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The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s40534-015-0071-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Stone matrix asphalt (SMA) is a gap-graded bituminous mixture which can be used in surface layer of high volume pavements. The mixture has higher concentrations of coarse aggregates, providing strength and rut resistance to the mixture, and higher asphalt content giving durability. There must be a proper stone-to-stone contact between the coarse aggregates of SMA, and hence aggregate gradation is an important factor in this mixture. In the current study, two aggregate gradations, with nominal maximum aggregate sizes (NMAS) 16 and 13 mm were adopted to prepare SMA mixtures and their laboratory performances were compared. Polymer-modified bitumen (PMB) was used as the binder material and no stabilising additive was used, since drain down was within permissible limits for both mixtures with PMB. Conventional cylindrical specimens were prepared in superpave gyratory compactor with bitumen contents 5.0 %, 5.5 %, 6.0 %, 6.5 % and 7.0 % by weight of aggregates, and volumetric and Marshall properties were determined. Tensile strength, behaviour to repeated loading etc. were checked for cylindrical specimens prepared at optimum bitumen content, whereas specially prepared slab specimens were used to check the rutting resistance of SMA mixtures. From the laboratory study, it was observed that, out of the two SMA mixtures, the one with NMAS 16 mm performed better compared to the other. These improved properties may be attributed towards the larger coarse aggregate sizes in the mixture.