A three-dimensional (3-D) finite element (FE) model was developed to predict pavement responses to vehicular loading. The model incorporates measured tire-pavement contact stresses, continuous moving wheel loading, and hot-mix asphalt (HMA) viscoelastic characteristics. The model was fine-tuned using implicit-dynamic analysis and validated using pavement response from accelerated loading. Two tire configurations (dualtire assembly and wide-base 455 tire) and three full-depth flexible pavement designs (HMA 152 mm, 254 mm, and 420 mm) were used in both FE modeling and accelerated loading tests. The predicted and calculated strain responses at the bottom of HMA were in agreement. Most important, the study shows that vertical shear strain in the upper 76 to 100 mm of the pavement surface is critical for thick pavement and is influenced by the 3-D tire-pavement contact stresses under each tire rib. However, the tensile strain at the bottom of HMA is affected mainly by the total wheel load. The vertical shear strain is responsible for near-surface fatigue cracking as well as HMA primary rutting. Top-down cracking could result from the local vertical shear strain in the upper 25 mm of the HMA where the effect of tire-pavement tangential stresses are the highest. In addition, the study concluded that wide-base tires cause higher longitudinal tensile strain at the bottom of HMA and compressive strain at the top of subgrade, where those responses are highly affected by the total wheel load. However, wide-base tires were found to cause less vertical shear strains near the surface than dual-tire assembly loading regardless of HMA thicknesses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering