Aggregate base/granular subbase quality affecting fatigue cracking of conventional flexible pavements in minnesota

Yuanjie Xiao, Erol Tutumluer, John Siekmeier

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


High quality aggregate materials are becoming increasingly scarce and expensive, and therefore optimizing the use of locally available materials is becoming an economic necessity. The research study highlighted in this paper aimed at optimizing the use of varying qualities of aggregate base/granular subbase materials found in Minnesota for achieving cost-effective conventional flexible pavement designs with satisfactory fatigue performances. The methodology consisted of establishing a comprehensive pavement structure sensitivity analysis matrix to include different pavement layer thicknesses and mechanistic material input properties for quality effects and then employing a validated nonlinear finite element program to compute asphalt tensile strains for the various sensitivity matrix variables. The contributions of the unbound aggregate base and granular subbase layers to pavement support and performance were evaluated from a mechanistic-empirical pavement design perspective by incorporating in the analyses cross-anisotropic stress-dependent layer modulus characterizations linked to two different aggregate quality levels (high and low). Aggregate base quality was found to significantly influence bottom-up fatigue cracking; whereas subbase material quality was somewhat important but not as influential as base material quality. Both initial base and subbase construction costs and rutting potential evaluation indicated that the use of marginal quality materials in either base/subbase courses could be cost-effective, depending on the actual pavement thickness and subgrade support conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication"7th RILEM International Conference on Cracking in Pavements
Subtitle of host publicationMechanisms, Modeling, Testing, Detection,Prevention and Case Histories
PublisherKluwer Academic Publishers
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9789400745650
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NameRILEM Bookseries
ISSN (Print)2211-0844
ISSN (Electronic)2211-0852

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanics of Materials


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