Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Road Research

Research Topics


Low Temperature Cracking in Asphalt Pavements

Low temperature cracking is the most prevalent distress found in asphalt pavements built in cold weather climates. As the temperature drops the restrained pavement tries to shrink. The tensile stresses build up to a critical point at which a crack is formed. Thermal cracks can be initiated by a single low temperature event or by multiple warming and cooling cycles and then propagated by further low temperatures or traffic loadings.

The current Superpave specification attempts to address this issue by specifying Winter Scene a limiting low temperature for asphalt binders. However, the first phase of this project made it clear that testing asphalt mixtures is necessary to accurately predict low temperature cracking performance in the field. Furthermore, the testing must include more sophisticated techniques based on fracture mechanics rather than the current practice of stiffness and strength testing.

Current Research Efforts

Past Research Efforts


Contact Information

Dave VanDeusen, dave.vandeusen@state.mn.us