About the research
The vast majority of asphalt materials used in highway construction are derived currently from the distillation of crude petroleum. The increasing demand for products derived from crude petroleum, coupled with constrained supply, has led to substantial price increases in crude petroleum products including asphalt. To further meet the increased demand for transportation fuels, many refineries have installed coking facilities that remove asphalt from the marketplace, further impacting the pricing of asphalt.
The evolution of the biorefineries producing transportation fuels, specialty chemical products, and food products has created opportunities for using derived co-products in the asphalt industry. These co-products may be used to replace crude petroleum-derived asphalt, either partially or fully, or be used as beneficial additives for mitigating moisture damage, as an example.
Assessment and characterization of these materials, including chemical compatibility, rheological testing, and formulation for use in asphalt paving, is needed. This project is a collaborative one combining Kansas State University’s expertise in analytical chemistry and asphalt mixture characterization with Iowa State University’s expertise in using bio-based materials in asphalt materials and rheological characterization.
This project addresses the U.S. Department of Transportation’s strategic goals associated with state of good repair, sustainability, and economic competitiveness.