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Abdhul Khadhir S H_CE16M057

1. Introduction

The guidelines for the Design and Construction of paving mixes in India are in accordance with
the MoRTH specification Specifications for Road and Bridge Works [1]. The various types
of bituminous mixes specified in MoRTH specifications are a result of evolutions in mix design
practices since the 1960s. Some of these mixes specified were tailor made for an era where the
hot mixing facilities were not so much sophisticated as it is today. Hence, these mixes primarily
cater to the non-availability of mixing plants and aims in cost reduction. But, times have
changed and there is increased concern about the durability of the pavement layers and the goal
is to construct long lasting pavements which require minimal maintenance.

2. Design Considerations

To achieve the above mentioned goal, the bituminous mix to be used for different layers have
to be chosen appropriately taking into consideration the fundamentals of mix selection based
on their intended location and function within the flexible pavement structure and also the
capabilities of the current hot mixing plants. The three primary functions to be satisfied by
bituminous mixes are: (Kandhal et. al. [2])

Provide Structural strength

Ensure sufficient subsurface drainage
Ensuring the requisite friction

The MoRTH specification flood the designer with various options of bituminous paving
mixtures. It currently has eight mixes (a couple each of BM, DBM, SDBC and BC) in addition
to thin bituminous layers. Technical studies by Kandhal et. al. [2] have suggested the scrapping
away of open graded bituminous mixes and using only the following four dense graded rut
resistant mixes

I. 25mm NMAS Dense Bituminous Macadam (DBM) base course

II. 19mm NMAS Bituminous Concrete (BC) binder course
III. 12.5mm NMAS Bituminous Concrete (BC) wearing course (heavy traffic)
IV. 9.5mm NMAS Bituminous Concrete (BC) wearing course (light traffic)

The large size gradation of aggregates in the base course results in an economical layer as the
binder content is low. Also, the larger aggregates size ensures a stiffer layer. In contrast, the
wearing course with smaller sized aggregates require higher bitumen content and offer higher
flexibility to the layer and thereby imparting more durability to the layer. Kandhal et. al.
proposed the following properties for the different bituminous mixes

It is known that, in a flexible pavement, most of the rutting occurs within the top 100 to 150mm.
Thus, the wearing course and the binder course mixes should be rut resistant. To achieve this,
in roads having heavy traffic or high tyre pressure, it is better to use Stone Mastic Asphalt
(SMA) mix. In an SMA mix, due to the presence of a stone-to-stone contact, the load is directly
transferred to the coarse aggregate skeleton. Various combinations of each of these layers can
be tried to arrive at the best design for the required traffic and pavement thickness.
A major matter of worry in Indian roads is the overloading of trucks. To take into account this
factor, it is recommended to use VG grade bitumen in lieu of Penetration graded bitumen. Stone
Mastic Asphalt also can be used to avoid premature failure due to over loading. Also, the use
of modified bitumen can also be thought of.

It would be preferable to have one specification for all dense graded bitumen mixes used in
base, binder and wearing course. While using SMA proper care has to be ensured to provide
the required skid resistance.

3. Materials

3.1 Bitumen

Viscosity grading has to be followed in binder selection in lieu of the old penetration grading
system. The unmodified binder to be used for bituminous mixes should follow the requirements
laid down in IS:73 2013 [3]. Similarly, if modified binders are used, they should satisfy the
requirement as specified in IS:15462 2004. The standard viscosity grades and their general
application is as follows. [2]

The type of modifier to be used depends on the availability, the type of traffic, climatic
condition, etc. For instance, polymer modified binders are best suited for heavy traffic
pavements. While using modified binders, it should be ensured that there is no phase separation
between the modifier and the binder. Necessary tests have to be conducted to ensure there is
no phase separation.
3.2 Coarse Aggregates

The current MORTH specification specifies various tests on coarse aggregates ranging from
various strength tests (impact, crushing), shape tests (angularity, flakiness, elongation, etc),
durability, water absorption and stripping. Some of these tests are outdated and obsolete. For
instance, the water sensitivity test as per IS: 6241 is a static immersion test and most of the
aggregates pass this test easily. Also, this test is specified for coarse aggregates alone, whereas
the reality could be that the fine aggregates are more hydrophilic and hence result in stripping.
A better way would be to use the water susceptibility test in accordance with AASHTO T-283.
This tests is carried out on the whole bituminous mix and not on the aggregates alone. Some
desirable properties of coarse aggregates for long lasting bituminous layers as per Kandhal et.
al. [2]
3.3 Fine Aggregates

The current MORTH specification fails to clearly distinguish between the use of natural sand
and crushed sand as fine aggregates. The specs doesnt prohibit one from using 100% natural
sand as fine aggregates. As natural sand is more rounded, its excessive use can result in
increased potential for rutting. International best practices restrict the use of natural sand to
about 50% in DBM layer and 10% in BC layer. Its high time the MORTH specifications
incorporate this to ensure long lasting bituminous layers.

3.4 Fillers

It is a common practice among highway engineers in India to encourage the addition of fillers
to the bituminous mix even when there is no deficiency of fines in the aggregate blend. The
modern day hot mix plants are equipped with baghouses to collect fines from the dryer. The
adding back of baghouse fines back to the aggregate blend is mandatory and hence there is no
need for additional fillers. The baghouse fines performs well and negates any need for fillers.
Also, Portland cement does not have any advantage over stone dust and hence its use is not a
cost effective option. But, if the mix fails the moisture susceptibility test (AASHTO T283), 1-
2% of hydrated lime can be added In addition to being a good antistripping agent, hydrated
lime also regards the oxidative aging of binders. Hydrated lime should not be confused with
lime stone and should not be used in lieu of hydrated lime as lime stone doesnt have the above
mentioned desirable properties of hydrated lime.

In the regions of the country where hydrophilic aggregates like quartzite and granite are used,
addition of hydrated lime should be made mandatory. As there is no Indian Standard pertaining
to the use of hydrated lime, its use may be in accordance with AASTHO M303.

4. Mix Design

The most commonly used mix design procedure by Indian highway engineers and the one
specified by MORTH is the Marshall Mix Design. As per the MORTH specification, all types
of bituminous mixes are compacted with 75 blows irrespective of the amount of traffic. This is
flawed because, different types of road are exposed to different levels of traffic. An MDR or
an ODR may not be subjected to as heavy a traffic as an NH or an SH. Thus, the number of
blows have to be proportionate varied. Use of 5 blows for low volume roads will yield
undesirably low bitumen content resulting in premature failure of the roads. An alternative can
be the use of 50blows criteria for compaction.

MORTH mix design requirements for all dense graded bituminous mixes require a revisit. The
revised specifications may be something similar to Asphalt Institutes MS-2 as it has worked
successfully in many counties with tropical climate. The ratio of fines in the mix to the effective
binder content to be so maintained such that, the fillers is neither not too high to cause
brittleness, nor too low to deprive the mix of sufficient stiffness.

The Marshall stability and flow values need not be separately specified for high rainfall areas.
Temperature criteria alone would suffice. In addition, moisture susceptibility test as per
AASHTO T283 with a minimum retained tensile strength of 80% will take care of problems
related to moisture damage. The requirements of dense graded bituminous mixes as per
Kandhal et. al.are as follows
The various specific gravity tests are to be made in accordance with ASTM standards rather
than the corresponding IS standards as these IS standards are more suitable for concrete mixes
than for bituminous mixes. The design binder content should be selected as the one
corresponding to the % air voids. This selected binder content must satisfy all the Marshall
properties and volumetric properties. The current method of finding the optimum binder
content as the average of the binder contents corresponding to highest density, highest stability,
4% air voids, etc should be done away with because of the fact that some of the curves are not
well defined in terms of their peaks and also, the air void content is the most important
parameter for mix design selection as it influences both rutting and fatigue cracking.

As incorporated in the new MORTH specification, when the nominal maximum size of the
aggregates is more than 25 mm, modified Marshall method have to be used. The stability and
flow values obtained have to be multiplied by 2.25and 1.5 respectively.

When a bituminous mix is to be designed for very heavy truck traffic, the conventional
Marshall compaction doesnt work efficiently. The following can be done to overcome this

Superpave mix design gyratory compactor

Use a rotating base, slanted foot Marshall hammer
Hugo foot Marshall hammer
Conduct Marshall method and obtain binder content corresponding to 4% air voids.
Subtract 0.2 to 0.3% from his and use as the optimum binder content. This is to take
care of the variation between superpave volumetric mix design and Marshall mix


5.1 Mixing and Laydown:

Proper care must be taken on arriving at the mixing rolling and compaction temperatures.
Viscosity grading is what is used and hence the critical temperatures should be found
corresponding to desired viscosity ranges at these temperatures. Modified binders require
higher temperature, and as a thumb rule, the critical temperatures will be 15C more than that
for unmodified binders.
5.2 Compaction

The air voids in the mix should not be too high or too low. Thus, proper compaction has to be
carried out to achieve a uniform level of pavement with minimal defects. The density should
be taken corresponding to Gmm. .

The mixing, laying and compacting temperatures of

5.3 Opening to traffic

The current practice and MORTH specification is to wait for 24 hours after completion and
opening of the road. These numbers are not backed up experimentally. But actually the cement
concrete roads where not there. He removed them.


Quality control and Quality acceptance are not dealt with the rigor in which it is to be dealt in
the current MORTH specifications. Quality control is the responsibility of the contractor to
keep a control over the process. Whereas, quality assurance is the responsibility of the
specifying agency. More stringent quality control and acceptance criterias have to be evolved.

Pay factors have to be introduced to encourage the contractors to finish the work in time with
the minimal resources. These pay factors penalize the contractor for reducing the binder
content, etc and at the same time encourage the contractor for good quality work. India specific
quality acceptance model is to be developed to ensure long lasting bituminous layers.