The Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) uses the complex modulus to simulate the time and temperature dependency of hot-mix asphalt (HMA). To account for the time dependency of HMA, MEPDG recommends calculation of the frequency of the applied load as a function of the vehicle speed and the pavement structure. By this approach, the Odemark method of thickness equivalency is first used to transform the pavement structure into a single-layer system, and it is then assumed that the stress distribution occurs at a constant slope of 45° in the equivalent pavement structure. Concerns were raised that the current MEPDG methodology may be overestimating the frequency, which would result in underconservative distress predictions. Therefore, to evaluate the MEPDG methodology for calculation of the loading time, the results of the MEPDG procedure were compared with those of an advanced three-dimensional (3-D) finite element (FE) approach that simulates the approaching-leaving rolling wheel at a specific speed. The model developed accurately simulated actual tire rib sizes and the applicable contact pressure for each rib. In addition, laboratory-measured viscoelastic properties were incorporated into the FE model to describe the constitutive behavior of HMA. Comparison of these two methods shows that the frequencies calculated on the basis of the MEPDG procedure are greater than the ones determined by the 3-D FE method, which indicates that the loading time determined from MEPDG is not conservative. Ultimately, this would result in underestimation of the pavement response to a load and, therefore, greater errors in calibrations of the pavement response to field distress. Correction factors are thus presented to ensure the correctness of the loading time calculation in MEPDG. Adoption of the proposed factors within the MEPDG software does necessitate a recalibration of the performance models.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering