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ASPHALT PAVEMENTS

207

7.1 Introduction:

Flexible pavements consist of one or more asphalt layers and usually also a

base. Mostly the base is composed of unbound (granular) materials but also

bound bases (obtained by stabilizing the base material with e.g. cement) are

applied. In The Netherlands the asphalt layer(s) plus the (un)bound base are

normally resting on sand, either the natural sand subgrade or a constructed

sand sub-base. Figure 7.1 is an example of a flexible pavement structure for a

motorway.

50 mm porous asphalt wearing course

210 mm stone asphalt concrete,

4 layers: 3 x 50 mm + 1 x 60 mm

concrete granulate or mix granulate

Figure 7.1: Example of a flexible pavement structure for a heavily loaded

motorway.

Nowadays the design of the thickness of pavements for roads, airports,

industrial yards etc. is based on the calculation of stresses and strains,

occurring within the structure due to the traffic loadings, and the comparison

with the allowable stresses and strains. In this respect the thickness design of

a pavement is essentially the same as for e.g. a concrete beam.

Usually the linear elastic multi-layer theory is used to calculate the occurring

stresses and strains. This however implies that the actual material behavior is

simplified to a great extent because most road building materials dont behave

linear elastic (see chapter 4). Unbound materials behave strongly stress

dependent and asphalt mixes are visco-elastic materials. Nevertheless, the

assumption of linear elastic material behavior is in most cases justified and

that is certainly the case if the occurring stresses and strains in the structure

are rather limited.

Of course the traffic loading has to be known to enable the thickness design

of the pavement structure. Furthermore the elastic modulus of the various

pavement layers must be known as the amount of traffic load spreading

strongly depends on the bending stiffness of the subsequent layers. From

basic applied mechanics it is known that the bending stiffness is related to the

product E.h3, where E is the elastic modulus and h the layer thickness.

208

the Poisson ratio of the various layers is relevant.

Finally one should know whether the subsequent pavement layers are fully

bonded (which implies that the horizontal displacements just above and just

below the interface are equal) or that they can move relatively to each other in

the horizontal direction.

In this chapter it will be explained how the occurring stresses and strains in a

flexible pavement can be calculated. The mathematical backgrounds are

however not discussed as they are rather complicated. Instead use will be

made of available graphs and computer programs.

First the occurring stresses and strains in a half-space will be discussed.

Although Boussinesqs theory already has been explained in the course on

Soil Mechanics, in this course it will be demonstrated how this theory can be

applied in the structural design of earth and gravel roads.

Then the occurring stresses and strains in a two-layer system are discussed.

An asphalt pavement laid directly on top of a sand subgrade (so without a

base) is an example of a two-layer system.

Next attention is paid to three-layer systems and multi-layer systems. The

occurring stresses and strains in this type of structures can be calculated by

means of a computer program that is added to this lecture note.

Finally it is demonstrated how all this information can be used in the thickness

design of an asphalt pavement structure.

7.2

Stresses in a half-space:

When a load, uniformly distributed over a circular contact area (e.g. a truck

wheel load) is placed on a homogeneous soil then normal and shear stresses

occur at any soil element. This is schematically shown in figure 7.2.

Logically the stresses are dependent on the magnitude of the wheel load, the

radius of the circular contact area and the distance to the center of the load.

Boussinesq has developed equations to determine the vertical stress and the

radial stress on a vertical line through the load center (the shear stresses are

zero because of symmetry). These equations are:

z = p ( 1 z3 / {( a2 + z2 )1.5 })

r = ( p/2 ) {( 1 + 2 ) 2 ( 1 + ) z / [( a2 + z2 )1.5 ] + z3 / [( a2 + z3 )1.5 ]}

t = r

rz = zr = 0; rt = tr = 0; zt = tz = 0

where:

p

a

z

r

= contact pressure,

= radius of the load contact area,

= depth below the surface,

= radial distance to the load centre,

= Poissons ratio.

209

Figure 7.3 gives in a graphical way the vertical, radial, tangential and shear

stresses as a function of the depth z, the distance to the load center z and

Poissons ratio .

The use of the graphs is illustrated by means of a practical example that deals

with the evaluation of an earth road in a tropical African country. The trucks on

the road transport cacao, trees, cement etc. and in general they are

overloaded: axle loads of 150 kN frequently occur. The number of trucks is

however low, say a few trucks per day. The unpaved road has a top layer of

laterite (a red-colored tropical weathered material) and for reason of simplicity

it is assumed that this may be considered as a half-space. The question now

is whether damage will occur on this road, while it is known that the cohesion

and the angle of internal friction of the applied laterite have the following

values.

Dry season

Wet season

Cohesion c [kPa]

600

200

33

16.5

210

Assume that wide base tyres are mounted on all the truck axles; this means

that at either side of any axle there is one tyre with a load of 75 kN. It is further

assumed that the tyre pressure in all cases is 850 kPa. As stated earlier, as a

first approximation the contact pressure between the tyre and the road

surface can be taken equal to the tyre pressure. This implies that p = 850 kPa.

The radius a of the circular contact area then follows from:

a = ( 75 / [ 850 x ] ) = 0.168 m

The Poissons ratio is taken as 0.5.

211

In this specific example only the stresses in the load center (r = 0) are taken

into account.

It follows from figure 7.3 that the occurring deviatoric stress dev is greatest at

a depth of 0.168 m (z = a):

z = 0.6 x p = 510 kPa, r = t = 0.1 x p = 85 kPa, dev = z - t = 425 kPa

The Mohrs circle of occurring stresses now can be drawn, see figure 7.4. This

figure learns that in the dry season the stress circle remains very much below

Coulombs failure envelope. To a smaller extent this is also valid for the (most

critical) wet season. The conclusion from this analysis is that the laterite road

is strong enough to carry the limited number of 150 kN axle loads.

But then another transport-firm starts to use the road and that firm places

such a great amount of products on its trucks that it results in extreme heavy

axle loads of 225 kN. In such a case also the tyre pressure must increase, say

to 1275 kPa. So both the axle load and the tyre pressure increase with a

factor of 1.5. This means that the radius of the contact area remains the

same: a = 0.168 m. The occurring stresses at the depth z = 0.168 m thus also

increase with a factor of 1.5. Figure 7.4 shows that the Mohrs circle for these

occurring stresses just touches the Coulombs failure envelope for the wet

season. This means that the road immediately fails (shear failure) due to the

passage of only one such heavily overloaded truck in the wet season!

cirkels van Mohr en faalomhullenden

1200

schuifspanning [kPa]

1000

800

600

cirkel van Mohr 225 kN as

400

200

0

0

200

400

600

800

1000

1200

1400

1600

1800

2000

-200

spanning [kPa]

Figure 7.4: Mohrs circles and Coulombs failure envelopes for the laterite

road.

In The Netherlands earth and gravel roads form only a very small part of the

road network. However, still today the great majority of the world road network

(around 70%) consists of earth and gravel roads!

212

are relevant for The Netherlands. As already mentioned these structures

nearly always consist of asphalt layers and a base on top of sand (sub-base

or subgrade). In some cases a base is however not applied and the asphalt

layers are directly laid on the subgrade. In such a case a two-layer system is

present and in the next paragraph it is discussed how the occurring stresses

due to traffic loadings can be calculated in such a system.

7.3

Burmister was the first person that developed mathematical solutions for the

calculation of the stresses due to traffic loadings in a two-layer system. These

mathematical solutions are also transformed into graphs and the most

important ones are presented in the figures 7.5, 7.6 en 7.7. Figure 7.5 enables

the determination of the radial stress at the bottom of the top-layer in the load

center. The vertical stress at the top of the subgrade in the load centre can be

determined with figure 7.6. Finally figure 7.7 allows the determination of the

vertical displacement (deflection) at the pavement surface in the load center.

It is important to realize that the magnitude of the occurring traffic load

stresses is dependent on the magnitude and the geometry of the load, the

ratio of the thickness of the top-layer and the radius of the circular contact

area, and the ratio of the elastic modulus values of the top-layer and the

bottom layer (subgrade).

When using the graphs it should be realized that they are all valid for a

Poissons ratio of 0.5 for both layers and that full bond between the top-layer

and the subgrade has been assumed.

The use of the graphs is illustrated with an example for a motorway pavement

structure that consists of 300 mm asphalt (h) directly laid on the sand

subgrade. The elastic modulus E1 of the asphalt amounts 5000 MPa and the

elastic modulus E2 of the sand subgrade is 100 MPa. The pavement structure

is subjected to wheel loadings of 50 kN and the tyre pressure (contact

pressure) is 700 kPa. We want to know the radial stress at the bottom of the

asphalt top-layer in the load center as well as the vertical stress at the top of

the sand subgrade in the load center.

It can be calculated from the magnitude of the wheel load and the contact

pressure that the radius of the circular contact area a = 150 mm.

So we find:

E1 / E2 = 50, h / a = 2, p = 700 kPa.

To determine the radial stress at the bottom of the asphalt the bottom graph of

figure 7.5 is the easiest one to use. It is read from this graph:

-r / p = 1

213

Figure 7.5: Graphs for determination of the radial stress in the load center at

the bottom of the top-layer of a two-layer system (1).

214

Figure 7.6: Graph for determination of the vertical stress in the load center at

the top of the bottom layer of a two-layer system (1).

the load center at the surface of a two-layer system (1).

215

The minus sign means that the radial stress is a flexural tensile stress

because the contact pressure is a compressive stress. In the remaining part

of this calculation example tensile stresses are however given a positive sign

and compressive stresses a negative sign, which results in:

r = -1 x p = -1 x -700 = 700 kPa

It appears from figure 7.6 that:

z / p = 0.043

In this case z and p have the same sign and that means that z is a

compressive stress. This leads to:

z = 0.043 x p = 0.043 x -700 = -30 kPa

In chapter 4 it has been explained that knowledge about the fatigue behavior

of asphalt is important because a (truck) wheel load does not pass only one

time over the pavement but millions of times. It was also discussed in chapter

4 that usually the occurring strain instead of the stress is used as input in the

asphalt fatigue relationship. This implies that the occurring strain at the bottom

of the asphalt layer must be known for the determination of the allowable

number of load repetitions until fatigue damage (cracking) occurs.

This strain cannot be calculated with the equation = /E because at the

bottom of the asphalt layer there is not a one-dimensional but a threedimensional stress situation.

In the load centre at the bottom of the asphalt layer there is not only a radial

stress r but also a tangential stress t (see also figure 7.2). The vertical line

through the load center is the axis of symmetry, therefore is valid t = r and

the shear stresses are zero.

Furthermore there is a vertical stress at the bottom of the asphalt layer.

Because of the required balance of vertical stresses the vertical stress at the

bottom of the asphalt layer is equal to the vertical stress at the top of the

subgrade, and this has already been determined above.

At the bottom of the asphalt layer in the load center thus the following

stresses are present:

r = t = 700 kPa, z = -30 kPa

The radial strain at the bottom of the asphalt layer can now be calculated with

the equation:

r = [r - t - z] / E1 = [0.7 0.5 x 0.7 0.5 x (-0.03)] / 5000 = 7.3 x 10-5

Be aware of the fact that the stresses were calculated in kPa while the elastic

modulus E1 of the asphalt was given in MPa. For the calculation of the asphalt

strain all values are given in MPa.

216

To enable the calculation of the vertical strain z at the top of the subgrade the

radial stress r and the tangential stress t at that location must be known.

These stresses are however absolutely not equal to r and t at the bottom of

the asphalt layer.

Another question is whether it is also possible to calculate the stresses z, r

and t at the surface of the top-layer in the load center. This is not possible

through the given graphs but reasonable estimates can nevertheless be

made. Because of the balance of vertical stresses, the vertical stress at the

surface of the top-layer must be equal to the contact pressure, so in that point

is valid:

z = -700 kPa.

It is furthermore known that the asphalt top-layer behaves as a bending beam

under the wheel loading and that its neutral line will be somewhat below the

middle of the top-layer. When the ratio E1 / E2 increases the neutral line

moves into the direction of the middle of the top-layer. The horizontal stresses

at the top of the layer therefore will be about equal to the horizontal stresses

at the bottom of the layer. The sign is however opposite as through the

bending flexural compressive stresses are present in the upper part of the

asphalt layer and flexural tensile stresses in the lower part. At the surface of

the top-layer in the load center the stresses are thus:

r = t -700 kPa

Figure 7.8 presents the radial stresses r in a two-layer system. The figure

makes clear that the top-layer indeed acts as a bending beam: in the case of

a ratio E1 / E2 of 10 and higher the neutral line is about in the middle of the

top-layer.

Figure 7.8: Radial stresses in the load center as a function of depth in a twolayer system (1).

217

7.4

systems:

Graphs are also available to determine the occurring stresses, strains and

displacements in three-layer systems. The use of these graphs is however

rather complicated and therefore no attention is given to them. Another

reason to do so is that the analyses can also be done fast and easy with one

of the available linear-elastic multi-layer computer programs. In this paragraph

therefore the computer program WESLEA is discussed that is added to these

lecture notes on a CD-ROM. Appendix I gives a short description how the

input for this program has to be prepared and how the output is obtained. The

use of the WESLEA program is further explained here by discussing a small

example problem.

The example problem concerns the calculation, for the three-layer system

depicted in figure 7.9, of the stresses and strains at the bottom of the asphalt

layer and at the top of the subgrade, in both cases in the load centre. The

required input parameters are all given in figure 7.9. Full bond between the

various layers is assumed. The location at the bottom of the asphalt layer is

referred to as position 1 and the location at the top of the subgrade as

position 2.

After having prepared the input as explained in Appendix I and having done

the calculation, the results given in table 7.1 are obtained.

Remark! The sign convention used in WESLEA is different from the one used

until now. WESLEA uses the so-called soil mechanics convention; in this

convention a tensile stress or tensile strain gets the sign, while a

compressive stress or compressive strain gets the + sign.

50 kN wheel load

tyre pressure 700 kPa

200 mm asphalt, E = 5000 MPa, = 0.35

r, r

z, z

Figure 7.9: Input for the calculation example with WESLEA.

218

Normal strain [m/m]

Displacement [m]

Normal strain [m/m]

Displacement [m]

Position 1

X

-798.02

-112.02

Y

-798.02

-112.02

Z

118.31

135.38

240.54

Position 2

X

-1.96

-81.64

Y

-1.96

-81.64

Z

31.35

218.14

185.07

Table 7.1: The stresses and strains calculated with WESLEA in the two

positions indicated in figure 7.9.

In figure 7.9 the stress and the strain at the bottom of the asphalt layer are

indicated as r and r respectively, while WESLEA gives the stresses in

Cartesian coordinates. However, for an axial symmetric load (such as the one

in this example) in the vertical line through the load center is valid: r = t = x

= y.

So it is very easy to calculate the occurring stresses and strains in any point

of a certain asphalt pavement structure by means of the WESLEA program.

The obtained output allows a pavement life analysis that is discussed in the

following paragraph.

7.5

7.5.1 Introduction:

In this paragraph the principles of the structural design of an asphalt

pavement and the determination of its life are discussed. Prior to that however

attention is paid to the various types of damage that may occur on asphalt

pavements and that in principle should be taken into account in the structural

design. It will appear from the overview of damage types that in this course

only a limited number of damage types is addressed and that only a limited

number of design criteria is taken into account.

7.5.2 Damage types on asphalt roads and design criteria to be used:

When determining the required thickness of an asphalt pavement structure

two design criteria should be taken into account, i.e. cracking and permanent

deformation. It already has been explained that horizontal tensile stresses and

horizontal tensile strains occur at the bottom of an asphalt layer, laid directly

on the subgrade or on an unbound base, due to bending of the structure

under the traffic load. After many load repetitions these flexural tensile

stresses/strains may lead to fatigue cracking. This fatigue cracking starts at

the bottom of the asphalt layer, gradually propagates upward and finally

219

appears at the road surface as so-called alligator cracking in the wheel tracks.

Figure 7.10 shows an example of this particular type of cracking. An asphalt

pavement structure must be designed in such a way that this type of serious

damage does not occur too early.

Besides of alligator cracking in the wheel tracks also frequently longitudinal

cracks are observed. These longitudinal cracks mostly penetrate to a depth of

not more than about 50 mm. The cause and propagation of this type of

cracking is not yet fully understood. It is however clear that they occur due to

the complex distribution of stresses in the contact area between the tyre and

the road surface. In the contact area not only vertical stresses occur but also

horizontal shear stresses. In regular asphalt pavement design calculations

these shear stresses are however not taken into account (in the proceeding

examples also a uniform vertical contact pressure over a circular contact area

was assumed) and by consequence the development of this surface cracking

cannot be analyzed. The propagation of these surface cracks is most

probably the result of traffic and climatic influences. To a great extent surface

cracking can be prevented by a correct asphalt mix composition. This course

220

is not the right place to extensively discuss the occurrence and propagation of

surface cracking; reference is made to the course CT4860 Structural design

of pavements. One should however realize that surface cracking is a major

reason for maintenance of asphalt wearing courses.

Asphalt layers are not only applied on an unbound base but also frequently on

a cement-bound base. For instance, on Amsterdam Airport Schiphol the

pavement structure on a runway consists of 200 mm polymer-modified

asphalt layers on 600 mm lean concrete base. Although a linear elastic multilayer calculation reveals that no tensile stresses or tensile strains occur at the

bottom of the asphalt layer, there are however cracks present in the asphalt.

The causes of these cracks are the following.

Each cement-bound material will try to shrink due to the hardening process

and due to a decrease of temperature. The shrinkage is however to a great

extent obstructed because of the friction with the underlying layer and this

results in tensile stresses in the cement-bound material. If these tensile

stresses become too great (shrinkage) cracks occur. This type of cracking is

thus strongly dependent on the climatic conditions and on the properties of

the cement-bound material. The shrinkage cracks remain not exclusively

within the cement-bound base but they want to propagate into the bonded

asphalt layers. This mechanism is schematically shown in figure 7.11a.

The material properties of the cement-bound base exhibit quite some variation

and as a result also the distance between the (transverse) cracks varies. The

greater the strength of the cement-bound base material, the greater both the

crack distance and the crack width and the movements around the crack due

to temperature variations. So the greater the crack distance the greater the

movements at the crack and the more heavily loaded the bonded asphalt.

asphalt

originally

closed crack

opens

because of

shrinkage

cement-bound

base

base results in tensile stresses

in the bonded asphalt layer

result in great shear stresses

in the asphalt layer

Figure 7.11: Propagation of cracks from the cement-bound base into the

bonded asphalt layer.

The effects of the temperature movements can be reduced by regulation of

the crack distance in the cement-bound base. On Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

this has been done by creating notches, to a depth of 1/3 of the base

221

thickness, at regular distances (about 7 m). Through these notches the base

weakens to such an extent that the shrinkage cracks will occur there. The

limited crack distance results in smaller movements around the crack and as

a result the asphalt layer is less heavily loaded. The principle of a notch is

similar to that of a contraction joint in plain concrete pavements (see chapter

5).

But even a narrow crack always is a weak point in the pavement structure. At

such a crack bending moments cannot be transmitted, load transfer is only

possible through cross-forces. As indicated in figure 7.11b, during the

passage of a wheel load not only substantial shear stresses occur in the

asphalt layer above the crack but also an extra large bending moment, and as

a result the crack wants to propagate from the base into the asphalt layer. The

asphalt layer also has to be designed to resist this type of cracking. This

subject is however outside the scope of this course; reference is made to the

course CT4860 Structural design of pavements.

Permanent deformation of the various pavement layers due to the repeated

traffic loadings is another important type of damage that should be taken into

account in the structural pavement design. Such permanent deformations

manifest themselves as rutting in the wheel tracks. Figure 7.12 is an example

of this type of damage.

The rutting observed at the road surface results from visco-plastic

deformations of the asphalt layers and from plastic deformations of the

222

deformations already have been discussed.

It is important to design the asphalt pavement structure in such a way that in

all the layers the occurring stress levels remain sufficiently low to prevent

these permanent deformations. The various layers also should possess

sufficient resistance against permanent deformation. This is directly related

with the choice of the type of asphalt mix, the type of base and sub-base

material and the compaction. In this course not much attention is given to the

permanent deformation of the asphalt layers and the unbound base and subbase. Reference is made to the courses CT4850 Road building materials

and CT4860 Structural design of pavements.

In this course only some rules of thumb are given and used to limit the

permanent deformation in the subgrade. In chapter 4 the subgrade criterion

already has been introduced. The meaning of that criterion is that the

permanent deformation in the subgrade remains limited if the vertical elastic

deformation at the top of the subgrade, which is calculated with WESLEA,

remains below a certain value. In chapter 4 it also has been explained how,

according to the Shell method, the permanent deformation in the asphalt

layers can be calculated.

All the above-mentioned implies that in this course only attention is paid to the

structural design of asphalt pavements laid directly on the subgrade or with an

unbound (sub-)base. Furthermore, the determination of the layer thicknesses

is only based on fatigue of the asphalt layer and permanent deformation

within the subgrade. The relevant design parameters are thus the occurring

horizontal strain at the bottom of the asphalt layer and the vertical

compressive strain at the top of the subgrade.

A last important type of damage is raveling that frequently occurs in practice,

especially on porous asphalt (zoac) wearing courses. Raveling is the loss of

aggregate at the road surface, resulting in a raw appearance of it. The

occurring traffic loading, the climate and the properties of the wearing course

asphalt material are the most important factors influencing raveling. Raveling

is one of the most important causes of maintenance on motorways. Also this

type of damage is not further discussed here, reference again is made to the

courses CT4850 Road building materials and CT4860 Structural design of

pavements.

7.5.3 Steps in the structural design of an asphalt pavement:

For the structural design of an asphalt pavement the following steps have to

be made.

Traffic loading

A traffic forecast is the basis for the determination of the traffic loading. This

traffic forecast should not only describe the growth of the total amount of

traffic but also the share of the truck traffic. In chapter 4, table 4.3 is given

how the traffic class is determined in The Netherlands; this information is

relevant for the structural design of an asphalt pavement.

The (truck) traffic loading is usually given as an axle load frequency

distribution (see chapter 3, figure 3.3). On the basis of this frequency

223

calculated. The magnitude of the standard axle load is normally taken as 80

or 100 kN. In The Netherlands mostly a standard axle load of 100 kN is used

in the structural design of an asphalt pavement.

The transformation of the axle load frequency distribution into a number of

equivalent standard axle loads is done by means of the load equivalency

equation that already has been discussed in chapter 3, paragraph 3.4. For

reasons of simplicity the exponent m in the equivalency equation is usually

assigned the value of 4.

After having calculated the cumulative number of equivalent standard axle

loads, it must be determined how the axle load is transmitted to the pavement.

Usually dual tyre wheel configurations are taken into account. This means that

there are two tyres at either side of the axle. In such a dual tyre wheel the

center-to-center distance between the two tyres is some 320 mm.

Furthermore a tyre pressure of 700 kPa is normally taken into account.

If one wants to analyze the effects of wide base (super single) tyres (only

one wide tyre at each side of the axle), a tyre pressure of 850 kPa should be

used.

Material data

The strength and stiffness characteristics of the various layers have to be

known to enable a structural design calculation with the WESLEA multi-layer

computer program. At least the following data has to be available:

- the CBR-value of the subgrade,

- the composition of the applied asphalt mixes,

- the representative (most frequently occurring) speed of the trucks,

- the temperature (in The Netherlands an asphalt temperature of 200C is

normally used for the structural design of asphalt pavements).

The rules of thumb given in chapter 4, paragraph 4.2 then allow to reasonably

estimate the E-value of the subgrade as well as the E-value of the unbound

(sub-)base.

The stiffness of the bitumen and next the stiffness of the asphalt mix can be

determined on the basis of the mix composition by mass, the applied type of

bitumen, the asphalt temperature and the loading time. The information given

in chapter 4, paragraph 4.11.2 enables to determine the asphalt fatigue

relationship as well as the healing factor of the asphalt.

The obtained E-values should always be checked on consistency. For

instance, it is impossible that an asphalt mix has an E-value that is greater

than that of cement concrete, quality B45.

Structural design calculations

The occurring strain at the bottom of the asphalt layer and the vertical

compressive strain at the top of the subgrade can now be calculated by

means of WESLEA.

In the calculations you may assume that all the pavement layers are fully

bonded to each other.

Although the Poissons ratio is dependent on a number of factors, the

following guidelines can be given for it:

- asphalt at moderate temperatures and loading times, sand, nonsaturated clay, unbound sub-base and base materials: 0.35,

224

0.5,

cement-bound base materials: 0.2,

concrete: 0.15.

In the calculations much care must be taken that the correct units are used

because nonsense in = nonsense out.

Also realistic layer thicknesses should be used! The minimum thickness of a

layer is about 2.5 to 3 times the maximum grain size.

Probably a number of calculations, with different layer thicknesses, are

required to obtain the desired pavement life. Adapting the layer thicknesses

has to be done in a systematic way and care must be taken that the stresses

and strains are calculated at the correct positions within the (modified)

pavement structure. It is recalled that WESLEA uses the soil mechanics sign

convention, so the sign means tension and the + sign means compression.

Pavement life

The fatigue life of the asphalt can be determined on the basis of the

calculated strain at the bottom of the asphalt layer. The fatigue life resulting

from the (laboratory) fatigue relationship has to be multiplied with the factors

for healing (see chapter 4, paragraph 4.11.2) and for lateral wander (as stated

earlier, a value of 2.5 is a reasonable assumption for the lateral wander

factor).

The pavement life based on the subgrade criterion is found by inputting the

calculated vertical compressive strain in the subgrade criterion given in

chapter 4, paragraph 4.3. This found pavement life of course should not be

multiplied with the healing factor and the lateral wander factor (you should be

able to explain why this should not be done).

7.6

References:

1.

Effects of traffic loadings on pavement structures (in German)

Forschungsarbeiten aus dem Strassenwesen. Kirschbaum Verlag;

Bonn/Bad Godesberg 1968

225

APPENDIX I

MANUAL FOR THE PROGRAM WESLEA

226

Introduction:

The WESLEA program has been developed for the American Waterways

Experiment Station (WES) of the US Army Corps of Engineers. It is a linear

elastic multi-layer program that enables the analysis of a pavement structure

consisting of maximum 5 layers (the subgrade counts as one layer). The

number of circular loads is maximum 20. This is a very useful option because

it enables to analyze the effects of complex load systems such as the landing

gears of a Boeing 747 aircraft.

There are two options with respect to the bond between the layers:

a. the subsequent layers are fully bonded to each other (this is the most

commonly used option),

b. the subsequent layers are not bonded to each other, so they can slip

along each other without any friction (this option is only used for very

special cases).

The starting point in the following description of the input and output of the

program is the example given in figure 7.9.

The input:

On the main screen you first click units and then SI.

You have to realize that the WESLEA program has originally been developed

for the American system of units. Your input in SI-units therefore is converted

into American units and then of course some round-off errors occur. Also in

the output you will notice this.

Next you click input and then structure. You input that the number of

layers is 3.

The next step is the input of the properties of the various pavement layers. As

material for layer 1 you chose asphalt and for the elastic modulus you fill in

5000 MPa. As material for the layers 2 and 3 you chose other. The reason

for doing so is that the choice for GB (= granular base) yields a confrontation

with a maximum value for the elastic modulus that is hidden in the program.

This limitation is by-passed through the choice of the material other. Next

you input the values for the elastic modulus of the unbound base and the

subgrade in MPa. Also the values of the Poissons ratio have to be input but

you will observe that the value 0.35 is set as default value.

Next the thickness (in cm!) of the asphalt layer and the base has to be input.

Then you have to input whether the asphalt layer is fully bonded to the base

and whether the base is fully bonded to the subgrade. As stated earlier this is

a very reasonable assumption for most of the cases.

You now click the button ok.

You click again on input and then on loads.

There is the possibility to analyze various load configurations, which are:

a. a single axle with dual tyre wheels,

b. a tandem axle with dual tyre wheels,

c. a triple axle with dual tyre wheels,

d. a single axle with wide base tyre wheels (steer),

227

Because we want to simulate the effects of a wide base tyre we click steer.

You may wonder if the combined effect of both wide base tyres (at both sides

of the axle) is now analyzed. This is not the case, only the effects of one

wheel at one side of the axle are analyzed; this is also the case for the other

axle configurations. The reason to do so is that the wheel at the other side of

the axle has hardly any effect on the stresses and strains under the wheel

under consideration.

The program now asks for the number of load repetitions. Here you can

input any number. The program only uses this number of load repetitions if

you want to analyze the standard locations (see next step evaluation). In

the program fatigue relations for the asphalt and the subgrade have been built

in that are based on the greatest occurring horizontal tensile strain in the

asphalt and the greatest occurring vertical compressive strain in the

subgrade. These relations are however not universal applicable. When using

the standard locations the pavement life is calculated on the basis of these

calculated strain values.

Because as a matter of fact we are interested in such a fatigue calculation we

input as number of load repetitions the expected number of repetitions of the

considered wheel load, e.g. 1000000.

For load (wheel load) you fill in 50 kN and for pressure (tyre pressure) 700

kPa.

You now click the ok button.

Next you click again input and then evaluation. You see a grey screen with

a v on standard locations. You observe that there are two locations. By

means of clicking on next location or previous location you can see which

locations they are. The first location appears to be in the load center at the

bottom of the asphalt layer (z = 19.99 cm) and the second location is also in

the load center at the top of layer 3, the subgrade (z = 49.99 cm). Of course it

is strange that the program yields the depth z = 49.99 cm while the top of the

subgrade is on the depth z = 50 cm, but this is the result of rounding-offs.

Therefore check whether the locations are in the correct layer.

If you remove the v on standard locations you can input your own locations

but the program then does not perform a pavement life calculation.

If you have completed this part of the input you click on ok.

The output:

You have prepared all the required input and now you click on the main

screen first output and then view output. You now see a grey table

containing the stresses, strains and displacements that already have been

given in table 7.1. You also get the pavement life based on fatigue (fatigue

of the asphalt) and rutting (permanent deformation of the subgrade).

However, the program calculates these pavement lifes on the basis of the

greatest horizontal tensile strain and the vertical compressive strain that have

been calculated. So you have to be very careful in interpreting these numbers!

For example, the rutting life is completely irrelevant for position 1, at the

bottom of the asphalt, and the fatigue life is completely irrelevant for position

3, the top of the subgrade.

228

The calculated damage factor is the ratio between the applied (the

occurring) and the allowable number of load repetitions.

Finally you can have a look to the fatigue relationship for the asphalt

(fatigue) and the criterion for the allowable permanent deformation in the

subgrade (rutting) by means of the button view transferfunctions. It is

stressed again that these functions are not universal applicable. The relations

that normally used in The Netherlands already have been given in chapter 4.

Final remark:

The WESLEA program generates numerical solutions. The accuracy of the

obtained calculation results depends among other things on the magnitude of

the integration steps. In this calculation process errors may be introduced.

Simple checks are possible to investigate whether these errors have occurred

and whether the program has functioned well. This is however beyond the

scope of this course; reference is made to the course CT4860 Structural

design of pavements. In that course also other programs will be discussed.

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