Click here to load reader

Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation.pdf

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)

Text of Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation.pdf

  • 7/23/2019 Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation.pdf


    Foamed Bitumen StabilisationMartin Kendall, Bruce Baker, Peter Evans & Jothi Ramanujam.


    As Queenslands State and National Road Networkmatures, Main Roads is spending less money on newconstruction and more on maintenance andrehabilitation.

    The challenge of Main Roads maintenance andrehabilitation task is increased by the fact that

    Queensland has substantial lengths of road networkconsisting of thin, highly plastic and low strengthpavements over weak and highly expansivesubgrades.

    Since 1995 Border (Warwick) District has beenworking with Transport Technology Department(TTD) and other world leaders to trial and developcost-effective methods of rehabilitating its aging roadnetwork.

    After extensive work with lime stabilisation, and tworelatively small trials using foamed bitumen

    stabilisation, Border District has recently completedthe largest foamed bitumen stabilisation job evercarried out in the Southern Hemisphere.

    This paper addresses:

    the basics of foamed bitumen stabilisation;

    situations where foamed bitumen stabilisationcould be considered;

    the design process for foamed bitumenstabilisation;

    lessons learnt from the $2.5m, 17.6 km NewEngland Highway project;

    what to look for when carrying out foamedbitumen stabilisation; and

    the future of foamed bitumen stabilisation forQueenslands Main Roads Department.


    Foamed bitumen (also known as foamed asphalt,foam bitumen or expanded asphalt) is a mixture ofair, water and bitumen. When injected with a smallquantity of cold water, the hot bitumen expands

    explosively to about fifteen times its original volumeand forms a fine mist or foam. In this foamed state,the bitumen has a very large surface area and anextremely low viscosity.

    This expanded bitumen mist is incorporated into themixing drum where the bitumen droplets areattracted to and coat the finer particles of pavementmaterial, thus forming a mastic that effectively binds

    the mixture together.Foamed bitumen stabilised pavement can beproduced either insitu (Figure 1) or by using acentral plant through a pugmill-paver operation.

    This paper concentrates on insitu stabilisation asused on the New England highway project.

    Figure 1 Insitu foamed bitumen stabilisationusing Wirtgen WR2500



    3.1 Background

    For many years, cement has been used for themodification and stabilisation of pavements.

    Main Roads has recently carried out extensiveresearch and several successful trials to investigatethe role of lime in the stabilisation of highly plasticsubgrades under the direction of the QueenslandMain Roads Lime Stabilisation Steering Committee.

    Hundreds of kilometres of pavements have beenstabilised using lime/flyash blends in conjunction withthis research.

  • 7/23/2019 Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation.pdf


    Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation Page 2

    Some cracking problems have recently beenobserved in pavements stabilised using combinationsof cement, lime and fly ash. This cracking is believedto be due to the sensitivity of cementitiously boundpavements to vehicle overloading where there isinadequate subgrade support.

    Accelerated Load Facility (ALF) trials suggest that a

    twelfth power relationship applies for damage torigidly bound pavements due to overloading,whereas for flexible pavements, a fourth powerrelationship is understood to apply. For example,20% overloading corresponds to almost nine timesthe damage in rigidly bound pavements, compared to

    just over twice the damage for a granular pavement(i.e 1.24 = 2.1 for flexible granular pavementscompared to 1.212= 8.9 for rigid pavements).

    Quantification of the fatigue relationship for foamedbitumen stabilised pavements would be useful inpredicting the design life for the pavement. At thispoint in time it is believed that the bitumen binderenables an increased resistance to fatigue. TTD iscurrently conducting research using flexure beamsto obtain quantitative fatigue relationships.

    In view of the fatigue properties of cementitiouslystabilised pavements with low subgrade support,1

    bitumen stabilisation was explored in order to utilisethe strength and flexibility properties of bitumen.

    Stabilisation trials were carried out using bitumenemulsion and cement in Warwick District in 1994.

    3.2 Historical perspective

    CSIR Transporteks Mix Design Procedure recordsthat The potential of foamed bitumen for use as asoil binder was first realised in 1956 by Dr Ladi HCsanyi at the Engineering Experiment Station in IowaState University. Since then, foamed bitumentechnology has been used successfully in numerouscountries with a corresponding evolution of theoriginal bitumen foaming process as experience wasgained in its use. The original process consisted of

    injecting steam into hot bitumen. The steamfoaming system was very convenient for asphaltplants where steam was readily available, but itproved to be impractical for insitu foamingoperations because of the need for specialequipment such as steam boilers.2

    In1968 Mobil Oil Australia, which had acquired thepatent rights for Csanyis invention, modified the

    1 Fatigue problems are eliminated from cementitiouslystabilised pavements if they are designed with sufficient

    cover over a strong subgrade, thus minimising flexure inthe pavement.

    2CSIR Transportek, 1998.

    original process by adding cold water rather thansteam into the hot bitumen. The bitumen foamingprocess thus became much more practical andeconomical for general use.3

    The process of foamed bitumen stabilisation wasdeveloped more than forty years ago, but the lack ofa standard design procedure and the failure of Mobil

    to exploit their patent have contributed to itslimited implementation.4 Since the expiration ofMobils patent on the foamed bitumen process andsubsequent intensive research, particularly by SouthAfricas CSIR Transportek, many road authoritiesworld wide have carried out successful trials usingfoamed bitumen stabilisation technology.

    3.3 Queensland trials

    Main Roads has recently carried out a number offoamed bitumen stabilisation trials.

    3.3.1 Gladfield

    Main Roads carried out its first foamed bitumen trialin Queensland on 1.6km of the CunninghamHighway at Gladfield (21km east of Warwick) inMay 1997.

    The CBR 30% clayey gravel overlying a CBR 2%black soil was stabilised to a depth of 200mm in theinner wheel path and 250mm in the outer wheelpath using 3.5% bitumen and 2.0% cement additive.

    At the end of the first day of the trial, rebounddeflections in the order of 0.75mm were measuredon the treated pavement. Traffic was allowed onthe stabilised pavement after each day's work afterwhich the pavement did not show any signs of earlydistress.

    Given the very high content of commercial vehicleson the Cunningham Highway (AADT = 4000 with24% commercial vehicles) these low early deflectionsare a good indication of the capacity of foamedbitumen stabilised pavements to gain strengthrapidly, and the potential to allow for earlytrafficking.

    Following completion of the trial, the pavement wasleft without any surfacing for a period of two weeksand then lightly sealed. The pavement suffered nodistress during this period.

    After three months, the back-analysed modulus fromdeflection was 1,250MPa.5


    4Ibid.5 Moduli determined from back analysed pavementdeflection data.

  • 7/23/2019 Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation.pdf


    Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation Page 3

    After two years of service, the pavement isexhibiting distress in approximately 10% of thepavement due to block cracking which coincideswith the original cement treated patches and thelack of subgrade support and overloading, but isotherwise performing well. It is believed that theuse of lime instead of cement as the additionaladditive in future foamed bitumen work will reduce

    this block cracking which occurs coincident withpreviously cement stabilised patches.

    3.3.2 Gympie

    After the initial success of the Gladfield job, MainRoads trialed foamed bitumen with various additivesat Rainbow Beach Road, east of Gympie, in order totest the effectiveness of various mix designs in lowplasticity gravels and sand pavements.

    The following mix designs were trialed:


    1.0% and 3.0% residual bitumen from emulsionwith 1.0% and 2.0% cement;

    2. 3.0%, 4.0% and 5.0% foamed bitumen with 2.0%lime; and

    3. a control section of granular construction.

    This job received some rain during the periodbetween construction and sealing. The foamedbitumen section held up well and was still trafficable,while the bitumen emulsion section became veryslippery with some rutting occurring. Screenings had

    to be spread on the surface to make the emulsionstabilised section trafficable again.

    Both the bitumen emulsion and the foamed bitumensections are now performing well. Throughcontinued long term monitoring, we will be able toascertain whether foamed bitumen has superiorfatigue properties.

    3.3.3 Inglewood

    A third foamed bitumen trial was carried out in June1998 on the Cunningham Highway just east of

    Inglewood using 4.0% bitumen and 1.5% quicklime.

    At the end of the first days production, the jobreceived 30mm of rain, following which the road wasstill trafficable. The only rework required was toremove a thin slurry film off the top of the pavementusing a grader.

    This job was left unsealed for six weeks, duringwhich time it was unfortunately subjected to 142mmof rain. This rainfall would have destroyed aconventional unbound pavement; however, thefoamed bitumen stabilised pavement emergedrequiring only relatively minor patching. This is againa positive testimony to the strength of foamedbitumen stabilised pavement, and its reduced

    susceptibility to damage from wet weather, incomparison to other methods of rehabilitation.

    This pavement is performing very well and hasrequired no maintenance since being sealed.


    This section discusses the things that one shouldconsider in deciding whether bitumen stabilisation isthe appropriate solution in a particular situation.

    4.1 Appropriate uses

    Situations that should trigger the consideration ofthe use of foamed bitumen technology include thefollowing:

    a pavement has been repeatedly patched to theextent that pavement repairs are no longer costeffective;

    a weak granular base overlies a reasonablystrong subgrade (a minimum CBR of 5% isrequired.);

    conventional reseals or thin asphalt overlays canno longer correct flushing problems; or

    overloading is significant and can not be easilycontrolled.6

    4.2 Advantages

    The advantages in using foamed bitumen stabilisationinclude the following:

    increases the shear strength of a granularpavement;

    strength characteristics approach that of cementtreated materials while remaining flexible andhence relatively fatigue resistant;

    lower moisture contents are required incomparison to bitumen emulsion stabilisationand hence wet spots are minimised;

    after construction, the pavement can tolerateheavy rainfall with only minor surface damageunder traffic, and hence is less susceptible to theeffects of weather than other methods ofstabilisation; and

    6Based on the short-term results of trials carried out by

    Warwick District, foamed bitumen stabilisation seems tohave better fatigue properties than cementitious binderssuch as lime fly ash or cement and hence better resistoverloading.

  • 7/23/2019 Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation.pdf


    Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation Page 4

    is carried out insitu and hence is quicker thanother methods of rehabilitation such as anoverlay.


    Disadvantages of foamed bitumen stabilisationinclude the following:

    more expensive than lime/flyash stabilisation;

    not suitable for all pavement types (requires afull particle size distribution);

    design methodologies for foamed bitumen arerelatively new, as a rapid evolution of thetechnology associated with foamed bitumenstabilisation has only recently occurred;

    the process requires hot bitumen (180oC) forthe foaming action to be successful, and thusthere is a risk of burning (common to all roadconstruction operations involving bitumen); and

    purpose built foamed bitumen stabilisingequipment is required.



    This section gives an overview of the design and pre-construction phases on the New England highwayfoamed bitumen job.


    Subgrade issuesBefore stabilising with foamed bitumen, the strengthof the subgrade must be assessed. A flexible foamedbitumen stabilised pavement layer cannot beexpected to bridge over a subgrade with a CBRvalue of less than five.

    Extensive Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP) testswere carried out on the New England Highwayproject to ensure that the subgrade had the requiredstrength.

    Subgrade failures must be repaired before insitustabilisation occurs, while failures confined to theupper base pavement can be ignored. Extensivebase failures on the New England Highway projectwere not treated before stabilisation took place.


    Foamed bitumen testing machine

    Initial testing for concept and preliminary designwere based on a handful of tests carried out in aprivate laboratory in Melbourne. The 4.0%recommended equated to approximately $1m of

    bitumen for the project.Due to the high variability of the pavement materialsand the expense of individual tests in Melbourne, a

    Wirtgen foamed bitumen testing device costing$50,000 (Figure 2) was purchased to carry out arange of tests to fine tune the design. This testingdevice has been found to be a good investment inMain Roads corporate knowledge.

    Figure 2 Foamed bitumen testing device

    5.3 Types of bitumen

    Bitumen samples from a number of suppliers weretested in order to confirm that bitumen suppliedunder the State Stores Contract did not requiremore foaming agent than bitumen from othersources. The proposed foaming agent performedsimilarly in bitumen obtained from all suppliers.

    5.4 Optimisation of moisture contentand foaming agent

    Figure 3 shows a theoretical plot of moisturecontent versus expansion ratio and half-life for theoptimisation of moisture and foaming agent. Foreach combination of bitumen and foaming agent,there is an optimum combination of added waterand foaming agent in order to achieve the requiredexpansion with minimal expenditure.

    Figure 3 Moisture content vs expansion ratioand half-life

    Testing was performed using injected waterpercentages ranging from 1.0% to 2.5% with 0.5%foaming agent. Two percent (2.0%) added moisturebarely met the required expansion and half-life

  • 7/23/2019 Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation.pdf


    Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation Page 5

    values, giving an expansion of 1415 times with 2835 seconds half-life. Two point five percent (2.5%)injected water gave consistently better results thanrequired, achieving expansion of 18 times and half-life of around 35-40 seconds. As 2.5% is thepractical maximum level of injection of water in thefield, no further reduction in foaming agent wasattempted.

    The reduction in the design foaming agent from0.67% to 0.50% represented a further cost saving.


    Desirable materials

    It is claimed in CSIR Transporteks Mix DesignProcedure that foamed bitumen can be used with avariety of materials ranging from conventional highquality graded materials and recycled pavementmaterials to marginal materials such as those havinga high plasticity index.7

    Experience gained by Main Roads indicates thattesting must be carried out to ensure that foamedbitumen does give the required results.

    The success of foamed bitumen is dependent on thegrading of the material being stabilised. A C gradingis required. Figure 4 shows the desired gradingcurve for a foamed bitumen mix (zone A). If thegrading is fine (zone B) or coarse (zone C) thegrading of the material to be stabilised can be alteredby adding more coarse or fine material respectively.

    Higher quality pavement materials (i.e. Type 2.1,Type 2.2 and some Type 2.3) whose grading lacksthe required fines and plastic properties may not besuitable for foamed bitumen stabilisation. The lowinitial modulus of these materials requires theaddition of sufficient fines so that the percentage ofmaterial passing the 0.075mm sieve is between 5%and 15%.

    Figure 4 Foamed bitumen desired grading

    7CSIR Transportek, 1998.

    Further to the above, CSIR Transporteks MixDesign Procedure states that a wide range ofaggregates may be used with foamed bitumen,ranging from crushed stone to silty sands and evento ore tailings. Certain soil types may require limetreatment and grading adjustment to performsatisfactorily.8

    Table 1 shows the range of binder contents requiredfor various soil types along with any additionalrequirements (e.g. addition of lime). This data givesa starting point for subsequent laboratory bitumencontent tests.

    Table 1 Optimal binder content range9

    Soil type Binder (%) Additional

    Well graded clean gravel 2.0 2.5%

    Well graded marginallyclayey/silty gravel

    2.0 2.5%

    Poorly graded marginallyclayey gravel/silty gravel

    2.0 2.5%

    Clayey gravel 4.0 6.0% Limemodification

    Well graded clean sand 4.0 5.0% Filler

    Well graded marginallysilty sand

    2.5 4.0%

    Poorly graded marginallysilty sand

    3.0 4.5% Lowpenetrationof bitumen& filler

    Poorly graded clean sand 2.5 - 5.0% Filler

    Silty sand 2.5 4.5%

    Silty clayey sand 4.0% Possibly lime

    Clayey sand 3.0 4.0% Limemodification

    5.6 Bitumen content

    The bitumen content was designed to meet aminimum soaked resilient modulus of 1500 MPa. The

    results of modulus testing shown in Figure 5 indicatethat the strength of the mixture peaks when 3.5%bitumen for this blend of pavement materials.

    The design bitumen content was initially reducedfrom 4.0% to 3.0% to achieve the required strengthbut later increased to 3.5% in the field to allow forconstruction tolerances and water proofing of thepavement. This reduction of 0.5% in the designbitumen content resulted in a saving of $122,000,

    8CSIR Transportek, 1998.

    9Bowering & Martin, 1976.

  • 7/23/2019 Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation.pdf


    Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation Page 6

    thus recovering more than twice the cost of thefoamed bitumen-testing device (Section 5.2).







    2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0

    Bitumen Content (%)



    Figure 5 Strength gain with bitumen

    5.7 Supplementary additive

    The supplementary additive was confirmed by

    testing to be 2.0% hydrated lime (equivalent to 1.5%quicklime).

    The strength of the foamed bitumen mixture peakedwhen 2.0% hydrated lime was used.

    This peaking can be explained by the fact that whenlime reacts with the clay particles it flocculates andincreases the particle size which in turn requiresmore bitumen to lubricate the sample in order toachieve compaction. The samples treated with 3%lime appeared to have more voids because the limeaffected the plasticity, thus giving the pavement a

    more open structure.

    5.8 Cement treated patches

    Over the years, considerable cement stabilisationhad occurred on the New England Highway. Figure 6shows a heavily cemented stabilised patch that hasbeen pre-milled. Laboratory testing was carried outto establish what effect this existing cement treatedpavement may have on the final product.

    Figure 6 Pulverised cement treated patch

    It was observed that the early strength of cementstabilised sections was approximately twice that ofthe previously untreated sections. However, as thefinal soaked values are only marginally higher thanfor untreated road materials, no change was madeto the design for these sections.

    The cost of removing all the cement patches in the

    job would have been substantial. It is believed thatthe residual lime present in the cement treatedpatches could lead to marginally higher rates ofstrength gain and hence early fatiguing. Futuremonitoring will concentrate on these cementtreated areas to further investigate the effect ofpreviously stabilised patches.

    5.9 Culverts

    The location and depths of culverts within the jobwere established and noted in the tender

    documentation for this project. There must be atleast 300mm of cover over culverts to avoid severedamage to both the culverts and the stabiliser. Thecontractor was also responsible for checking thelocation of the culverts before proceeding with thework.

    5.10 Statistics

    Table 2 shows statistics for the job.

    Table 2 Job statistics

    Location New England Highway (22B)(Toowoomba WarwickRoad) between 34.45-48.25kmand 52.75-55.69km north ofWarwick

    Job No 35/22B/802

    Timeframe 23 March 28 May 1999

    Construction time 37 working days

    Length 17.59 km

    Area 145,086 m2

    Quicklime 1,026t @ 1.5%

    Bitumen 2,735t @ 3.5%

    Foaming Agent 12,191 litres @ 0.5%

  • 7/23/2019 Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation.pdf


    Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation Page 7

    5.11 Cost

    The following table details a breakdown of the majorcost items for the job.

    Table 3 Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation Costs

    Stabilisation (excludingbitumen, traffic & seal)

    $963,421 ($6.64/m2)

    Bitumen $853,766 ($5.88/m2)

    Survey & Traffic $121,600 ($0.83/m2)

    Design & Supervision $102,977 ($0.71/m2)

    Seal & Pvt Markings $515,100 ($3.55/m2)

    Total $2,556,864 ($17.64/m2)

    The following table shows a comparison of pricesusing other methods of stabilisation (excluding seal).

    Table 4 Relative Costs of Stabilisation10

    Treatment Cost ($/m2)

    2-3% lime/flyash (200mm) $6 - $9

    Bitumen (2%) emulsion/cement (2%)(200mm)

    $12 - $14

    Ad-Base 4/cement (175mm) $12 - $14

    Foamed bitumen (250mm OWP,200mm IWP)

    $13- $15


    SpecificationA new specification was written for this job in theform of the MRS11.07 specification for In SituStabilised Pavements. Following revision toincorporate the lessons learnt on the New EnglandHighway project it will be submitted forincorporation in the Main Roads StandardSpecifications. In the interim period before itspublication, interested parties can contact TTD forcopies of this specification.



    This section provides an overview of the processesemployed in the construction phase on the NewEngland Highway foamed bitumen project.

    6.1 Award of contract

    Stabilised Pavements of Australia (SPA) won thecontract for the supply and incorporation of lime,


    These figures are distorted to an extent due toincreased density and roughness testing on the foamedbitumen job. It was found necessary to take a separateproctor MDD for every density test.

    transportation of bitumen, incorporation of bitumen,supply and incorporation of foaming agent,compaction, and trimming. Traffic control, sealingand line marking were carried out by Main RoadsRoad and Transport Construction Services (RTCS),while design and audit testing was carried out by

    TTDs Pavement Rehabilitation Branch.

    6.2 Partnering

    A partnering meeting involving the majorstakeholders was convened before the workscommenced. Through this process a greater level ofunderstanding emerged between the majorstakeholders, thus facilitating the resolution ofoutstanding issues before the work commenced.

    This resulted in the creation of an environment inwhich experimentation could take place in anatmosphere of mutual trust.

    6.3 Pre-milling

    The pavement was initially pre-milled using a CMIRS500 Reclaimer/Stabiliser to a depth of 50mm lessthan the design depth to eliminate the effect of theexisting cement-stabilised patches (see Section 8.5for a discussion of the pre-milling process).

    6.4 Shape correction

    The pre-milling process allows the pavement to beshape corrected with a grader and thus enable the

    stabilisation to be carried out to the correct depth.After pre-milling, the shape-corrected material islightly rolled. Figure 7 shows the type cross sectionused.

    Figure 7 Typical cross section


    Spread and slake lime

    One and a half percent (1.5%) quicklime was spreadon the road using a purpose built spreader andsubsequently slaked using two passes of a watertanker. Sufficient water was used so that no moresteam was released when extra water was added.

  • 7/23/2019 Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation.pdf


    Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation Page 8

    Figure 8 shows the steam plume from slaking of thelime in the background. Compaction of the previousrun, having had lime and bitumen incorporated, isoccurring in the foreground.

    Figure 8 Slaking of quicklime and finalcompaction after stabilisation

    Figure 9 shows the fine powdered quicklime slakedinto a paste on the road ready for the incorporationof foamed bitumen.

    Figure 9 Slaked quicklime

    6.6 Mix lime and bitumen

    The lime and bitumen is then mixed to the specifieddepths of 200mm and 250mm using the 30 tonne601 horse power Wirtgen WR2500Reclaimer/Stabiliser.

    The hot bitumen is pumped out of the attachedbitumen push tanker and is injected into the mixingbox of the Wirtgen WR2500. Water is sprayed intothe bitumen at 2.5% by mass of the hot bitumen,which causes the treated bitumen to foam to fifteentimes its initial volume. The bitumen is then mixedinto the pavement material by the WR2500 (Figure10) while the bitumen is in its expanded state.

    Figure 10 Wirtgen WR2500

    Figure 11 shows diagrammatically the process ofincorporation of the bitumen into the pavementmaterial in the mixing chamber of the WirtgenWR2500.

    Figure 11 Incorporation of foamed bitumen

    Figure 12 shows the foamed bitumen-monitoringdevice on the side of the stabiliser used to ensurethat the required foaming of the bitumen is beingachieved.

    Figure 12 Foaming monitoring device

    Figure 13 shows the foamed bitumen stabilisedpavement material as it comes out of the machine.

    The material is slightly warm from the hot bitumen.It is initially hard to see an appreciable colour changein the material because the bitumen coats only the

    fine particles. By comparison, if a similar percentageof bitumen were mixed into aggregate tomanufacture asphalt, the mixture would turn blackbecause the large particles are also being coated.

  • 7/23/2019 Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation.pdf


    Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation Page 9

    Figure 13 Freshly stabilised pavement material

    After stabilisation, there is a large mound betweenthe tyre tracks of the stabiliser because the wheelsof the machine provide a significant amount ofcompaction under the weight of the machine. It isimportant that this mound is not leveled with agrader before compaction; otherwise, thecompaction of the pavement material will beunevenly distributed across the road.

    Figure 14 Freshly stabilised pavement

    6.7 Trim and compact to 100% STD

    Following stabilisation, the pavement is compactedto 100% Standard Compaction using a self propelledpad foot roller, a self propelled smooth drumvibrating roller, and a rubber tyred roller as pernormal road construction practice.

    It is imperative that the vibrating pad foot rollersfollow closely behind the bitumen stabilisationoperation in order to optimise compaction (Figure15).

    Figure 15 Padfoot roller following behindstabiliser

    After compaction, the pavement was wet with thewater tanker to facilitate curing, and left to thetraffic. A trim is sometimes required the next day tocorrect rutting caused by traffic loading before thepavement had cured.

    Figure 16 shows the surface of the compactedpavement after twelve hours of traffic. Without aseal, the surface becomes very tight, and markedlydarkens. Experience has shown that this surface isalmost immune to the effects of weather.

    Figure 16 Foamed bitumen stabilisedpavement after trafficking

    The pavement becomes almost impossible to trimafter twelve hours. A final cut was given to thepavement just prior to roughness testing.

  • 7/23/2019 Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation.pdf


    Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation Page 10

    6.8 Seal

    Figure 17 Sealed pavement at Nobbyintersection

    The pavement was lightly sealed using Class 170bitumen with 7% cutter at 0.9L/m2 and 10mmaggregate with a spread rate of 1m3per 145m2.

    This seal treatment has worked well except wherefresh seal stripped at some intersections due to tyrestresses. Alternative treatment should beconsidered at intersections (refer Section 8.17).

    6.9 Production

    At the peak of production, the contractor wasachieving a production rate of 1,200 lane metres perday (four 25,000-litre bitumen tankers). It wasfound, however, that a superior finish could be

    achieved if more time was taken; hence, theproduction rate was reduced to 900 lane metres forthe remainder of the contract.

    7. RESULTS

    A variety of tests were carried out on the foamedbitumen stabilisation project to monitor the successof the processes during, and subsequent to,construction. This section addresses the monitoringprocedures used, and the results obtained.

    7.1 Depth

    Depth of stabilisation was monitored, both on theWirtgen WR2500 machine by viewing the depthgauge, and by digging test holes at the interface ofthe stabilised and the existing pavement beforecompaction took place.


    Bitumen content

    The percentage of bitumen being incorporated isshown on a digital readout on the Wirtgen WR2500,

    based on the bitumen pump speed.

    Dockets from the bitumen tankers were checkedregularly to ensure that the required bitumen was

    being incorporated. TTD also carried out residualbitumen content tests in the laboratory.

    7.3 Lime content

    The lime-spread rate was checked by tray tests. Acanvas mat (or tin tray) of known mass and area isplaced under the centre of the path of the spreader

    truck. The nett weight (after deducting tare weightof mat or tray) of the spread lime is measured usinghanging "fish" scales for the canvas mat or a platformbalance for the tray. The tolerance on the spread

    rate was set at 5%. Most of the spread rateswere within this tolerance. This tolerance is underreview as it is quite tight when spreading smallquantities such as 1.5%.

    7.4 Slaking

    The degree of slaking is important. Too much or

    too little water can minimise the effect of the lime.

    Too little water will cause the lime to be left inchunks and not mix or react properly. Too muchwater will drown the lime and cause unreacted limeto be trapped in small balls. Excess water will alsocause wet spots and failures when the pavement iscompacted.

    The quicklime was slaked to the point that no moresteam was produced when more water was appliedto the lime with a water bottle.

    7.5 Mixing

    The adequacy of the mixing is checked visually. Nospecks of lime should be visible after mixing. Thelime and the bitumen must be uniformly mixedthroughout the pavement. Adequate mixing was nota problem after both the pre-milling and mixingpasses.

    7.6 Start of runs

    As with any construction joint, there tends to be a

    hump at the end of each run where the stabiliserdrum was lowered at the start of each run. This canbe minimised by careful grader work in theselocations.

    7.7 Roughness

    The roughness achieved was generally within therange of 50-60 counts per kilometre. Thisroughness was influenced by the requirement thatthe stabilised pavement be tied into the shoulders.Roughness could be improved significantly in future

    jobs by pre-milling the shoulders and reshaping thefull formation before stabilisation (see Section 8.5).

  • 7/23/2019 Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation.pdf


    Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation Page 11

    7.8 Moisture content












    34000 39000 44000 49000 54000

    Chainage (m)



    Figure 18 Moisture content at time ofconstruction

    Although the variation in moisture content (48%)shown in Figure 18 could be improved with extrafield control, they are reasonable considering theinitial variation in insitu moisture prior to



    Relative dry density

    The Warwick RTCS Soil Laboratory carried outdensity testing.

    The compaction results shown in Figure 19 revealthat very high compactions were being achieved onthe road in comparison to the reference proctorsbeing done in the laboratory.

    It is likely that the high compaction results could be

    because some degree of setting often occurs in thematerial before it is compacted in the laboratory,and therefore the field densities are comparativelyhigher than the laboratory densities. This indicatesthat the true MDD is not obtained by StandardCompaction.

    The high variability in these density results wasreduced after Chainage 41,800m when referenceproctors were taken for every density test due tothe high variability in the insitu pavement material.









    34000 39000 44000 49000 54000

    Chainage (m)


    Figure 19 Relative dry density at time ofconstruction

    7.10 Air voids versus density

    Figure 20 shows that there is a linear relationshipbetween the measured field density and thepercentage of air voids.

    Field Density = -0.007 Air Voids + 2.23









    12 13 14 15 16 17 18

    Air Voids (%)


    Figure 20 Air voids vs field density

    This information is useful as more work is being

    carried out as part of the research work by TTD inorder to control the compaction by targeting thevoids content rather then density. For example, it islikely that Main Roads will, in the future, requiremaximum air voids of 12-14% rather specifying ameasure of density.

    7.11 Deflection

    Figure 21 shows the deflections measured threemonths after the work was completed on thenorthern end of the job. The deflections are in the

    region of 0.150.45mm indicating that there hasbeen a structural improvement to thepavement/subgrade system when compared to thesignificantly high deflections prior to stabilisation(approximately 1mm).












    34200 34400 34600 34800 35000 35200 35400 35600 35800 36000

    Chainage (m)



    SB OWP

    SB IWP

    Figure 21 Maximum deflection

    The foamed bitumen pavement was originallydesigned for 20-year life, assuming a conservativedesign modulus value of 800MPa. It was anticipatedthat a 75mm asphalt overlay would also be requiredon most sections of the stabilised pavement to meet

    the 20-year design life.

    Deflection and back analysis after stabilisation nowindicate that an asphalt overlay will not be required

  • 7/23/2019 Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation.pdf


    Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation Page 12

    during the 20-year design life for structuralpurposes.

    Surface correction with conventional asphalt or SMAmay be necessary during this period if fundingpermits, due to anticipated environmental induceddistortions.


    Curvature & deflection ratio












    34200 34400 34600 34800 35000 35200 35400 35600 35800 36000

    Chainage (m)


    SB OWP

    SB IWP

    Figure 22 Curvature

    The range of curvature values shown in Figure 22indicates that a sound modified pavement ratherthan a stiff pavement has been achieved. This is alsoverified by the deflection ratio values shown inFigure 23 which are in the range of 0.600.85mm.










    34200 34400 34600 34800 35000 35200 35400 35600 35800 36000

    Chainage (m)


    SB OWP

    SB IWP

    Figure 23 Deflection ratio results


    StrengthTransport Technology Division drilled cores tocheck wet modulus strength of the final product.








    24 March 25 March 29 March 30 March 31 March 8 April





    no lime

    Figure 24 Resilient modulus at time ofconstruction

    The insitu modulus results shown in Figure 24 revealthat:

    there is a definite increase in the soaked resilientmodulus when 3.5% bitumen is used rather than3.0% on 26 March;

    the strength is significantly decreased withoutthe addition of lime (lime was not incorporatedin one run on 31 March); and

    the actual moduli results show a high degree ofvariability but are generally well above the designsoaked modulus of 1500 MPa.


    This section addresses the issues that have arisen on

    this project. It is hoped that the lessons learned onthe New England Highway project documented herewill be utilised in the future to increase theexcellence of, and confidence in foamed bitumenstabilisation.

    8.1 Type cross section

    Stabilisation was carried out to a width of eightmetres (i.e. traffic lanes plus 0.5 metre of eachshoulder) rather than full width in an effort tooptimise the cost to the benefit gained (see Figure


    A significant difficulty associated with the use of thiscross section is that the unevenness of the remainingshoulder is reflected into the traffic lanes with aconsequent influence on road roughness. There wasalso little scope to change the longitudinal gradewith this design.

    Once one side is rehabilitated, the crown level is setand, depending on the levels of the oppositeshoulder, a 3% crossfall for the second side may notbe obtainable.

    A possible solution for future stabilisation projectsto balance the economic and roughness issues, is to

  • 7/23/2019 Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation.pdf


    Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation Page 13

    pre-mill almost the full width at the shalloweststabilisation depth less 50mm (i.e. 150mm on this

    job), grade to shape, and then nominally roll.

    The pre-milled, non-stabilised shoulder may requirethe addition of moisture during the pre-milling stagein order to achieve the optimum moisture contentat compaction. Hence, the pre-milling machine used

    should have the ability to vary the supply of wateracross the machine width.

    8.2 Shoulders

    Shoulder preparation consisted of the removal ofany signage/deliniation, the degrassing of unsealedshoulders, and the installation of temporarydelineation. If the shoulders were pre-milled (totalwith of pre-milling of 9.4 metres) the guide postswould also have to be removed and later reinstated.


    "Make up" gravel"Make up" gravel is only required where there issevere shoulder drop off, or where the road isseverely out of shape and is required to be re-constructed to a designated grade line and crosssection.

    Foamed bitumen stabilisation causes bulking ( increase in the volume of the pavement materials)and hence a slight raising of the existing surfacelevels, following the addition of the stabilising agents.Because of this expansion, makeup gravel is notusually required.

    8.4 Traffic lights

    Portable traffic lights were trialed initially but notused throughout the job because:

    the distance between signals required for thistype of work was too far; and

    the delay between signal changes was too shortto allow a vehicle to travel safely through the


    8.5 Pre-milling

    The original specification for this job specified pre-ripping of the surface using a grader in order toensure that the lime being slaked on the road didnot run off the road. During the course of thecontract, the pre-ripping was replaced with pre-milling pass using a CMI RS500 machine before thelime and bitumen were incorporated.

    It is common for a road requiring rehabilitation to

    be non-uniformly out of shape. An uneven surfaceprofile can lead to pockets of unstabilised material

    and/or non-uniform stabilising agent incorporationand/or non uniform compacted depths.

    Pre-milling to final depth less 50mm was adopted onthe New England Highway project for the followingreasons:

    pre-milling allowed for shape correction of thepavement before the stabilising agents were


    foamed bitumen stabilisation can subsequentlybe carried out to a uniform depth below thefinal surface profile;

    the insitu moisture content could be adjusted asrequired prior to foamed bitumen stabilisation:

    the pre-milling can identify patched orextensively repaired areas that have beenpreviously treated with cement or AC/pre-mixmaterials: and

    an initial mixing of the different thicknesspavement materials takes place, thus giving auniform pavement construction.

    Pre-ripping is not recommended because the rippingproduces large chunks of material (i.e. seal, previouspatches) which tend to not get broken up in thestabilisation process. These large lumps ofunstabilised material subsequently end up in thepavement as well as on the surface, leading to adeleterious effect on surface trimming and sealpreparation. Pre-ripping does not facilitate auniform mixing of the existing pavement materials oruniform moisture distribution.

    The moisture content at the pre-milling stage doesnot need to be at or near optimum, because thebitumen foaming process adds some moisture to thepavement. The foamed bitumen also lubricates thepavement gravel making it easier to compact.


    Depth of stabilisation

    The design depth can usually be achieved with a

    tolerance of 15mm. However, the followingpracticalities should be considered:

    It is usually difficult to compact a layer depthgreater than 250mm uniformly with readilyavailable compaction equipment. With a300mm layer it is possible to get a "gradient ofcompaction" from the top to bottom if large,(i.e. greater than 18 tonne static weight)padfoot rollers are used. Care must be takento prevent the surface forming pad indentations,because they are not ideal for the bitumen seal

    and future performance.

    If the lower pavement layer consists of a coarsegravel, it is possible that the high speed foamed

  • 7/23/2019 Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation.pdf


  • 7/23/2019 Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation.pdf


    Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation Page 15

    8.10 Lime

    8.10.1Role of Lime

    Lime is believed to play the following roles in thefoamed bitumen matrix:

    1. It acts on the clay particles in the pavementcausing an ionic exchange that results in

    flocculation and agglomeration of the clay fines.

    2. It reacts with the bitumen binder to increase itsviscosity thereby increasing the stiffness of thefoamed bitumen material.

    3. The lime particles act to seed the bitumen foamin a similar way that farmers use nitric oxide toseed clouds to induce rain. That is, the smalllime particles act as nuclei that initiateprecipitation of the foam mist around the fineparticles.

    The degree of each of these effects is dependent onthe timing of the incorporation of the lime andbitumen. If the lime is added too soon, it will modifythe host material and possibly agglomerate the fines.

    If the lime is added at the same time as the bitumen,the lime will act more on the bitumen and hencegive the binder of the matrix a greater strength.

    Laboratory testing has shown that a greater strengthis achieved when the lime and bitumen areincorporated simultaneously.


    Quicklime versus hydrat ed lime

    Quicklime, rather than hydrated lime, was usedbecause quicklime is:

    more economical per tonne;

    is a denser material; and

    has as higher Calcium Oxide (CaO) content.

    These qualities of quicklime make it a more efficientand economical solution.



    Gloves and a mask should be used when samplingand weighing lime.

    8.10.4Dust and steam

    Dust is generated during the spreading of the quicklime, though much less than if hydrated lime wasspread on the road. The steam given off during theslaking process is believed to be harmless; however,traffic was stopped during slaking because of poorvisibility.

    8.11 Rework

    Ideally, the pavement should not be reworked withthe stabiliser.

    If it is subsequently found that insufficient bitumenhas been incorporated into the mix, it is not anoption to add the deficient bitumen in a further pass.Further addition of bitumen may cause bleeding as

    the fine particles have already been coated in theprevious pass, and there would be insufficient finesremaining.

    If bitumen alone is subsequently added there wouldbe insufficient fines, as the lime has already modifiedthe clay fines. Free lime and clay fines would nolonger be available.

    If rework were required, the design would have tobe revisited, possibly adding fines, to account for theeffects of the previous stabilisation (i.e. themodification of the material and altered grading

    would have to be taken into consideration).

    8.12 Foamed bitumen stabiliser


    The only bitumen pipe work that is not heated onthe Wirtgen WR2500 is the flexible hose connectingthe tanker and the foamed bitumen machine. If thebitumen is not flowing due to a stoppage in thework, bitumen in this hose can cool and consequentblockages or restrictions may occur.

    It is essential that at least 200 litres of bitumen is leftin the tanker so that "contaminants" in the bottomof the tanker are not sucked through into thefoamed bitumen machine to clog its filter.

    Where the flexible hose connecting the tanker andfoamed bitumen machine joins to the tanker, theconnection point should have a "straight out"connection at the back of the tanker and not gothrough a 90 degree bend arrangement.



    Everything on the WR2500 foamed bitumenreclaimer/stabilising machine is essentially pressuredependent.

    The bitumen pump on the Wirtgen WR2500 usedon the New England Highway project is a mechanicalpaddle type pump without a pressure gaugedownstream of the filter. Because of the pressuredependency of the machine there is no way ofknowing when it is incorporating the wrong bitumencontent or no bitumen at all, into the pavement.

    The on-board computer on the WR2500 controlsthe pump rotation, although control of the pump

  • 7/23/2019 Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation.pdf


    Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation Page 16

    speed does not guarantee flow of the bitumen if thefilter is blocked.

    It is therefore critically important that a pressuregauge be installed on the downstream side of themachine's filter. This pressure gauge will give somewarning if the filter is blocked and hence thebitumen is not flowing as required.


    Another way of monitoring the amount of bitumenincorporated into the pavement is to progressivelydip the bitumen tanker every 50 metres and checkthe incorporation rate. Dipping is only practicalwhen the tanker is less than half full. If the tanker ismore than half full there is a danger that hotbitumen will splash onto the person performing thedip test. If the dip test is done on an incline, themeasurements need to be corrected for the grade.

    Dipping of the tanker at the beginning and end ofeach run only gives the total bitumen used and isobviously not a fail-safe check that bitumen is beingapplied uniformly. If restrictions do occur there isno way of isolating the problem within the run.

    The following additional precautions can be taken toensure that the bitumen is foaming and beingincorporated into the gravel as required:

    1. There should be an inspection of the test jet atthe end of the foaming chamber so that therequired expansion of the bitumen can be

    measured and half-life qualities of the bitumenare being achieved (see Figure 12).

    2. The bitumen jets must be self-cleaning andbitumen lines must be heated. The WR2500 canlift the mixing box so that the operator canindividually operate each nozzle to squirtbitumen to indicate that it is working.

    3. After bitumen has been incorporated, the gravelin the rill behind the stabiliser feels warm and"spongy" or "foamy" and the bitumen can be

    sxmelt in the gravel.4. When a sample of bitumen-stabilised material is

    picked up behind the machine it will leave blackspecks on ones palm when squeezed.

    8.13 Compaction testing

    A Proctor Test is required for every field densitytaken due to material variability. The position ofsampling for proctors (longitudinal and transverse)should be marked and then field density carried outat that position following compaction.

    Proctors should be sampled from behind thestabiliser and compacted within two hours.

    A sample must not be kept overnight beforecompaction, as the Maximum Dry Density (MDD)obtained is lower and hence relative density ishigher; this will lead to inaccuracies in the targetdensity required for compaction. This high level oftesting may require the use of a field laboratory.Ideally, the proctors should be compacted in thefield laboratory at the same time as the road is being


    Field densities must be carried out by the sandreplacement method (Q110C) as it was found thatthere was too much material variability to be able tocalibrate the nuclear density gauge.

    With a more consistent material, nuclear metretesting would be sufficient and fewer correlatingProctor tests would be required.

    Research is currently being undertaken as part of aresearch thesis to establish a superior method of

    simulating what occurs in compaction in the field.Methods being trialed include gyratory compaction,standard, modified and 75 blows. Percentage airvoids may also prove to be a useful measure ofcompaction.


    Working hours

    Work needs to start early so that at least four hourselapse from time of incorporation of the foamedbitumen until traffic is allowed back on the road.

    Available daylight (i.e. summer or winter) and trafficcontrol staffing will inevitably influence theproduction rates obtainable.

    8.15 Effects of rain after stabilisation andprior to seal

    It has been found that the foamed bitumen stabilisedpavement is extremely resilient to traffic duringand/or after rain as the surface seems to "slurry up"and seal off, thus creating a very lowporosity/impermeable pavement.

    During rain the surface can also become quite slickand slippery; thus, precautions are required withadequate traffic management considerations needingto be implemented (e.g. reduced speed, slipperyroad signs etc).

    The durability characteristics of the foamed bitumenpavement surface under adverse weather conditionscan be particularly helpful, especially when coldweather prevents the application of a seal and thepavement must be left open for a significant period.


    Roughness bonus/penalties

    Because the shoulders were not reworked andregraded, it would not have been equitable to invoke

  • 7/23/2019 Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation.pdf


    Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation Page 17

    penalties for roughness because the remainingshoulder shape influences the road shape androughness.

    Pre-milling of the shoulders would have allowedcontrol over the roads cross-sectional andlongitudinal shape; and hence the application ofroughness penalties/bonuses could then be applied.

    8.17 Bitumen sealing

    Two hundred metres of unsealed pavement shouldbe left between the area being worked on and thenew seal so that traffic does not damage the freshseal.

    It has been noted that the completed foamedbitumen stabilised pavement is impervious and hencethere is little, or no, penetration of the initial sealand this allows a reduction in the application rate ofthe seal.

    There were some problems with seal adhesion onthe road under turning traffic. This will becombated in some locations by providing a thinasphalt overlay.

    Minimal degradation of the pavement occurs evenwhen it is exposed to adverse weather conditions.

    There is no embedment of aggregate and no flushingin the outer wheel path as would normally beexpected.

    A slurry seal is commonly used on foamed bitumen

    stabilised pavements in South Africa.

    It is suggested that the contract documents specifythat the contractor is responsible for maintenance ofthe road for two days after all results are presented,or until the road is sealed.


    The use of foamed bitumen is growing in popularityand general acceptance both in Queensland andthroughout the world as a result of recent research

    and extensive trials.

    Rehabilitation using foamed bitumen has proved tobe successful because of its ease and speed ofconstruction, its compatibility with a wide range ofaggregate types and its relative immunity to theeffects of weather. There are now well developedprocedures for the design of foamed bitumenstabilisation which should be followed..

    Foamed bitumen has the potential to be usedthroughout Queensland another useful tool for therehabilitation of heavily trafficked thin high plasticity




    Thanks to Andrew Kennedy, Warren Smith, ChrisLancaster, George Vorobieff, Helen Kendall and BobSmith for their assistance in preparing this paper.




    AustStab (1998). Guide to Stabilisation inRoadworks, Austroads, Sydney.

    2. AustStab (1998). Commentary to ModelSpecification for Insitu Stabilisation of Local

    Government Roads using Bituminous Binders.

    3. Bowering, R H & Martin, C L (1976).Performance of newly constructed full depth foamed

    bitumen pavements. Proceedings of the 8thAustralian Road Research Board Conference,held in Perth, Australia, 1976.

    4. CSIR Transportek (1998). Foamed Asphalt Mixes Mix Design and Procedure. Contract ReportCR-98/077 Dec 1998. South Africa.

    5. Lee, D Y 1981. Treating marginal aggregates andsoil with foamed asphalt. In: Proceedings of the

    Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists, Vol 50,pp 211-150.

    6. A A Louden & Partners (1994). PreliminaryDesigns for the Cunningham Highway Trial Report.South Africa.

    7. Ramanujam, J M & Fernando, D P (1997).Foamed Bitumen Recycling Initial Findings.

    8. Ramanujam, J M & Fernando, D P (1997).Foamed Bitumen Stabilisation. Main Roads

    Transport Technology Forum July 1997.

    9. Ramanujam, J M & Fernando, D P 1997. FoamBitumen Trial at Gladfield-Cunningham Highway.Proceedings of the Southern Region Symposium,Australia, 1997.

    10.Sakr, H A & Manke, P G (1985). Innovations inOklahoma foamix design procedures. Asphaltmaterials, mixes, construction and quality.Washington, DC: Transportation ResearchBoard. (Transportation Research Record; 1034),pp 26-34.

    11.Smith, W (1999). Foamed Bitumen StabilisationProject Warwick, Qld. Joint Transport SouthAustralia/AustStab Seminar 15 April 1999.

    12.Wirtgen (1996). Recycler WR2500 TechnicalSpecification. Wirgten, Germany.