Characterization of linear viscoelastic, nonlinear viscoelastic and damage stages of asphalt mixtures

Rong Luo*, Hanqi Liu, Yuqing Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It has been demonstrated that asphalt mixtures experienced linear viscoelastic stage, nonlinear viscoelastic stage and damage stage when subjected to controlled-strain repeated direct-tension (RDT) tests with increasing strain levels. However, the linear viscoelastic properties of asphalt mixtures are usually muddled up with their nonlinear viscoelastic properties. These confusions directly lead to the incorrect determination of the pseudostrains and dissipated pseudostrain energies (DPSEs) in the nonlinear viscoelastic stage and damage stage. This study investigated the material properties of fine aggregate mixture (FAM) specimens in all three stages. These three stages were differentiated and characterized in terms of the viscoelastic stress, pseudostrain and DPSE. The definitions of viscoelastic stress, reference modulus and pseudostrain were rigorously established to assure that the material properties in the linear viscoelastic stage were the reference properties and that the sole linear viscoelastic effect was eliminated when determining the pseudostrain and DPSE in the three stages. The characteristics of the DPSE in the three stages were found to be: (1) the DPSE of any loading cycle was zero in the linear viscoelastic stage; (2) in the nonlinear viscoelastic stage, the DPSE of each loading cycle remained approximately the same with the growth of the number of loading cycles, and the DPSE increased to a larger value when the strain level of the RDT test increased to a higher level; (3) in the damage stage, the DPSE of the loading cycle increased as the number of loading cycles increased. This study strictly distinguished the linear viscoelasticity from the nonlinear viscoelasticity of the asphalt mixtures, which is critical for the accurate determination of the DPSE spent in overcoming the nonlinear viscoelasticity and in developing damages, such as cracking and permanent deformation, in the asphalt mixtures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-80
Number of pages9
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
Early online date13 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


  • asphalt mixture
  • dissipated pseudostrain energy
  • linear viscoelasticity
  • nonlinear viscoelasticity
  • pseudostrain
  • viscoelastic stress


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