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Most bituminous adhesives or binders that are used for pavement materials are derived primarily from fossil fuels. With petroleum oil reserves becoming depleted and the drive to establish a bio-based economy, there is a push to produce binders from alternative sources, particularly from biorenewable resources. However, until now, no research has studied the applicability of utilizing bio-oils as a bitumen replacement (100% replacement) in the pavement industry.

The main objective of this research was to test various properties of bio-oils in order to determine the applicability of using bio-oils as binders in the pavement industry.

The overall conclusions about the applicability of using bio-oils as bio-binders in the pavement industry can be summarized as follows:

  1. Bio-oils cannot be used as bio-binders/pavement materials without any heat pre-treatment/upgrading procedure.
  2. Current testing standards and specifications, especially Superpave procedures, should be modified to comply with the properties of bio-binders.
  3. The temperature range of the viscous behavior for bio-oils may be lower than that of bitumen binders by about 30°–40° C.
  4. The rheological properties of the unmodified bio-binders vary in comparison to bitumen binders, but the rheological properties of these modified bio-binders change significantly upon adding polymer modifiers.
  5. The high-temperature performance grade for the developed bio-binders may not vary significantly from that of the bitumen binders, but the low-temperature performance grade may vary significantly.

Report Number

IHRB Project TR-594/InTrans Project 08-133

Granting Agencies

Iowa Highway Research Board;Iowa Department of Transportation; Iowa Energy Center



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