Engineering Transactions, 69, 1, pp. 19–42, 2021

Segmentation of Aggregate and Asphalt in Photographic Images of Pavements

Angela Marcela MEJÍA
Universidad Militar Nueva Granada

Marco Aurelio ALZATE
District University of Bogotá

Oscar Javier REYES-ORTIZ
Universidad Militar Nueva Granada

Particle size distribution of aggregate in asphalt pavements is used for determining important characteristics like stiffness, durability, fatigue resistance, etc. Unfortunately, measuring this distribution requires a sieving process that cannot be done directly on the already mixed pavement. The use of digital image processing could facilitate this measurement, for which it is important to classify aggregate from asphalt in the image. This classification is difficult even for humans and much more for classical image segmentation algorithms. In this paper, an expert committee approach was used, including classical adaptive Otsu, k-means vector quantization over a set of 8 principal components obtained from 26 features, and a Gaussian mixture model whose parameters are estimated through the expectation-maximization algorithm. A novel cellular automata approach is used to coordinate these expert opinions. Finally, a simple heuristic is used to reduce sub- and over-segmentation. The segmentation results are comparable to those obtained by a human expert, while the sieve size of the segmented images corresponds very well with that obtained from the sieving process, validating the proposed method of segmentation. The results show that with the digital imaging procedure it was possible to detect particles with a size of 100 m with 90% of success with respect to time-consuming manual techniques. In addition, with these results it is possible to establish the homogeneity of the sample and the distribution of the particles within the asphalt mixture.
Keywords: image segmentation; Gaussian mixture model; cellular automata; asphalt pavement; sieve size
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DOI: 10.24423/EngTrans.1242.20210126