Evaluation of the Moisture Susceptibility of WMA Technologies

Over the past decade, the use of warm mix asphalt (WMA) for asphalt pavement construction has increased in the United States. However, questions remain about the long-term performance and durability of WMA pavements. One key issue is the moisture susceptibility of WMA pavements. Concerns about WMA moisture susceptibility include the possibility that aggregates will be inadequately dried at lower production temperatures and the fact that several WMA technologies introduce additional moisture in the production process. The objectives of National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Project 9-49 were to (1) assess whether WMA technologies adversely affect the moisture susceptibility of asphalt pavements and (2) develop guidelines for identifying and limiting moisture susceptibility in WMA pavements. The research was conducted through coordinated laboratory and field experiments that investigated the potential for moisture susceptibility in WMA compared to hot mix asphalt (HMA). Design of the experiments was guided by a survey of the state departments of transportation and industry on WMA pavement construction and performance. The survey identified no instances of moisture damage to WMA pavements in service through 2010. This negative finding is supported by the results of recently completed NCHRP Project 9-47A, which conducted intensive evaluations of WMA pavements constructed across the United States between 2006 and 2011. Project 9-49 then focused on development of guidelines for WMA mix design and quality control to identify and minimize any possibility of moisture susceptibility. The laboratory experiments evaluated (1) laboratory-conditioning protocols for WMA before moisture susceptibility testing, (2) the ability of standard test methods to detect moisture susceptibility of WMA, and (3) potential differences in WMA moisture susceptibility measured on laboratory-mixed and -compacted specimens; plant-mixed, laboratory-compacted specimens; and plant-mixed, field-compacted cores. The guidelines are presented in the form of a workflow of conditioning protocols and standard test methods that first assess the potential moisture susceptibility of a WMA mix design or field mixture and then recommend remedies to minimize such susceptibility. Specific test thresholds in the guidelines are based on the results of testing of WMA from field projects in Iowa, Montana, New Mexico, and Texas. This report fully documents the research and includes the following Appendixes: Appendix A, Laboratory Conditioning Experiment; Appendix B, Moisture Conditioning Experiment; Appendix C, Performance Evolution Experiment; Appendix D, Construction Reports and Performance of Field Projects; Appendix E, Mixture Volumetrics; Appendix F, Proposed Draft Revisions to the Appendix to AASHTO R 35; Appendix G, Future Work Plan to Evaluate Moisture Susceptibility of HMA and WMA; and Appendix H, Statistical Results. Appendix F is included herein. Appendixes A—E, G, and H are available on the TRB website.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Appendices; Bibliography; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 108p
  • Serial:
    • NCHRP Report
    • Issue Number: 763
    • Publisher: Transportation Research Board
    • ISSN: 0077-5614
  • Publication flags:

    Open Access (libre)

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01520757
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780309283687
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Project 09-49
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Apr 1 2014 2:52PM