The present article investigates in laboratory conditions the effect of cyclic freezing and thawing (CFT) on characteristics of the neat bitumen and bitumens modified with different polymers, as well as stone mastic asphalt concretes prepared with the use of the neat and the modified bitumens. Maximal and minimal temperature in cycles of freezing and thawing (FT) is accepted equal to +20 °C and -18 ± 2 °C respectively. Characteristics of low temperature resistance of bitumens (stiffness S and m-value) have been determined on bending beam rheometer at the temperatures of -24 °C, -30 °C, and -36 °C. Strength at direct tension of the stone mastic asphalt concretes has been evaluated in the device TRAVIS (Infratest Ltd., Brackenheim, Germany) at the temperatures of 0 °C, -10 °C, -20 °C, and -30 °C. Resistance of stone mastic asphalt concretes to rutting has been determined on a Hamburg wheel tracking machine. The characteristics of the bitumens have been determined in the initial condition and after 25 and 50 cycles of FT, and the characteristics of stone mastic asphalt concretes, in the initial condition and after 50 cycles of FT. The results obtained experimentally have shown that CFT impacts essentially on the investigated characteristics of bitumens and stone mastic asphalt concretes. Modification with polymers improves the mechanical characteristics of the bitumens and decreases the effect of CFT. It is also found out that when selecting a bitumen for specific climatic conditions it is necessary to take into account both the number of cycles of FT and the characteristic low temperature.
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