Low-temperature cracking is a major form of distress in asphalt concrete pavements located in cold regions. A review of the background and fundamental aspects of the Acoustic Emission (AE) based approach with a brief overview of its application to estimate low-temperature performance of unaged, short-term, and long-term aged binders as well as asphalt concrete materials are presented. A comparison of the cracking temperatures estimated using the traditional rheological-based method and the embrittlement temperatures obtained using the proposed AE-based method is presented and discussed. In addition, embrittlement temperatures of asphalt concrete samples extracted from field cores are also presented and discussed. Results indicate that the AE-based method is faster and more accurate than the traditionally used methods. Moreover, results suggest that AE could be considered as a viable rapid, inexpensive, yet precise characterization approach for pavement materials, which could be effectively used towards enhancing pavement sustainability and resiliency.

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