Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Larry E. Banta.


The strength and durability of asphalt pavement is directly affected by the characteristics of its main ingredient, mineral aggregate. Besides material strength, research has shown that mixture properties such as particle shape and mixture gradation have a significant affect on the quality of the asphalt concrete. A standard called "Superpave" has been developed which sets forth specifications for material selection and methods for measurement of aggregate properties. These standards require monitoring of aggregate properties, particularly gradation. In this dissertation, the feasibility of developing an optically based method for determining aggregate gradation was explored. The physical system primarily consists of a standard monochrome CCD video camera and a computer with a frame grabber board. Software was developed to separate touching or overlapping particles in the image, and to detect the size and shape of each particle. Correlation to estimate each particle's mass and to predict the sieving behavior for crushed limestone aggregates was developed and tested. Laboratory testing demonstrated the ability to measure gradation over a range of particle sizes from 4.75 mm to 25 mm with an accuracy of +/-3 in terms of percent-passing residual when compared with mechanical sieving.