Traditionally, mechanical properties of asphalt concrete (AC) is evaluated through macro-scale testing. However, when aggregates are mixed with asphalt binder, it creates a thin film of 20μm to 40μm around the aggregate particles and the primary strength of AC is derived from the interaction between the binder and aggregates. Therefore, to understand the behavior of asphalt concrete it is necessary to study the binder properties in a nanoscale. Nanoindentation test has been adopted to examine the thin film material property. In a nanoindentation test, a loaded nanoindenter is used to indent the sample surface and measure the indenter displacement as a function of load. To this day, most researchers have used the Oliver-Pharr method to analyze the indentation test data and obtain Elastic modulus (E) and hardness (H) of the material. Generally, in a nanoindentation test, there is a loading and unloading phase. In an elasto-plastic material, loading phase has elastic and plastic response and unloading phase has only elastic response. In Oliver-Pharr method, elastic modulus is obtained through the slope of the unloading curve. Therefore, Oliver-Pharr method mostly applicable for the elasto-plastic metals because it does not incorporate any viscous effect. However, in case of visco-elastic material like asphalt, during the unloading phase, the slope of the unloading curve becomes negative due to the viscous flow. Therefore, using Oliver-Pharr (OP) method in this circumstances will yield an inaccurate value of modulus of elasticity. In the current study, the test data was modeled and analyzed using a well-established spring-dashpot-rigid (SDR) model for viscoelastic material to determine the elastic, plastic and viscous properties. The model assumes the indenter displacement is a function of a quadratic spring, a quadratic dashpot and a plastic rigid body. The loading phase of the nanoindentation test has three contributing parameters: elasticity (E), indentation viscosity (η) and hardness (H). During creep, only contributing parameter is indentation viscosity (η) and while unloading the contributing factors are found to be E and η. Nonlinear least square curve fitting technique was employed to model the nanoindentation test data to the SDR model to find out the contributing parameters E, η and H. In addition, the extended dwell time on the asphalt binder samples produced positive load displacement curves, which were further analyzed with Oliver-Pharr method. Comparison between two models results show traditional Oliver-Pharr model predicts the material properties 5 to 10 times lower than SDR model, as Oliver-Pharr does not consider the viscous behavior in the material.

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