Date Published:2 August, 2017
Mechanism of fracture in a viscoelastic heterogeneous composite with thermo-rheological properties such as, asphalt mixture is quite involved and cannot be correctly simulated with simpler linear elastic fracture mechanics constitutive laws. Over the last decade and half, a number of researchers have adopted use of cohesive zone (CZ) fracture models for simulation of fracture in asphalt mixtures. CZ interface elements are utilised in finite element (FE) models for representation of crack path, these elements follow traction–displacement relationships that allow for gradually degrading traction capabilities along the crack path with increasing level of crack opening. This paper presents a review of CZ modelling approach for simulation of asphalt pavement and overlay cracking performances. Suitability of CZ modelling approach for capturing discrete fracture in asphalt mixtures at low temperatures is presented through simulation of lab scale test. An example is also presented to demonstrate applicability of CZ-based modelling effort in capturing the crack initiation and propagation in asphalt mixtures at low temperatures. Thereafter, an FE-based pavement simulation approach is discussed that can be utilised in design of asphalt overlays to lower the propensity of reflective cracking. A case study of designing asphalt overlay systems for four real-life pavements in Minnesota is presented to demonstrate the applicability of the CZ-based modelling approach in conducting mechanistic design of asphalt overlays.