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On the microstructure of bituminous binders

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Author: Fischer, H.R. · Dillingh, E.C. · Hermse, C.G.M.
Source:Road Materials and Pavement Design, 1, 15, 1-15
Identifier: 488272
doi: doi:10.1080/14680629.2013.837838
Keywords: Materials · AFM · bitumen · microstructure · phase changes · temperature dependent · Mobility Industrial Innovation · Mechanics, Materials and Structures · MIP - Materials for Integrated Products · TS - Technical Sciences


The objective of this work is to study the common features and the evolution of microstructures of bituminous binders regardless of their grade (PEN 10/20 to 160/220) and source/origin using the atomic force microscope operated in phase contrast mode. All bituminous binders show the same microstructural features, consisting of three distinct phases, the perpetua-, peri- and catana-phase. The perpetua-phase is soft and viscoelastic in nature, the peri-phase is relatively stiff and solid in nature and the catana-phase is alternatingly hard and soft in nature and is always found in the middle of the peri-phase. Experiments at different temperatures result in a quantitative picture of the changes/transitions between the different microphases upon heating. Phase formation is reversible with respect to temperature, upon heating homogenisation occurs and upon cooling re-formation of the phases can be observed. © 2013 © 2013 Taylor & Francis.