RES2019-05: Development of a Balanced Mix Design (BMD) Procedure for Tennessee Asphalt Mixtures

Asphalt mixture design involves the determination of the best combination of available materials for optimum in-service performance. Desirable performance aspects include resistance to: permanent deformation, fatigue and thermal cracking, and moisture induced damage (Brown, et al., 2009). Past and current mix design methodologies, including the prevalent Superpave approach, principally rely on volumetric parameters (e.g. air voids and VMA) to ensure good performance without direct performance measures and criteria incorporated into them. A number of state departments of transportation have recognized the shortcomings of a volumetric only approach. Six of these states have adopted a Balanced Mix Design (BMD) approach which includes volumetric analysis supplemented by performance testing or vice-versa (West, et al., 2017). Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) has indicated that a BMD approach is needed for laboratory mix design, particularly with regard to rutting and fatigue cracking performance. Fortunately, a number of reasonable cost and readily implementable performance tests like the Hamburg Wheel Tracking Test (HWTT) and Semi-Circular Bend (SCB) test have emerged for evaluation of mixture rutting and cracking susceptibility. While important to recognize the warranted need, it is equally important to realize that the current TDOT mixture design methodology has resulted in mixtures exhibiting good performance. This is evidenced by a U.S. News & World Report ‘Best States’ report that ranked Tennessee number 5 for ‘Road Quality’ using 2016 metrics (2018). This suggests that the BMD opportunity for TDOT may include improvements of economy and reliability in addition to mixture performance. It also suggests that a very calculated and intentional incorporation of a BMD methodology into the current mix design regime is warranted.


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  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $195000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Tennessee Department of Transportation

    James K. Polk Building
    Fifth and Deaderick Street
    Nashville, TN  United States  37243-0349

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Tennessee Department of Transportation

    James K. Polk Building
    Fifth and Deaderick Street
    Nashville, TN  United States  37243-0349
  • Project Managers:

    Chandler, Matthew

  • Performing Organizations:

    Lipscomb University

    One University Park Drive
    Nashville, TN  United States  37204
  • Principal Investigators:

    Lynn, Todd

  • Start Date: 20181201
  • Expected Completion Date: 20221231
  • Actual Completion Date: 20220530
  • USDOT Program: Accelerating Deployment
  • USDOT Program: Accountability
  • USDOT Program: Advanced Materials/Structural Safety
  • USDOT Program: Highway and Transportation Data
  • USDOT Program: Pavements and Materials

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01709920
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Tennessee Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: RES2019-05
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Jul 2 2019 10:33AM