Disk-shaped compact tension test for asphalt concrete fracture

M. P. Wagoner, W. G. Buttlar, G. H. Paulino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

276 Scopus citations


A disk-shaped compact tension (DC(T)) test has been developed as a practical method for obtaining the fracture energy of asphalt concrete. The main purpose of the development of this specimen geometry is the ability to test cylindrical cores obtained from in-place asphalt concrete pavements or gyratory-compacted specimens fabricated during the mixture design process. A suitable specimen geometry was developed using the ASTM E399 standard for compact tension testing of metals as a starting point. After finalizing the specimen geometry, a typical asphalt concrete surface mixture was tested at various temperatures and loading rates to evaluate the proposed DC(T) configuration. The variability of the fracture energy obtained from the DC(T) geometry was found to be comparable with the variability associated with other fracture tests for asphalt concrete. The ability of the test to detect changes in the fracture energy with the various testing conditions (temperature and loading rate) was the benchmark for determining the potential of using the DC(T) geometry. The test has the capability to capture the transition of asphalt concrete from a brittle material at low temperatures to a more ductile material at higher temperatures. Because testing was conducted on ungrooved specimens, special care was taken to quantify deviations of the crack path from the pure mode I crack path. An analysis of variance of test data revealed that the prototype DC(T) can detect statistical differences in fracture energy resulting for tests conducted across a useful range of test temperatures and loading rates. This specific analysis also indicated that fracture energy is not correlated to crack deviation angle. This paper also provides an overview of ongoing work integrating experimental results and observations with numerical analysis by means of a cohesive zone model tailored for asphalt concrete fracture behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-277
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Mechanics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • Asphalt concrete
  • Cohesive zone model
  • Crack deviation
  • Disk-shaped compact tension
  • Fracture energy


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