Nanomechanical properties of constituent phases in bituminous mixtures

Pravat Karki, Philip A. Yuya, Yong Rak Kim, Joseph A. Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This paper presents a nanomechanical test-analysis method to measure the elastic modulus and hardness of constituent phases of bituminous paving mixtures. Quasi-static nanoindentation tests were conducted on small-volume specimens using a Berkovich nanoindenter tip. The elastic modulus and hardness were analyzed from the responses of the material measured during the unloading segment of the nanoindentation tests using a contact mechanics-based analytical model. The correlation of the scanning probe images and nanoindentation results reveal that the aggregates and matrix have the highest and the lowest stiffness-hardness in the mixture as expected, and a gradual change in the elastic modulus and hardness occurs across the aggregate-matrix interphase with an approximate 30-60μm width. This study clearly demonstrates that a nanoindentation approach can be effectively used to characterize the fundamental properties of different phases and critical locations in heterogeneous mixtures using readily available small-volume specimens. The possibility of obtaining more accurate and statistically reliable material properties can improve the accuracy of materials characterization and performance prediction modeling of mixtures and structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04016090
JournalJournal of Materials in Civil Engineering
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Bituminous mixtures
  • Elastic properties
  • Interphase properties
  • Nanoindentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials


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