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Mid-America Transportation Center

Impact of Truck Loading on Design and Analysis of Asphaltic Pavement Structures

Final Report
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Researchers

  • Principal Investigator: Yong Rak Kim (ykim3@unl.edu (402)472-1727)
  • Co-Principal Investigator: Yu-Ning Ge (geyun@mst.edu 573-341-7193)
  • Graduate Students
  • Yu-Ning Ge
  • Project Status
    Complete
    Sponsors & Partners
  • Mid-America Transportation Center
  • 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, but the appropriate addition of new roadway lane-miles is not expected to keep pace with the increased truck demand. Better preservation of existing highway infrastructure against the heavy load trucks is therefore necessary, and the success can be made based on the more accurate and realistic analysis of pavement structures. To this end, this study analyzes actual roadways in Nebraska and Missouri by comparing results from the newly-developed pavement design guide (i.e., the Mechanistic Empirical Pavement Design Guide: MEPDG) with the results from the purely mechanistic analysis based on the finite element method (FEM) to seek for any significance for better design and analysis of pavement structures.
    Research Objective
    This collaborative research is to seek for better understanding of the effects of heavy load trucks on the pavement performance by conducting two parallel analyses: the MEPDG, which is currently the best approach, and the purely mechanistic approach based on the 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 accomplish ultimate goals: to improve public safety and to mitigate risk which led by better-performing, longer-lasting transportation infrastructure.
    Potential Benefits
    The proposed effort will provide better understanding of the effects of heavy load trucks on the overall structural performance and life of pavements and potentially more appropriate implementation of the MEPDG into pavement designs. This type of research, if successful, can therefore advance current pavement design and analysis techniques.
    Abstract
    This collaborative research (between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Missouri University of Science and Technology) is to seek for better understanding of the effects of heavy load trucks on the pavement performance. Trucking is the most dominant component of the U.S. freight transportation and is expected to grow significantly in the future, but the appropriate addition of new roadway lane-miles is not expected to keep pace with the increased truck demand. Better preservation of existing highway infrastructure against the heavy load trucks is therefore necessary, and the success can be made based on the more accurate and realistic analysis of pavement structures. To this end, this study compares analysis results from the newly-developed pavement design guide (i.e., the Mechanistic Empirical Pavement Design Guide: MEPDG) to the results from the purely mechanistic approach based on the finite element method (FEM) particularly focusing on the impact of heavy truck loading on pavement performance. Actual roadway sections in Nebraska and in Missouri are selected and their pavement data are used for the analyses. Findings from this study are expected to produce direct insights for better implementation of the MEPDG into the design and analysis of pavements in Region 7. Furthermore, outcomes from this study will provide potential information for the next-generation MEPDG which is obviously based on more mechanistic theories. Successful accomplishments of this study can improve public safety and to mitigate risk because of better understanding of pavement systems and more appropriate structural design which can lead to longer-lasting transportation infrastructure.
    Project Amount
    $ 125,087
    Modal Orientation
  • Highways
  • Pavements
  • Structures