Should large amount or small amount of air voids be designed in bituminous pavement?

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If the presence of air voids is too high, it leads to an increase of permeability of bituminous pavement. This allows the frequent circulation of air and water within the pavement structure and results in premature hardening and weathering of asphalt. Therefore, too high an air void content poses detrimental effect to the durability of the bituminous pavement.


If the presence of air voids is too low, flushing, bleeding and loss of stability may result under the effect of prolonged traffic loads because of the rearrangement of particles by compaction. Aggregates may become degraded by traffic loads leading to instability and flushing for such a low air void content. The air void space can be increased by adding more course or fine aggregates to the asphalt mix. Alternatively, if asphalt content is above normal level, it can be reduced to increase air voids.

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

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