Reuse of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) in the full-depth recycling (FDR) process is a cost-effective and environmentally responsible method of asphalt pavement reconstruction. Although FDR has been used for several years in some locations, the effect of RAP on the mechanical properties of recycled base materials has not been well documented. The purpose of this research was to investigate the influence of RAP on the mechanical properties of recycled base materials typical of northern Utah. Two sources of RAP, two sources of base, and RAP contents of 0, 25, 50, 75, and 100 percent were utilized in a full-factorial experimental design with three replicates of each unique combination. Testing procedures consisted of material classifications, compaction tests, and evaluations of strength, stiffness, and moisture susceptibility of each material blend. The California bearing ratio (CBR) test was used to measure strength, the free-free resonant column test was used to measure stiffness, and the tube suction test (TST) was used to measure moisture susceptibility. Once all the testing was completed, a fixed effects analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed on each of the test results, or dependent variables. The independent variables were RAP content, RAP type, and base type, together with all their interactions. Results of the ANOVA were used to quantify the effects of RAP on the mechanical properties of the base materials. The data indicate that CBR values decrease as RAP content increases, with the greatest percentage reduction occurring with the addition of 25 percent RAP. For stiffness testing at the optimum moisture content determined for each blend, the general trend was a decrease in stiffness from 0 percent RAP to 25 percent RAP, followed by a steady increase in stiffness as the RAP content was increased from 25 to 100 percent. Following a 72-hr drying period at 140ºF, however, the general trend reversed; an increase in stiffness occurred as the RAP content was increased from 0 to 25 percent, and a steady decrease in stiffness was observed for RAP contents above 25 percent. The TST data suggest that additions of 25 and 50 percent RAP actually increase the moisture susceptibility of the recycled material compared to the neat base, although the blended material tested in this study was classified as non-moisture-susceptible when the RAP content was 75 percent or higher. Because of the marked impact of RAP content on the mechanical properties of recycled base materials, engineers should accurately determine asphalt layer thicknesses prior to pavement reconstruction and carefully determine the optimum blending depth for each project. While asphalt milling or base overlays may be required in some locations to avoid excessively high RAP contents, reduced blending depths may be warranted in other areas to prevent the use of low RAP contents. In summary, while the use of RAP in the FDR process is environmentally responsible and offers potentially significant cost savings, thicker pavement base layers, base stabilization, or both may be required in many instances to ensure adequate long-term pavement performance.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





reclaimed asphalt pavement, RAP, base, full-depth recycling, FDR, recycled base materials, moisture-susceptible, CBR, tube suction test, TST, free-free resonant column test