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Mid-America Transportation Center

Truck Load Impact on Pavement - Phase III

Final Report
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Researchers

  • Principal Investigator: Yong Rak Kim (ykim3@unl.edu (402)472-1727)
  • Co-Principal Investigator: Hoki Ban (hban2@unl.edu 402-472-8068)
  • Graduate Students
  • Soohyok Im
  • Scott Sorensen
  • Project Status
    Complete
    About this Project
    Brief Project Description & Background
    Trucking is a key component of U.S. freight transportation and is expected to grow significantly in the future. Better preservation of existing roadways against heavy-load trucks is therefore necessary, and success can be achieved based on a more accurate and realistic analysis of pavement structures. To this end, a series of research efforts led by the PI was initiated in FY 2009 and continued in FY 2010 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 loads on pavement damage. Analysis results of the two approaches during FY 2009 and FY 2010 clearly demonstrated that material inelasticity and realistic tire loading configuration, which are not rigorously implemented in the current MEPDG, can mislead predictions of pavement rutting. Further investigations of pavement responses between two methods need to be conducted to better understand the effects of truck loading on pavement damage and consequently to advance the current MEPDG system for the future pavement design-analysis tool. Phase III is therefore proposed herein to extend research efforts conducted during FYs 2009 and 2010. In Phase III, a more detailed investigation of the pavement responses between two approaches will be pursued by focusing on the fracture- (cracking) related damage behavior of pavement structure.
    Research Objective
    This research aims to provide better understanding of the effects of heavy-load trucks on pavement performance and damage 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 tool 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 the 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 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 purpose of this research is to provide better understanding of the effects of heavy-load trucks on pavement performance. Trucking is the most dominant component of 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 achieved based on a more accurate and realistic analysis of pavement structures. For a more accurate and realistic analysis of pavement structures against heavy-load trucks, a series of research efforts led by the PI was initiated in FY 2009 and continued in FY 2010 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 loads on pavement damage. The primary goal in FY 2009 was to compare characteristics of the two different approaches in predicting pavement performance. In FY 2010, based on outcomes in FY 2009, a more detailed investigation of the pavement responses between the two approaches was conducted, focusing primarily on the effects of truck-loading configurations and constitutive materials behavior on pavement structural responses such as rutting. Analysis results of the two approaches during FY 2009 and FY 2010 clearly demonstrated that material inelasticity (such as the viscoelastic nature of asphaltic materials and elasto-plastic behavior of soils) and realistic tire loading configuration, which are not rigorously implemented in the current MEPDG, can mislead predictions of pavement rutting. These misled predictions can result in significant errors in the design of pavement structure as well as in the prediction of pavement performance when the empirical damage evolution relations in the MEPDG are further incorporated. Based on the research outcomes during FY 2009 and FY 2010, we herein propose “Phase III” as an extension of this research. In Phase III, a more detailed investigation of the pavement responses between two approaches will be pursued by focusing on the fracture- (cracking) related damage behavior of pavement structure. Any significant differences between the two analyses will be considered important factors that need to be treated with more care for better implementation of the MEPDG into actual pavement designs.
    Project Amount
    $ 58,990