Asphalt binder, as one of the load-carrying components of the pavement, is a viscoelastic, thermoplastic material characterized by a certain level of rigidity of an elastic solid body, but, at the same time, flows and dissipates energy by frictional losses as a viscous fluid. Due to its complexity and importance, many studies were conducted to understand and alleviate its performance. Creep tests have been used to characterize asphalt materials at different service temperatures. Permanent strain or rutting is one of the most important pavement distresses. It is believed that the accumulated strain in asphalt binder, as a consequence of traffic, is mainly responsible for the rutting of asphalt pavements. Repeated creep tests were developed to identify non-viscous flow that contributes to the permanent deformation from the total dissipated energy. The low-temperature cracking of asphalt pavements is a major pavement distress mechanism in cold regions. Since asphalt is a viscoelastic material, part of said stresses is dissipated through relaxation, but, eventually, they build up until they reach the strength of the material, leading to the formation of cracks to relieve these stresses. Conducting creep test at low temperatures is a common test method to characterize thermal cracking behavior of asphalt binders.
Part of the book: Creep Characteristics of Engineering Materials