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Prof. Andrea Pucci and Dott. Camillo Cardelli

Title of the PhD project:
Controlled thermolysis of recycled polymeric materials for innovative and sustainable bituminous compounds for application in resilient low-noise asphalts and "warm asphalt" with high content of reclaimed asphalt pavement

Abstract of the PhD project:
Bitumen is a non-renewable raw material obtained as a residue of crude oil distillation. It is mainly used in combination with inert and filler compounds as a binder for asphalt production thanks to its excellent thermoplasticity, adhesivity, and waterproofing properties. The project aims at optimizing bitumen working conditions to promote Warm Mix Asphalt production. The reduction in the working temperature (between 120 and 130°C) is responsible for several benefits, such as an increased lifespan of the final conglomerate, a decrease in energetic consumption, and lower emission of potentially harmful gases for the environment and workers. This is obtained by partially substituting the bituminous matrix with a polymeric waste material subjected to a degradation process in controlled conditions. This should contribute to the reduction of the conglomerate viscosity. The main challenge is to guarantee the right balance between the thermo-mechanical and rheological properties of the bituminous binder.
The PhD project will be focused on the selection of recycled polymeric materials (e.g. PE, PP, PET, ELT) and the optimization of the degradation conditions by acting on some parameters such as temperature, presence of catalysts and reactive gases (O2, SOX and NOX) and the increase of the applied mechanical shear. Then, the binder will be characterized by spectroscopic (FT-IR, 1H-NMR) and thermal (TGA and DSC) techniques, chromatography (SARA analysis) and morphologic analysis (SEM, fluorescence microscopy). The mechanical (penetration, cold flexibility, and softening point) and rheological properties will be eventually determined. The best binder will be used to prepare and characterize laboratory prototype asphalts.


Oral communications at conferences

Poster communications at conferences:

Other achievements: