Enhancing the Fundamental Knowledge and Use of Asphalt Emulsions Using Systematic Scientific and Engineering Approaches

Project status

In progress

Start date: 03/01/17
End date: 02/28/18


Principal investigator:

About the research

Asphalt emulsion research has remained almost exclusively in industry leaving knowledge gaps in the scientific and engineering communities. Asphalt emulsions have a growing market share due to their large role in pavement preservation activities and cold-in place recycling. This project focuses on asphalt emulsion formulation and how formulation influences asphalt emulsion properties.

Currently, limited information is available in this area due to trade secrets and proprietary knowledge. This research begins by compiling available information that will be useful in developing an asphalt emulsion formulation and in emulsion processing. The research will then investigate material characteristics of the asphalt and chemically investigate emulsifiers and developing formulations.

Viscosity and rheological testing of the formulated non-modified asphalt emulsion will be performed to ensure that the asphalt emulsion has adequate properties and is stable. The test results will provide a benchmark for the asphalt emulsion properties.

Next, the benchmark formulation will be built upon by incorporating innovative materials such as bio-polymers. The research will document how the viscosity change influences the ability to process and formulate the emulsion. The polymer-modified emulsion will be tested using viscosity and rheological testing tracked over time. The test results of the polymer-modified asphalt emulsion will be compared with the non-modified asphalt emulsion to develop recommendations for formulation and processing based on a scientific investigation.



  • Iowa Department of Transportation
  • Iowa Highway Research Board
  • Midwest Transportation Center