Combined peridynamics and discrete multiphysics to study the effects of air voids and freeze-thaw on the mechanical properties of asphalt

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This paper demonstrates the use of peridynamics and discrete multiphysics to assess micro crack formation and propagation in asphalt at low temperatures and under freezing conditions. Three scenarios are investigated: (a) asphalt without air voids under compressive load, (b) asphalt with air voids and (c) voids filled with freezing water. The first two are computed with Peridynam-ics, the third with peridynamics combined with discrete multiphysics. The results show that the presence of voids changes the way cracks propagate in the material. In asphalt without voids, cracks tend to propagate at the interface between the mastic and the aggregate. In the presence of voids, they ‘jump’ from one void to the closest void. Water expansion is modelled by coupling Peridynam-ics with repulsive forces in the context of Discrete Multiphysics. Freezing water expands against the voids’ internal surface, building tension in the material. A network of cracks forms in the asphalt, weakening its mechanical properties. The proposed methodology provides a computational tool for generating samples of ‘digital asphalt’ that can be tested to assess the asphalt properties under different operating conditions.

Bibliographic note

Funding Information: Funding: PhD fund lead to this study was provided by the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Notitngham and the School of Chemical Engineering of the University of Birmingham. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


Original languageEnglish
Article number1579
Number of pages18
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2021


  • Asphalt, Discrete multiphysics, Mathematical modelling, Peridynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas