A comparative environmental impact analysis of asphalt mixtures containing Crumb Rubber and Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement using Life Cycle Assessment
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Recently, the reduction of the environmental burdens related to highway infrastructures has been in the spotlight. Within this context, the use of recycled materials in bituminous mixtures for road pavement construction and maintenance has the potential to mitigate the excessive use of non-renewable resources. Nevertheless, the material consumption is only one of the aspects that affects the sustainability of an infrastructure. Other relevant aspects related to environmental issues should be considered. The objective of this work is to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of asphalt mixtures containing crumb rubber (CR) (vulcanised or devulcanised) and reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) assuming different Degree of binder Activation (DoA) of the aged binder by means of a life cycle assessment (LCA). The results show that the small amount of CR used for bituminous mixtures application does not justify all the additional consumption of resources and emissions associated with its tr...eatment. These results are explained by the higher environmental impacts stemming from the treatment of the rubber and the higher amount of bitumen employed in the mixture. In turn, for mixtures containing RAP the analysis revealed an improvement in the score of all the environmental indicators considered.
Keywords:Life cycle assessment / Crumb rubber / devulcanisation / RAP / base course / road sustainable materials
Source:International Journal of Pavement Engineering, 10-06-2019