The oxidation of bitumen witnessed in-situ by infrared spectroscopy

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During the production and recycling of asphalt concrete, bitumen in contact with inorganic particles is exposed to air at high temperatures. As a result an oxidation of bitumen, also known as aging, occurs. The reaction between bitumen and air at 163 °C was studied insitu with and without the presence of inorganic impurities by means of fourier transform infrared spectroscopy in the attenuated reflectance mode. This oxidation was discovered to be a step-wise reaction facilitated by the oxidation of thiols and creation of peroxides within the system. The rate of reaction was demonstrated to depend on the type of impurity present, of which iron (III) chloride was the strongest catalyst. It was further demonstrated that the oxidation reaction is inhibited by the adsorption of thiol species present in the system on copper particles. Combining copper with the iron (III) chloride-containing system also resulted in the inhibition of signal increase in the sulfoxide region of the spectra. The results of this preliminary research on the bitumen oxidation reaction presented are proposed for further research regarding control of aging of asphalt concrete, especially during the recycling works.


Original languageEnglish
Article number189
Number of pages17
JournalMaterials and structures
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Asphalt, ATR, Bitumen, FT-IR, Oxidation, Recycling

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ID: 14449419