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Mid-America Transportation Center

Impact of Truck Loading on Design and Analysis of Asphaltic Pavement Structures - Phase II

Final Report
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Researchers

  • Principal Investigator: Yong Rak Kim (ykim3@unl.edu (402)472-1727)
  • Graduate Students
  • Soohyok Im
  • Pravat Karki
  • Project Status
    Complete
    About this Project
    Brief Project Description & Background
    Trucking is the most dominant component of the U.S. freight transportation and is expected to grow significantly in the future. Better preservation of existing roadways against heavy-load trucks is therefore crucial, and success can be made based on the more accurate and realistic analysis of pavement structures. To this end, a research project led by the PI was initiated in FY 2009 to investigate pavement performance predictions from both the newly-released "Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG)" approach and the "purely mechanistic approach based on the Finite Element Method (FEM)" particularly focusing on the impact of heavy truck loading on pavement damage. Preliminary outcomes and significant findings during the FY 2009 necessitate this effort being continued, and this "Phase II" research with extended work scope is herein proposed. In Phase II, the effects of truck-loading configurations and constitutive materials behavior on actual pavement structural responses will be particularly focused.
    Research Objective
    The aim of this research is to seek for better understanding of the effects of heavy-load trucks on pavement performance by conducting two parallel analyses: the MEPDG, which is currently the best approach, and the purely mechanistic approach based on the 3-dimensional FEM, which is a potential design guide method for next generations. More specifically, it is intended to use findings from this study to better implement the MEPDG into actual pavement designs in Region 7 to meet ultimate goals: to improve public safety and to mitigate risk which led by better-performing, longer-lasting transportation infrastructure such as roadways.
    Potential Benefits
    The proposed effort will provide a better understanding of the effects of heavy-load trucks on the overall structural performance and life of pavements in Region 7. In addition, more appropriate use and future advancements of the current MEPDG for pavement analysis and design can be achieved based on proper incorporation with mechanistic approaches.
    Abstract
    The aim of this research is to seek for better understanding of the effects of heavy-load trucks on pavement performance. Trucking is the most dominant component of the U.S. freight transportation and is expected to grow significantly in the future. Better preservation of existing highway infrastructure against heavy-load trucks is therefore necessary, and success can be made based on the more accurate and realistic analysis of pavement structures. For a more accurate and realistic analysis of pavement structures against heavy-load trucks, a research project led by the PI was initiated in FY 2009 to investigate pavement performance predictions from both the newly-released "Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG)" approach and the purely mechanistic approach based on the "Finite Element Method (FEM)" particularly focusing on the impact of heavy truck loading on pavement damage. The primary intention was to identify any drawbacks of the MEPDG by comparing the MEPDG approach to the purely mechanistic and more realistic FEM approach so as to enhance the predicting power of the MEPDG to the heavy truck loading on pavement structures through a systematic coordination. Analysis results between two approaches during the FY 2009 clearly demonstrated that material inelasticity (such as the viscoelastic nature of asphaltic materials) and irregular pavement geometry, which are not rigorously implemented in the current MEPDG, can mislead predictions of pavement responses. These misled predictions will result in significant errors in predicting the life of pavements when the empirical damage evolution relations in the MEPDG are further incorporated. Based on the preliminary outcomes during FY 2009, we herein propose "Phase II" as an extension of this research. In Phase II, a more detailed investigation of the pavement responses between two approaches will be pursued and will particularly focus on the effects of truck-loading configurations and constitutive materials behavior on pavement structural responses. Any significant differences between two analyses will be considered important factors which need to be treated with more care for better implementation of the MEPDG into actual pavement designs.
    Project Amount
    $ 60,952
    Modal Orientation
  • Pavements
  • Structures
  • Technology Transfer Activities
    The theme of MATC is improving safety and minimizing risk associated with increasing multi-modal freight movement on Region 7's surface transportation system. Since this study aims to investigate the truck load impact on pavement damage and performance life of actual highways in Region 7 by employing the (currently-best) MEPDG method and the (next-generation) mechanistic design-analysis approach, successful accomplishments of this study will eventually contribute to improving public safety and mitigating risk due to the better understanding of pavement infrastructure and its performance behavior. Consequently, this research is closely relevant to the core theme of MATC.