231-NBM : Nanotechnology-based bituminous materials

Technical Committee 231-NBM

General Information

Chair: Prof. Björn BIRGISSON
Deputy Chair: Dr. Lily POULIKAKOS
Activity starting in: 2008

Subject Matter

The first international workshop entitled 'Nanomodification of Cementitious Materials: Portland Cement Concrete and Asphalt Concrete' was held in Florida in August, 2007.  It was also the first workshop to discuss nanomodification of bituminous materials. This workshop was co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation, RILEM, the Defence Threat Reduction Agency, The U.S. Army, the Portland Cement Association, the Transportation Research Board, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Florida Concrete Products Association. A key outcome from the workshop was the acknowledgement that a new RILEM Technical Committee on Nanotechnology-Based Bituminous Materials was urgently needed in order to identify key material characterization and modelling issues and challenges of characterizing bituminous materials at the nano- and microstructural level.  In addition, the proposed TC will help to establish an international expert group in this important area.

The mechanical behavior of bituminous materials depends to a great extent on structural elements and phenomena which are effective on a micro- and nano-scale.  The basic concept behind nano-modification of materials is that of “bottom-up” engineering, starting with engineered modifications to the molecular structure with an aim to affect the bulk properties of the material. The nano-modification of bituminous materials has the potential to open up whole new uses and classes of bituminous materials, with wide-ranging implications for the transportation infrastructure. The ability to target material modification at the nano-structural level promises to deliver the optimization of material behavior and performance needed to significantly improve mechanical performance, durability, and sustainability. In summary, the introduction of nanotechnology into bituminous materials promises to deliver high-performance, sustainable, "designer" materials for specific applications and needs.

Due to their nature, bituminous materials are harder to study at the nano- and micro-level than many other materials.  In addition, bituminous materials may require special temperature and humidity control during specimen preparation due to the viscous nature of these materials.  The new TC will concentrate on questions and new developments governed by the need for universally applicable physically sound fundamental characterization and testing methods as well as uniform specimen preparation procedures for the large existing variety of bituminous binders and mixtures at the nano- and micro-structural level. In order to help developing new nanotechnology-based bituminous materials, a concentrated focus is needed of a RILEM Technical Committee.  The TC will be concerned with nano-engineered bituminous materials, nano-modified admixtures and modifiers, as well as the associated characterization of nanomodified bituminous materials. This TC will be specifically concerned with the identification of appropriate tools and techniques for characterizing the nano- and microstructure of bituminous materials, as well as applicable specimen preparation techniques.   

The new TC intents to evaluate the relevant state of the art and to perform interlaboratory testing activities on a voluntary basis.  The results will be published and presented in appropriate ways (if possible as recommendation) and discussed during one planned workshop (2009) and one planned International Symposium.  The new TC will serve as an encouragement and forum for coordinating research and as a guideline for individual research programs and intends to work closely together with other RILEM TC’s on bituminous materials.

Terms of reference

The new TC will be active for 5 years. In order to achieve its goals, the new TC intends to perform its work within the following task groups (TG):

TG 1 Laboratory Characterization Techniques for Bituminous Binders
Identify suitable nano- and micro-structural characterization methods and techniques for bitumen and modified bitumen.
TG 2 Laboratory Characterization Techniques for Bituminous Mastic and Mixtures
Identify suitable nano- and micro-structural characterization methods for evaluating mechanical variations within mixtures with a special emphasis on durability related changes (aging, moisture damage) and the binder-aggregate bond.
TG 3 Specimen preparation Techniques for Binders and Mixtures
Identification and evaluation of existing techniques for preparing uniform bituminous binder and mixture specimens.  It is anticipated that existing techniques from material science and chemistry may be of great interest.
TG 4 Modeling Needs and Techniques
Evaluation of key modelling needs and modelling techniques that link nano-structural characteristics to micro-structural characteristics of binders and mixtures. 
Note that the proposed TGs are subject to change and modification depending on the progress of the work

Detailed working programme

Spring 2008 Approval of new TC by TAC

Summer 2008 Kick-off meeting in Zurich during the RILEM ATB Conference and establishment of TG’s.

During 2008 Individual meetings by TG’s, finalizing proposal of working plan, preparation of workshop, evaluation of other possible synergistic activities.

Spring 2009 1st Annual meeting of new TC in Prague during NICOM 3: Discussion & approval of individual working plans, concepts and achievements, approval of workshops, evaluate date and place for the 1st Workshop, define scientific committee.

During 2009 Individual meetings by TG’s, finalizing proposal of working plan, preparation of workshop, evaluation of her synergistic activities in concrete materials, carry out workshop.

Autumn 2009 1st Workshop of new TC: Bring together experts from the bituminous binder and mixture
community along as key experts from materials science, polymer science, and surface chemistry
to define best candidate laboratory characterization techniques for binders and mixtures, along with optimal specimen preparation methods and modelling techniques for multi-scale modelling from the nano- to the micro-level.

During 2010 Individual meetings by TG’s; adjust individual work plan based on outcome from workshop (.e.g. literature reviews, material distribution for testing, testing, first evaluations)

Spring 2010 2nd Annual meeting of new TC: Discussion & approval of individual working plans, concepts and
achievements, evaluate workshop; start planning 1st Int’l Symposium (1st announcement, call for papers)

during    2011 Individual meetings by TG’s; follow individual work plan (.e.g. data evaluation, draft reports, first presentations and draft papers); organizing 1st Int’l Symposium.

Spring 2011 3st Annual meeting of new TC: Discussion of progress & achievements; planning and approval of presentations, reports and papers, evaluate & approval of individual working plans, concepts and achievements, finalize workshops; start planning 1st Int’l Symposium (acceptance of abstracts).

during    2012 Individual meetings by TG’s; follow individual work plan (.e.g. data evaluation, draft reports, first presentations and draft papers); organizing 1st Int’l Symposium.

Spring 2012 4th Annual meeting of new TC: Discussion of progress & achievements; planning and approval of presentations, papers, recommendations and reports; organizing 1st Int’l Symposium (acceptance of papers).

Spring 2013 1st Int’l Symposium

during 2013 Individual meetings by TG’s.

Autumn 20135th  Annual meeting (Concluding); final report; presentation of the results during annual RILEM meeting.

Technical environment

The new TC will have links to TC 206 Advanced Testing and Characterization of Bituminous Materials and TC 210 Cracking in Asphalt Pavements, as well as existing national and international associations (e.g. FEHRL, PIARC, ISO, ISAP, AAPT, TRB, AAPA, ARRA, AASHTO, ASTM, NAPA, CEN, EAPA, ACI, Eurobitume). There will also be links to the TRB Task Force on Nanotechnology in Concrete (AFN15T) and the ACI subcommittee on Nanotechnology of Concrete.  In this respect the new TC will continue to profit from the existing relations and to provide its contributions within this already well established international network.  The new TC will continue to attempt to incorporate more members from overseas to broaden the global platform. 
The TC fits perfectly into the RILEM’s technical program, in particular the items “Materials Characterization; Properties Evaluation and Processing; Performance and Deterioration Mechanisms; Special Construction Materials and Components; and Mechanical Performance and Fracture.”  The new TC is intended to have its annual meeting at the same place and in series with TC 206 Adv. Testing and Char. of Bit. Materials.

Expected achievements

The new TC intends to provide the following achievements:
- Report and recommendation on the results of the different TG’s.
- Papers in Materials and Structures or elsewhere on the results of the different TG’s.
- Organize one International workshop.
- Organize one major symposium.

Group of users

- Academics, material producers, road authorities, and standardization committees.
- Testing laboratories and test equipment producer.s
- Professionals and practitioners which have to solve non-routine problems.

Specific use of the results

The introduction of the most advanced visualization and measurement systems for characterizing and testing bituminous materials at the nano-scale may lead to greatly improved materials with high resistance to environmental degradation factors and superior cracking and permanent deformation performance. The 2000 U.S. Presidential Commission on Nanotechnology likened the potential impact of nanotechnology on society to that of the Industrial Revolution. The promise of environment-resistant and better performing roads is of great economic importance. Hence, the economic impact of the proposed work is high. Results will be used as basis to improve national and international standards as well as exchange of data and experience. They will be used as basis to establish a worldwide basis for further development in this field. The results will also be a good basis for education of young researchers and engineers and are therefore a good investment in the future.

Active Members

  • Prof. Gordon AIREY
  • Dr. Hussain AL-KHALID
  • Prof. Hussain U. BAHIA
  • Dr. Wojciech BAÑKOWSKI
  • MSc. Jeroen BESAMUSCA
  • Prof. Björn BIRGISSON
  • Prof. Francesco CANESTRARI
  • Dr Emmanuel CHAILLEUX
  • Dr. Andrew COLLOP
  • Mr. Prabir, Kumar DAS
  • Dr. Chantal DE LA ROCHE
  • Prof. Hervé DI BENEDETTO
  • Dr. James GRENFELL
  • Mr. Ebrahim HESAMI
  • Prof. Ilan ISHAI
  • Dr. Nicole KRINGOS
  • Ms Greet LEEGWATER
  • Dr. Xiaohu LU
  • Asa Laurell LYNE
  • Prof. Dr. Manfred N. PARTL
  • M. Jean-Pascal PLANCHE
  • Dr. Jean-Eric POIRIER
  • Mr. Tom A. SCARPAS
  • Dr. Lucia TSANTILIS
  • Dr. Martin VAN DE VEN