The asphalt industry’s incentive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has increased since the 1990s due to growing concerns on environmental issues such as global warming and carbon footprint. This has stimulated the introduction of Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) and its technologies which serve the purpose of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the mixing and compaction temperatures of asphalt mix. WMA gained popularity due to the environmental benefit it offers without compromising the properties, performance and quality of the asphalt mix. WMA is produced at significantly lower temperatures (slightly above 100 °C) and thus results in less energy consumption, fewer emissions, reduced ageing, lower mixing and compaction temperatures, cool weather paving and better workability of the mix. The latter of these benefits is attributed to the incorporation of additives into WMA. These additives can also confer even better performance of WMA in comparison to conventional Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) methods. Even though there are recommended dosages of several WMA additives, there is no general standardized mixture design procedure and this makes it challenging to characterize the mechanism(s) of action of these additives in the warm mix. The effects of the addition of additives into WMA are known to a reasonable extent but not so much is known about the underlying interactions and phenomena which bring about the mechanism(s) by which these additives confer beneficial features into the warm mix. Additives in a certain way are being used to bridge the gap and minimize or even nullify the effect of the mixing temperature deficit involved in WMA processes while improving the general properties of the mix. This review presents WMA technologies such as wax, chemical additives and foaming processes and the mechanisms by which they function to confer desired characteristics and improve the durability of the mix. Hybrid techniques are also briefly mentioned in this paper in addition to a detailed description of the specific modes of action of popular WMA technologies such as Sasobit, Evotherm and Advera. This paper highlights the environmental and technical advantages of WMA over the conventional HMA methods and also comprehensively analyzes the mechanism(s) of action of additives in conferring desirable characteristics on WMA, which ultimately improves its durability.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited