Suitability of microwave application to heat reclaimed asphalt and crushed aggregates as an energy efficient method in the production of half warm mix

Nieftagodien, Riyaaz (2013-03)

Thesis (MScEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The pavement construction industry aims to reduce its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by investigating various energy efficient practices. The industry has focused on reducing energy consumption by producing Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) surfacing materials that are workable at lower temperatures in relation to Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA), as a means to reduce carbon emissions. Half-Warm Foamed Bitumen Mixtures (HWF) is a relatively new material and is produced at temperatures below 100°C. This translates to large energy savings to overcome the latent heat of steam when exceeding 100°C. The characteristics of HWF mixes are a compromise between those of Foamed Bitumen Stabilised material (BSM-foam) and HMA characteristics. These include to a limited extent the improved tensile strength, particle coating and durability of HMA; and the shear strength of BSM-foam. The use of microwave technology as an efficient heating method to produce improved engineering properties of BSM-foam is proposed in this study. The benefits include energy saving due to its volumetric heating capability as well as rapid heating which improve productivity when using suitable materials. The aspect of recycling material brings forth further energy saving and emissions reduction when reusing materials. The portability of the in-plant recycling machines is an ideal candidate with logistical advantages to implement microwave generators to produce HWF mixes. This study is subdivided into four parts as it progressively investigates the potential to heat aggregates and produce HWF material. Firstly it investigates the heating potential of four aggregates, namely Hornfels, Quartzite, Eucrite, Granite and Reclaimed Asphalt (RA) at various moisture contents using a microwave apparatus. The second part discusses the thermodynamics of the preliminary investigation to provide insight into the third part, the Primary Investigation. The primary investigation evaluates the tensile strength and shear properties of two material blends by respectively implementing Indirect Tensile Strength (ITS) and monotonic triaxial tests on specimens. The two blends were a combination of RA and crushed hornfels. The fourth and final part evaluates the HWF properties in relation to those of the equivalent BSM-foam product by means of a pavement analysis. The highest laboratory production temperature achieved was depicted by the material properties, microwave power capability and production rates. This temperature was consistently recorded at 50°C which theoretically simulates an in-field production rate of approximately 25 tons per hour. ITS test results indicate 100% increase in tensile strengths and an increase in compaction density for the HWF mixes. Large reduction in moisture contents is also observed after curing in relation to BSM-foam. The benefits in improving a layer within a pavement structure have an effect on the pavement’s overall performance. This could assist in reducing the requirement for premium layers e.g. thickness of HMA within the structure, thereby further assisting energy conservation. The evaluation of the microwave heated HWF mixes can be considered economical if designed with a purpose to meet the thermal dynamic requirements of a material considering the microwaves volumetric potential.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die plaveisel konstruksie-industrie poog om hul kweekhuisgas (KHG) uitskeiding te verlaag deur verskeie energie doeltreffende metodes te ondersoek. Die industrie fokus op die vermindering van energie-verbruik deur middel van die produksie van Warm Mengsel Asfalt (WMA) oppervlak materiale wat werkbaar is in laer temperature in verhouding tot “Hete Mengsel Asfalt (HMA)” as `n metode om koolstof uitskeiding te verlaag. Half-Warm Skuim-Bitumen Mengsels (HWS) is `n relatief nuwe materiaal en word vervaardig onder 100 °C. Dit lei tot groot energie besparings en oorkom sodoende die latente hitte van stoom wanneer temperature van 100 °C oorskry word. Die karakter-eienskappe van HWS mengsels is `n kompromie tussen Skuim-Bitumen Gestabiliseerde materiaal (BSM-S) en HMA eienskappe. Dit sluit tot `n beperkte mate in die verbeterde spankrag, partikel bestryking; en die skeer krag van BSM-S. Die gebruik van mikrogolf-tegnologie as effektiewe verwarmingsmetode vir verbeterde ingenieurseienskappe van BSM-S word voorgestel in hierdie studie. Die voordele sluit in energie besparing as gevolg van die volumetriese verwarmingsvermoë sowel as snel verhitting wat produktiwiteit verbeter tydens die gebruik van gepaste materiale. Die gebruik van herwinde materiaal bring verdere energiebesparing en uitskeiding-vermindering mee. Die draagbaarheid van binne-aanleg herwinningsmasjinerie is ‘n ideale kandidate met logistieke voordele vir die installering van mikrogolf-opwekkers vir die produsering van HWS mengsels. Dié studie word onderverdeel in vier dele terwyl dit toenemend ondersoek instel na die potensiaal van hitte versameling asook die produksie van HWS stowwe. Eerstens ondersoek dit die verwarmingspotensiaal van vier versamelings naamlik horingsteen, kwartsiet, eukrite, graniet en Herwinde Asfalt (HA) teenoor verskeie vogskattings-mikrogolf aperate. Die tweede deel bespreek die termodinamika van die voorlopige ondersoek om insig te bied vir die derde deel, die primêre ondersoek. Die primêre ondersoek evalueer die rekbaarheid en skeereienskappe van twee materiaal-mengsels van ITS en monotoniese drieassige toetse onderskeidelik op verskillende monsters. Die twee mengsels was `n kombinasie van HA en gemaalde horingsteen. Die vierde en finale deel evalueer die HWS eienskappe in verhouding tot die van die ekwivalente BSM-S produk deurmiddel van `n sypad-analise. Die hoogste laboratoriumproduksie temperature wat bereik was, was uitgebeeld deur die materiaal-eienskappe, mikrogolf krag kapasiteit en produksiekoers. Hierdie temperature was deurlopend aangeteken teen 50 °C wat `n teoretiese voorstelling is van `n binneveld produksie tempo van ongeveer 25 ton per uur. ITS toets resultate wys `n 100 % verhoging in spankrag asook `n toename in kompakte vir die HWS mengsels. Groot afname in voginhoud is ook waargeneem na bewerking in verhouding tot BSM-S. Die voordeel verbonde aan die verbetering van `n lag binne `n plaveisel-struktuur, het `n impak op die plaveisel se algemene uithoubaarheid. Dit kan bydra tot `n verlaging in die vereiste binne die struktuur en verdere bydra tot energie besparing. Die evaluering van mikrogolf verhitte HWS stowwe kan as ekonomies beskou word wanneer dit doelgerig vervaardig word om te voldoen aan die termodinamika vereistes van `n materiaal, wanneer die mikrogolf volumetriese potensiaal in ag geneem word.

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