). A mechanism by which the crack propagates can provide a basis for advanced technological mitigation. Micro-crack formations in the interfacial proximity of the virgin and aged binders have been identified from electron microscopy tests. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) experiment showed the trilayer phases at the virgin-aged binder interface. In this study, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were conducted to understand the nanoscopic crack propagation characteristics at the virgin-aged binder interface in the asphalt mixture with RAM. It was found that the blended binder of virgin and aged binders, and its interfaces with virgin and aged binders appeared to be the crack propagation zones. The relatively more significant matrix contraction of virgin binder and stiffer aged binder at a low temperature can cause more considerable tensile stress at the blended binder and its interfaces. Consequently, interfacial crack propagation became more profound and decreased the low-temperature cracking resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number127475
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2022


  • Cracking resistance
  • Interfacial blending zone
  • Molecular dynamics simulations
  • Recycled asphalt mixture
  • Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Materials Science(all)

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