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Modern technology will help in asphalt testing

Photo of the sample during the fatigue test in the four-point bending apparatus

A sample during the fatigue test in the four-point bending apparatus, photo: Jan Król

Researchers from the Warsaw University of Technology want to use artificial neural networks (ANN) to predict the properties of materials used for road surfaces. The project is implemented together with the Czech Technical University in Prague.

Road engineering has changed a lot in recent years. More and more often it uses innovative materials and technologies as well as design methods adapted to the principles of sustainable development. The increased durability of the produced pavements is a direct result of this progress. However, it also necessitates a change in the method of testing the materials used. Understanding the fatigue processes of asphalt and asphalt mixtures is absolutely crucial.

– The time-consuming nature of the tests, as well as the requirement to execute such advanced tests on a large number of laboratory samples, are the most relevant considerations. – points out the manager of the project, Prof. Jan Król, PhD, DSc from the Faculty of Civil Engineering. – These limitations can be partially reduced by determining the fatigue properties of asphalt, and assessing the basic properties of mineral-asphalt mixtures. However, this requires the development of advanced predictive models using the method of artificial neural networks.

As part of the project, researchers intend to develop such models for predicting fatigue life. The plans also include easy-to-use and quick tools that will allow evaluating the behaviour of mixtures without the need for advanced laboratory testing.

This way, it will be possible to reduce the use of expensive equipment and save time needed for testing.

The implementation of the "Advanced methods of assessment and analysis of the fatigue performance of asphalt mixtures" project was funded under the Weave-UNISONO programme of the National Science Centre.