Asphalt concrete is a composite material which consists of asphalt cement, voids, fine particles, sand, and coarse aggregates. Previous investigations of asphalt concrete mixtures have mainly concentrated on the macroscopic properties of the composite materials based on the assumption that the mixtures are homogeneous and isotropic. This paper applies an innovative digital image processing technique to quantify the orientations of coarse aggregate particles (greater than or equal to 2 mm) in asphalt concrete mixtures such as hot mix asphalt, stone matrix asphalt, and large stone asphalt compacted in the laboratory or field. The results indicate quantitatively that asphalt concrete specimens compacted in the field or in the laboratory with gyratory compactor have an oriented structure of aggregate particle distribution where the major cross sections of aggregate particles have the tendency to lie horizontally, and that aggregate particles are more randomly oriented in the asphalt concrete specimens compacted in the laboratory with the Marshall compactor.
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