Term of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Name

Master of Science in Applied Engineering (M.S.A.E.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Electrical Engineering

Committee Chair

Junan Shen

Committee Member 1

Mike Jackson

Committee Member 2

Myung Jeong


Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic is utilized primarily in food and beverage packaging. Although a portion of waste PET is recycled, the majority of the waste is buried in landfills. Therefore, the use of ground PET particles in asphalt may provide an environmentally friendly solution for the disposal of large quantities of PET waste. This study evaluated the performance of PET as an asphalt modifier with both asphalt binder and asphalt mixture testing. The binder testing was conducted on wet process blends produced with a high shear mixer at PET contents of 5, 10, and 15 percent by weight of the binder. Dynamic Shear Rheometer (DSR) and Rotational Viscosity (RV) tests were performed on the unaged and Rolling Thin Film Oven (RTFO) aged mixtures. The mixture tests were conducted on the PET modified mixtures in both wet and dry process, and an unmodified control mixture. The wet and dry process mixtures contained 10% PET by weight of the binder. The mixture performance tests included Asphalt Pavement Analyzer (APA) rutting test, retrofitted APA Hamburg test, Indirect Tensile Strength (ITS), and Asphalt mixture Performance Tester (AMPT) dynamic modulus. The results showed: 1) the addition of PET increased the high temperature performance resulting in a bump in PG grade. Additionally, the viscosity and resulting workability of the modified binders were not adversely affected. 2) PET modified mixtures have higher maximum specific gravity and lower bulk specific gravity than the control mixture. 3) The wet process mixture exhibited better rutting resistance and a higher TSR than the control in ITS testing. 4) The dry process mixture exhibited better resistance to permanent moisture damage in APA Hamburg testing and also exhibited a higher TSR than the control in ITS testing. 5) The modified mixtures exhibited lower E* and higher phase angles than the control in AMPT modulus testing.