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Analysis Software

(WinPAS) Guide

Based on the 1993 AASHTO Guide for the

Design of Pavement Structures

WinPAS12 (SW03)

Software (WinPAS) Guide

Based on the 1993 AASHTO Guide for the

Design of Pavement Structures

are competent to evaluate the significance and limitations of the information provided

herein, and who will accept total responsibility for the application of this information. The

American Concrete Pavement Association DISCLAIMS any and all RESPONSIBILITY

and LIABILITY for the accuracy of and the application of the information contained in

this publication to the full extent permitted by law.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without

permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief

passages in a review written for inclusion in a magazine or newspaper.

concrete pavement contractors, cement companies,

equipment and materials manufacturers and suppliers.

We are organized to address common needs, solve other

problems, and accomplish goals related to research,

promotion, and advancing best practices for design and

construction of concrete pavements.

ii | P a g e

"Guide for the Design of Pavement Structures"

This publication is to help familiarize

engineers on the basics of concrete

pavement design. It gives the

background information that is essential

to effectively design concrete

pavements and overlays using the

"AASHTO Guide for the Design of

Pavement Structures - 1993"1 design

procedure via the ACPA's WinPAS

software. Still, ACPA encourages every

pavement design engineer to purchase

a copy of the complete 93 AASHTO

Design Guide for a complete reference.

This publication is broken down into four

chapters. The first two describe

concrete pavement thickness design

and overlay design according to Parts II

and III (Chapter 5) of the 93 AASHTO

Design Guide. Part II is entitled

"Pavement Design Procedures for New

Construction or Reconstruction," and

Chapter 5 of Part III is entitled

"Rehabilitation Methods with Overlays."1

The third chapter of this publication

describes life-cycle costing procedures

for a project level analysis. Life-cycle

costing is a procedure that economically

compares two competing design

alternatives considering all significant

costs over the economic life of each

alternative, expressed in equivalent

dollars. It includes initial cost,

rehabilitation costs, maintenance and

operation costs, user costs and residual

value.

Pavement Structures - 1993

The final chapter of this publication is

the users guide for the WinPAS

software. The software is capable of

conducting concrete and asphalt

pavement designs and analyses, traffic

conversions, life cycle cost analyses,

and overlay designs and analyses.

It is important to note that thickness

design is only one aspect of good

concrete pavement design. Another is

jointing. Proper jointing is essential to

ensure that a concrete pavement will

perform for its intended design life.

Unfortunately, it is often overlooked. For

more information on jointing of concrete

pavements, please refer to other ACPA

publications, including:

for Concrete Highways (TB010P)

Intersection Joint Layout

(IS006P)

P a g e | iii

for Concrete Streets (IS061P)

Concrete Pavement Field

Reference: Pre-Paving (EB237P)

Concrete Pavement Field

Reference: Paving (EB238P)

Concrete Intersections: A Guide

for Design and Construction

(TB019P)

iv | P a g e

Table of Contents

Introduction .................................................................................................................. 1

Concrete Pavement Basics ...................................................................................... 1

AASHO Road Test....................................................................................................... 3

AASHTO Rigid Pavement Design Equation ................................................................ 6

Thickness ................................................................................................................. 6

Serviceability ............................................................................................................ 7

Environmental Effects........................................................................................... 8

Traffic (ESALs) ......................................................................................................... 9

Rigid versus Flexible ESALs................................................................................. 9

Load Equivalency Factors .................................................................................. 10

Determining Load Equivalency Factors .............................................................. 11

Asphalt LEFs vs. Concrete LEFs ........................................................................ 12

Load Transfer ......................................................................................................... 13

Load Transfer Coefficient (J) .............................................................................. 14

Concrete Properties ............................................................................................... 15

Flexural Strength, S'C ......................................................................................... 15

Center Point Flexural Strength ........................................................................... 16

Compressive Strength ........................................................................................ 16

The Importance of Using Average Strength ....................................................... 17

Modulus of Elasticity ........................................................................................... 18

Subgrade Support .................................................................................................. 19

Modulus of Subgrade Reaction (k-value) ........................................................... 19

Loss of Support .................................................................................................. 20

Determining Subgrade Support for Design ......................................................... 20

AASHTO Procedure to Determine the k-Value ................................................... 21

Determine Resilient Modulus .......................................................................... 21

Page |v

Adjust k-Value for Depth to Rigid Foundation ................................................. 23

Adjust k-Value for Loss of Support.................................................................. 23

Seasonal Adjustment to the k-Value ............................................................... 23

Problems with the AASHTO Procedure to Determine Subgrade Support .......... 24

Loss of Support ............................................................................................... 25

CBR and R-Value Relationships to Mr ............................................................ 25

Inconsistencies between Base and No Subbase Conditions .......................... 25

The Resulting k-Values are Unrealistic ........................................................... 26

Recommended Values for the Modulus of Subgrade Reaction .......................... 26

........................................................................................................................... 27

Recommended k-Values for Subbases .............................................................. 28

AASHTO and the Benefits of Subbases ............................................................. 28

Coefficient of Drainage (Cd) ................................................................................... 29

Reliability ................................................................................................................ 30

Reliability (R) ...................................................................................................... 31

Standard Deviation (so)....................................................................................... 31

How Reliability Works ......................................................................................... 32

How ZR Relates to R ........................................................................................... 32

The Iterative Process ............................................................................................. 34

Sensitivity Analysis ................................................................................................. 34

Summary ................................................................................................................... 37

Chapter 2 Concrete Overlay Design........................................................................... 39

Introduction ................................................................................................................ 39

The AASHTO Overlay Design Steps ......................................................................... 41

Step 1. Determine Existing Pavement Information ................................................. 41

Step 2. Predict Future ESALs ................................................................................ 41

Step 3. Perform Condition Survey .......................................................................... 42

Step 4. Perform Deflection Testing ........................................................................ 42

Step 5. Perform Coring/Material Testing ................................................................ 43

Step 6. Determine the Required Structural Capacity for Future Traffic (SCf) ......... 43

vi | P a g e

Problems with Remaining Life ............................................................................ 44

Step 8. Determine Required Structural Capacity of the Overlay (SCOL) ................. 45

Bonded Concrete Overlays on Concrete ............................................................ 45

Unbonded Concrete Overlays on Concrete ........................................................ 47

Unbonded Concrete Overlays on Asphalt or Composite .................................... 48

Bonded Concrete Overlays on Asphalt or Composite ........................................ 50

Other Considerations ................................................................................................. 50

Other Concrete Overlay Design Procedures/Software .............................................. 51

Chapter 3. Life-Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) ................................................................. 53

Introduction ................................................................................................................ 53

Comparable Sections ................................................................................................ 53

Performing an LCCA.................................................................................................. 54

Step 1 Select Analysis Period ................................................................................. 54

Step 2 Select Discount Rate ................................................................................... 55

Selecting an Interest Rate ...................................................................................... 55

Selecting an Inflation Rate ..................................................................................... 56

Calculating the Real Discount Rate........................................................................ 56

Step 3 Estimate Initial Agency Costs ...................................................................... 56

Step 4 Estimate User Costs .................................................................................... 57

Step 5 Estimate Future Agency Costs .................................................................... 58

Maintenance and Operation Costs ......................................................................... 58

Preservation and Rehabilitation Timing and Costs................................................. 58

Step 6 Estimate Residual Value ............................................................................. 59

Residual Value through Recycling (Salvage Value) ............................................... 59

Residual Value through Remaining Service Life .................................................... 59

Residual Value as a Support Layer ........................................................................ 60

Step 7 Compare Alternatives .................................................................................. 60

Cash Flow Diagrams .............................................................................................. 60

Present Worth Calculations .................................................................................... 61

Annual Worth Calculations ..................................................................................... 62

P a g e | vii

Accounting for Material Inflation ............................................................................. 63

Comparison of Results ........................................................................................... 64

More Information on LCCA ........................................................................................ 64

Chapter 4. WinPAS Users Guide ................................................................................. 65

Introduction ................................................................................................................ 65

Menu Options ............................................................................................................ 65

File Menu ............................................................................................................... 66

Units Menu ............................................................................................................. 66

Help Menu .............................................................................................................. 66

Main Menu ................................................................................................................. 66

Project Tab ................................................................................................................ 67

Estimate ESALs Tab.................................................................................................. 67

Total ESALs by Axle Data ...................................................................................... 68

Total ESALs by Vehicle Type ................................................................................. 69

Total ESALs by Truck Factor ................................................................................. 71

Design/Evaluation Tab............................................................................................... 72

Concrete Pavement Design/Analysis ..................................................................... 72

Asphalt Pavement Design/Analysis........................................................................ 76

Asphalt Layer Determination .............................................................................. 78

Both Concrete and Asphalt Design/Analysis (Side-by-Side) .................................. 79

Overlays Tab ............................................................................................................. 80

Existing Pavement Information............................................................................... 81

Bonded Concrete Overlays on Concrete................................................................ 82

Unbonded Concrete Overlays on Concrete ........................................................... 84

Unbonded Concrete Overlays on Asphalt (Conventional Whitetopping) ................ 85

Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Backcalculation .................................................... 86

NDT Backcalculation for Concrete Pavements ................................................... 87

NDT Backcalculation for Asphalt Pavements ..................................................... 88

NDT Backcalculation for Composite Pavements ................................................ 89

Life-Cycle Costs Tab ................................................................................................. 89

viii | P a g e

Cost Graphs ........................................................................................................... 90

Pavement Cost Information .................................................................................... 91

Life-Cycle Cost Analysis Results............................................................................ 93

Reports Tab ............................................................................................................... 94

Problems or Questions .............................................................................................. 94

References .................................................................................................................... 95

P a g e | ix

x|Page

Introduction

Over the last 100 years, the science of

concrete pavement design has fallen

into two basic categories: mechanistic

and empirical.

Mechanistic pavement design is based

upon a fundamental understanding of

the materials (i.e., the concrete and

soils). It is a true attempt to describe

how the pavement responds to loads.

Unfortunately, until very recently,

mechanistic equations did not consider

a number of practical factors relating to

pavement performance and have only

given an estimate of what could be

expected in the field.

Empirical models are based on known

field pavement performance. Empirical

models started being used in the 1920's

when engineers began to examine the

adequacy of their pavement design

methods. The search for answers to

many of their questions led to the

development of controlled experiments

or "road tests" of actual in-place

pavements. The most complete road

test to date is the AASHO (American

Association of State Highway Officials)

Road Test.1

In recent years, mechanistic and

empirical design methods have been

combined in various design methods,

including ACPAs StreetPave software

and AASHTOs DARWinMETM.

There are three basic types of concrete

pavements built in the United States:

jointed plain concrete pavement (JPCP),

jointed reinforced concrete pavement

(JRCP), and continuously reinforced

concrete pavement (CRCP). The

primary design detail that distinguishes

each concrete pavement type from each

other is the jointing system used to

control natural crack development

(Figure 1 on next page).

Jointed plain concrete pavements

contain enough joints so that the natural

cracks occur at the joints and not

elsewhere in the slab. The spacing

between transverse joints for highways

is typically about 15 ft (4.5 m). JPCP

typically has deformed steel tie bars at

the longitudinal joints to hold the lanes

together, but they do not contain any

other mesh-steel reinforcement.

Depending on the slab thickness, JPCP

may contain smooth steel dowel bars at

transverse joints to improve load

transfer (load transfer is a slab's ability

to share part of its load with its

neighboring slab). For highways, dowels

should be used in pavements that are

greater than 8.0 in. (200 mm) thick

because of the large amounts of truck

traffic such pavements typically carry.

Page |1

criteria, such as whether or not the road

will be in a residential or industrialized

area.

(CRCP)

JPCP under 7.0 in. (150 mm) is usually

built without dowels and depend upon

"aggregate interlock" for load transfer.

Aggregate interlock is the mechanical

locking that forms between the fractured

surfaces along the crack below the joint

saw cut. Undoweled JPCP is generally

used for low-volume and secondary

roads. For pavements between 7.0 to

8.0 in. (150 and 200 mm), the use of

2|Page

(sometimes called distributed steel).

With JRCP, designers purposely

increase the joint spacing, and use

reinforcing steel to hold the mid-panel

cracks that will develop together. The

spacing between transverse joints is

typically about 30 ft (9 m). In the past,

some agencies used spacing as great

as 100 ft (30 m), but this was found to

be excessive. For JRCP to perform, the

amount of distributed steel within the

pavement needs to be between 0.10%

and 0.25% of the cross-sectional area. If

there is not at least this amount of steel,

the steel can corrode or rupture and the

cracks can start to open, move, and

deteriorate.4 For this reason, ACPA

does not recommend building JRCP.

CRCP does not have transverse joints.

Rather, it is designed with high amounts

of steel reinforcement to hold the

transverse cracks that do develop tightly

together. The cracks usually develop at

intervals of 3-5 ft (1-1.5 m). Determining

the appropriate amount of steel to

control the crack spacing is part of the

design process for the pavement type.

This type of pavement was not

evaluated at the AASHTO Road Test.

Today, the majority of U.S. state

agencies build JPCP. CRCP is

common in some states for high traffic

applications. Very few states still

employ JRCP designs.

The AASHO Road Test took place in

Ottawa, Illinois (approximately 80 miles

[130 km] southwest of Chicago)

between 1956 and 1960 (Figure 2). The

primary purpose of the Road Test was

to determine a relationship between axle

loading and pavement performance.

Other purposes were to determine a

relationship between the performance of

concrete and asphalt pavements and

the pavement design variables (base

courses, thickness, shoulders, etc.) and

to establish a more equitable taxation

basis for the vehicles that use the

roadways.2

and carried the heaviest traffic. After the

Road Test was complete, these loops

were reconstructed into what is now

Interstate 80.

Figure 3 shows the layout for the loops

3 through 6. Each loop had a test

tangent of 6,800 ft (2,070 m). The south

tangents and west turnarounds were

concrete designs and the north tangents

and east turnarounds were asphalt

designs. The centerlines divided the

pavements into inside and outside

lanes. Each lane carried a different

vehicle type and so was a different test

section.

3 through 6

(Ottawa, IL)

The Road Test itself consisted of six

loops. Each loop was constructed as a

parallel segment of a four-lane divided

highway with a turnaround at each end.

Loop 1 was the environmental loop and

was not trafficked. Loop 2 was the light

traffic loop. Both of these loops were

smaller than the main test loops. Loops

(30 m) was a different design and

therefore a new structural section. For

the concrete pavements, the design

sections changed every 120 ft (36.5 m)

or 240 ft (73 m), depending on the type

of rigid pavement. Any design could be

located at any place in its test track to

provide randomization and certain

designs were duplicated in the same

test track to provide replication.

Page |3

sections and 468 asphalt test sections.

The design variables for the concrete

and asphalt pavements are shown in

Table 1.

Figure 4 shows the typical test traffic on

the pavement test sections. All test

vehicles were trucks. The single axles

loads ranged from 2,000 to 30,000 Ibs

(900 to 13,600 kg) and tandem axles

loads ranged from 24,000 to 48,000 Ibs

(10,890 to 21,780 kg). It is important to

note that front axles were not

considered load axles except in loop 2.

Traffic ran on the test loops from

November 1958 to December 1960 (25

months). The test vehicles operated for

18 hours 40 minutes per day for 6 days

a week.2

Loading

Concrete Pavement Variables

Surface Thickness,

in. (mm)

5 (127), 6.5 (165),

8 (203), 9.5 (241),

11 (279), 12.5 (318)

0 (0), 3 (76), 6 (152),

9 (229)

Surface Thickness,

in. (mm)

4 (102), 5 (127),

6 (152)

Base Thickness

9 (229), 19 (483)

Sandy-Gravel

Materials

Base Type

Wire

Reinforcement

Yes or No

Subbase

Thickness, in.

(mm)

Paved Shoulders

Yes or No

Paved Shoulder

Crushed Stone,

Gravel, AsphaltTreated, CementTreated

0 (0), 4 (102), 8

(203), 12 (305),

16 (406) All

Sandy-Gravel

Materials

Yes or No

Subbase

Thickness, in.

(mm)

Subbase Type

4|Page

was 35 mph (56 km/hr). In total, there

were 1,114,000 load applications during

the 25 months of testing with over 17

million miles (27 million km) driven.2

Figure 5 summarizes the results for

loops 3 through 6 at the Road Test.

These plots show the number of

sections remaining above a given

present serviceability index (PSI) plotted

against load applications. The PSI is a

rating from 0 (very poor) to 5 (very

good) that describes the condition of the

pavement. At the Road Test, pavements

were considered to have failed when the

PSI dropped below 1.5. Sections with a

PSI above 2.5 at the end of the test

were considered to have performed

"good.3

Transportation Officials] in the early

seventies.) It was this document which

underwent the largest distribution and

use by highway engineers. In 1981, the

concrete pavement portion of the guide

again received some minor revisions.

In 1986, the guide was extensively

revised into the "AASHTO Guide for the

Design of Pavement Structures." The

1986 version included many changes,

such as the way subgrade support is

characterized. It also introduced many

new concepts, such as reliability, lifecycle cost analysis (LCCA), and

pavement management.

collected during the AASHO Road Test,

the engineers and statisticians working

on the project developed a series of

equations relating axle loads to

pavement performance. The equations

represent the predicted performance for

the conditions at the Road Test for

concrete and asphalt pavements.

After the Road Test, AASHO published

the prediction equations in the "AASHO

Interim Guide for the Design of Rigid

Pavement Structures" and "AASHO

Interim Guide for the Design of Flexible

Pavement Structures." In 1972,

AASHTO consolidated and updated

these documents into the "AASHTO

Interim Guide for the Design of

Pavement Structures." (AASHO's name

was changed to AASHTO [American

Trends for the AASHO Road Test

Page |5

to contain an overlay design procedure.

Unfortunately, the overlay procedure

was deficient, complicated, and

incomplete. This made it difficult to

understand and use.

po = Initial serviceability

was completely revised. This revised

procedure addressed the deficiencies in

the 1986 overlay design procedure, is

more comprehensive and adaptable to

local agency calibration, and is much

easier to use and understand.

Equation

The current AASHTO Rigid Design

Equation as published in the 1986 and

1993 guide is as follows:

()

= ZR s + 7.35 Log(D + 1) 0.06

PSI

Log

+

1.624 10

1+

(D + 1) .

S C (D . 1.132)

Log

18.42

.

215.63 J D

(E /k) .

where:

equivalent 18-kip (80 KN) single

axles

ZR = Standard normal deviate

so = Overall standard deviation

D = Concrete thickness, in. (mm)

PSI = po - pt

6|Page

pt = Terminal serviceability

S'c = Concrete modulus of rupture,

psi (MPa)

Cd = Drainage coefficient

psi (MPa)

k = Modulus of subgrade reaction,

psi/in. (MPa/m)

Though the equation looks long and

complicated, when it is broken down it is

found that there are eight basic

concepts that affect the concrete

pavement design. They are:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

Thickness

Serviceability

Traffic

Load transfer

Concrete properties

Subgrade strength

Drainage properties

Reliability

of these allows the engineer to properly

design concrete pavements. The

remainder of this section will explain

each of the above concepts.

Thickness

The pavement thickness (D) is

expressed in in. (mm). At the Road Test,

concrete pavement thickness ranged

from 2.5 to 12.5 in. (63 to 320 mm) [see

Table 1]. Therefore, the AASHTO rigid

pavement design equation is only valid

within this range. When the resulting

range, it is important to check the design

with another procedure (i.e.,

StreetPave).5

Occasionally the AASHTO design

procedure produces a pavement less

than 4 in. (100 mm) thick for light traffic

streets. Except for overlays, ACPA

recommends a minimum concrete

pavement thickness of 4 in. (100 mm)

for automobiles and 5 in. (125 mm) for

limited truck traffic. Further guidance on

minimum pavement thickness is

available in other ACPA

publications.5,6,7,8,9

Under some conditions, such as a

bridge overpass, the thickness is

constrained, thus it becomes a design

feature. In such cases, the designer can

solve for the allowable traffic, or the

concrete strength required to carry the

estimated traffic.

Serviceability

Serviceability, or the present

serviceability index (PSI), is a

pavement's "ability to serve the type of

traffic that uses the facility (e.g.,

automobiles, trucks, buses, etc)". It is a

scaled index from 0 to 5 that represents

different levels of deterioration (Figure

6). All pavements lie somewhere on this

scale.

Index (PSI) Corresponds to These

Subjective Descriptions of Pavement

Performance

Pavements with PSI rating of 5 are in

perfect condition, while pavements with

a PSI rating of 0 are impassable. For all

practical purposes, there are no

pavements that have a rating of 5 or 0.

The AASHTO Pavement Design is

based on the predicted loss or drop in

serviceability (PSI) that will occur over

the lifetime of the pavement due to

traffic levels, axle loadings, and

environment (Figure 7).

The PSI is the difference between

initial and terminal serviceability (Po Pt). Initial serviceably (Po) is the

condition immediately after construction.

Terminal serviceability (Pt) corresponds

to the condition at which a pavement

requires some type of rehabilitation in

order to remain in service.

Page |7

were taken out of service when the PSI

reached 1.5. Table 2 provides the

recommended terminal PSI values for

interstates and major highways, primary

and secondary roads, and secondary

routes and rural residential roads.

Based on the Serviceability Loss over

the Lifetime of the Pavement

Concrete pavements were built to an

initial serviceability of 4.5 at the AASHO

Road Test. Flexible pavements were

built to the initial PSI of about 4.2. If no

other information on the initial

serviceability is available, the designer

should use 4.5 for concrete and 4.2 for

asphalt. With current construction

procedures, modern techniques/

materials, and improved smoothness

specifications, concrete pavements can

be built with an initial serviceability of

4.7 or 4.8.

The smoother a pavement is built, the

higher its initial serviceability. A higher

initial serviceability results in a larger

PSI. Thus, pavements built smoother

will last longer because they extend the

serviceability curve and allow the

pavement to carry more traffic over its

lifetime (see Figure 7).

The terminal serviceability is typically

based on the type of roadway and the

type of traffic it carries. Generally, highspeed highway traffic requires pavement

in better condition than low-volume

county or municipal streets.

8|Page

Serviceability (pt) Values for Various

Roadway Classifications

Terminal

Serviceability

2.50

2.25

2.00

Roadway

Classification

Interstate; Major

Highways or Arterials

Prime Secondary

Routes; Industrial and

Commercial Streets

Secondary Routes;

Residential Streets;

Parking Lots

Environmental Effects

According to the 1986 and 1993 guides,

the primary reason for allowing

adjustment to the initial serviceability is

so the designer can consider long-term

environmental effects like expansive or

frost susceptible soils. The Road Test

was an accelerated program that lasted

only two years. Consequently, the

design equation is somewhat limited in

its ability to consider long-term

environmental effects.

To make environmental adjustment, use

the following equation:

where:

PSI = Total PSI loss over the

design life (po pt)

PSIENV = PSI loss due to soil

displacement or other

environmental factors

Appendix G of the 1993 guide provides

further guidance for selecting the value

for PSIENV. Though it is not difficult to

determine the proper PSIENV, it is

complex and time consuming.

Determining the value requires an initial

estimate of the pavement thickness and

design life, some information on soil

permeability, knowledge of the roadbed

soil types, and information on drainage

conditions and freeze-thaw cycles. The

procedure requires several iterations to

recalculate traffic effects and evaluate

the changes these effects have on

PSIENV.

The impact of PSIENV on projected

performance is fairly low over much of

the U.S. Therefore, in most cases, the

value of PSIENV can be set to zero and

PSITR will equal PSI. This represents

the same conditions as at the AASHO

Road Test. Even if you may suspect that

setting PSIENV to zero does not

represent your design conditions, the

range of typical values that you might

expect for PSIENV is only from 0.0 to

0.7. In the worst case scenario, the

resultant increase in calculated

pavement thickness to carry a given

traffic volume will only be about seven

percent.

Traffic (ESALs)

ESALs are the number and weight of all

axle loads from the anticipated vehicles

expected during the pavement design

life expressed in 18,000 lbs or 18 kip (80

kN) equivalent single axle loads.

In actual practice, highway engineers

work with a variety of axle weights and

configurations in a mixed traffic stream.

At the AASHO Road Test, the engineers

theorized that they could compare the

damage to a particular pavement

section by different axle configurations

and loads to the damage caused by a

standard axle. With that idea, they

developed the concept of the Equivalent

Single Axle Load or ESAL.

Simply put, the design ESALs is all the

traffic, with different vehicle types, axle

types, and tire configurations converted

into an equivalent number of 18 kip (80

kN) single axle loads. At the Road Test,

the total number of ESALs ranged from

a few thousand to over 10 million

flexible and 20 million rigid ESALs for

the heaviest trafficked test loop.

Rigid versus Flexible ESALs

Though the concept of ESALs sounds

simple, it can be very confusing

because there is a difference between

rigid ESALs and flexible ESALs. Flexible

ESALs are generally about 1/3 less than

rigid ESALs, though the exact ratio

varies depending on traffic, pavement

thickness, and terminal serviceability.

Page |9

Vehicle

Busses

Panel Trucks

Single Unit, 2 Axle Trucks

Semi-Tractor Trailer, 3 Axles

Semi-Tractor Trailer, 4 Axles

Semi-Tractor Trailer, 5 Axles

Automobile, Pick-up, Van

TOTAL

Number

Rigid ESALs

Flexible ESALs

5

10

20

10

15

15

425

500

13.55

10.89

6.38

20.06

39.43

57.33

1.88

149.52

8.73

11.11

6.11

13.41

29.88

36.87

2.25

108.36

Typical street design: concrete thickness = 7 in. (175 mm), flexible structural number = 3.5, pt = 2.5

misleading, especially when attempting

to compare concrete (rigid) and asphalt

(flexible) designs. It often causes the

misconception that concrete pavements

are over designed when compared to

asphalt pavements. However, this is not

so. The different rigid and flexible

ESALs each describe the same traffic

stream.

An example is shown in Table 3. In this

table, the traffic stream is made up of a

mix of multiple unit trucks, single unit

trucks, panel trucks, buses, cars, etc.

There are 500 vehicles total on the

roadway for that day. When the traffic is

converted to ESALs, there are 149 rigid

ESALs and 108 flexible ESALs. Though

the values are different, they both

describe the same 500 vehicles.

Therefore, the ESAL counts are

equivalent.

To understand why rigid ESALs and

flexible ESALs are different, one needs

to understand how the traffic is

converted to ESALs.

10 | P a g e

Traffic is converted to ESALs by

multiplying each load by a load

equivalency factor (LEF) *. LEFs are the

ratio of the damage of a specific axle

load on pavement serviceability to the

damage produced by an 18 kip (80 kN)

single axle load at the AASHO Road

Test.

Basically, LEFs measure damage

(serviceability loss). An 18 kip (80 kN)

single axle load (SAL) has a LEF of 1.0

because it does one unit of damage.

SALs less than 18 kip (80 kN) do less

than one unit of damage and SALs

greater than 18 kip (80 kN) do more

than one unit of damage.

Table 4 shows a typical set of LEFs for

a pavement. From it, some general

observations can be made (note that the

18 kip (80 kN) single axle LEF is 1.0).

*

pavement type (rigid or flexible), thickness, and

serviceability. For a listing of load equivalency

factors for different axle loads, configurations,

and pavement types, see Appendix D of the

AASHTO Guide.

Factors (Flexible Pavement with pt =

2.5)

Axle Type

Axle Load,

kip (kN)

LEF

Single

2 (8.9)

10 (44.5)

14 (62.3)

18 (80.9)

20 (89.0)

30 (133)

0.0003

0.118

0.399

1.00

1.49

7.90

2 (8.9)

10 (44.5)

18 (80.9)

30 (133)

34 (151)

40 (178)

50 (222)

0.0001

0.011

0.042

0.703

1.11

2.06

5.03

Tandem

(80 kN) SAL does about 3,333 times

more damage that the 2 kip (8.9 kN)

SAL (e.g., 1.0 / 0.003 = 3,333). A similar

comparison shows that a 30 kip (133

kN) SAL does about eight times more

damage than the 18 kip (80 kN) SAL.

Comparing tandem axle loads to the

SAL, it can be seen that the tandem

axles spread out the load and minimize

the damage to the pavement. A 30 kip

(133 kN) tandem axle load does only

about 0.7 times the damage of a 18 kip

(80 kN) single axle load. Compared to

the 30 kip (133 kN) SAL, the tandem

axle load does only about 0.1 the

amount of damage.

cars do very little structural damage and

that pavements must be designed to

carry trucks. Furthermore, it illustrates

that over-loaded vehicles cause much

more damage than an 18 kip (80 kN)

SAL. This can greatly impact our

nation's infrastructure if axle load

limitations are raised.

Determining Load Equivalency Factors

LEFs can be based on any response

that measures the difference between

any two loading conditions. The

AASHTO design procedure bases its

LEFs on equivalent serviceability loss

for a given pavement structure. Though

it is possible to explain LEFs using the

AASHTO procedure, it easier to

understand them when examined

mechanistically.

In a mechanistic procedure, load

equivalency factors can be based on

equivalent stress, strain, or deflection at

a given location. Figures 8A and 8B

show how LEFs are determined based

on given level of stress, strain or

deflection for a concrete pavement and

an asphalt pavement.

In Figure 8A, the concrete pavement is

loaded with an 18 kip (80 kN) SAL. This

produces a stress or strain at the bottom

of the concrete layer or a deflection at

the top of the concrete. Loading the

pavement with another load (X kip [kN]

load on axle type Y) produces a different

stress, strain, or deflection. Dividing the

stress, strain, or deflection of an X kip

[kN] load on axle type Y by the stress,

strain, or deflection of an 18 kip (80 kN)

P a g e | 11

Figure 8A and 8B. Load Equivalency Factor Determination for Concrete and Asphalt

Pavements

SAL produces a LEF for that load.

Doing the same thing with a flexible

pavement produces the comparable

flexible LEF (Figure 8B).

When the asphalt pavement is loaded, it

produces different stresses, strains, or

deflections than does the concrete

pavement. The responses to the same

applied load are different because the

different pavement types respond

differently to the load.

Consequently, the LEF values that are

calculated for the same vehicles on

each pavement type are different. When

the same traffic is multiplied by different

LEFs, the ESALs calculated for each

pavement type are different. The

AASHTO equations are based on the

same principle, except that they use a

given serviceability loss (PSI) as the

measure of damage. The equation to

determine the LEF for concrete

pavement or asphalt pavement is:

N

LEF = N

12 | P a g e

N)

Because AASHTO bases its design and

its LEFs on serviceability loss (Figure 7),

the LEFs can be used to compare the

amount of loads needed to cause the

same amount of damage on a concrete

or asphalt pavement. That is, the LEFs

tell how many loads are necessary to

cause the same amount of serviceability

loss in the two pavement types.

Table 5 shows the LEF for two

approximately equivalent pavement

sections: an asphalt pavement with a

structural number (SN) equal to 4.0 and

a concrete pavement that is 8 in. (200

mm) thick. As shown, the concrete

pavement's LEFs are always higher

than the asphalt pavement's LEFs for

axle loads greater than 18 kips (80 kN)

and always less for axle loads less than

18 kips (80 kN). It takes more trucks on

a concrete pavement to cause the same

damage or loss in serviceability than it

does on an asphalt pavement.

Pavement Sections

Axle Load,

kip (kN)

Asphalt

LEF

Concrete

LEF

2 (8.9)

0.0002

0.0002

6 (26.7)

0.013

0.010

10 (44.5)

0.102

0.082

14 (62.3)

0.388

0.347

18 (80.9)

1.00

1.00

22 (97.9)

1.47

1.55

26 (116)

2.89

4.42

30 (133)

5.21

7.79

34 (151)

11.3

12.9

38 (169)

18.1

20.6

the LEF for a 26 kip (118 kN) SAL is

4.42. This means that it takes 4.42 18

kips (80 kN) single axles to cause the

same damage (serviceability loss) of

one 26 kip (118 kN) single axle. On the

asphalt pavement, the LEF for the 26

kip (118 kN) SAL is 2.82, which means it

takes just 2.82 18 kips (80 kN) single

axles to cause the same damage of one

26 kip (118 kN) single axle.

For axle loads less than 18 kips (80 kN),

it is an inverse relationship, it takes 9.8

(1/0.102 = 9.8) 10 kip (45 kN) loads to

cause the damage of one 18 kips (80

kN) single axle on an asphalt pavement

while it takes 12.2 (1/0.82 = 12.2) 10 kip

(45 kN) loads on a concrete pavement.

that each load does more damage to

asphalt pavement than it does to a

concrete pavement. Real world

verification can be found by looking at

the performance curve of any two

similar designed and trafficked concrete

and asphalt pavements (Figure 9).

for Concrete and Asphalt Pavements

Load Transfer

Load transfer is a slab's ability to

transfer part of its load to its neighboring

slab. A slab with 100% load transfer

shares its load (deflection and stress)

equally with its neighboring slab. A slab

with 0% load transfer shares none of its

load (Figure 10). Generally, pavements

with good load transfer have minimized

faulting, less corner breaking, and better

performance. In the AASHTO design

procedure, load transfer is affected by

the type of concrete pavement, by the

presence of dowels, and by the

presence of edge support (e.g., tied

concrete shoulder, tied curb and gutter,

or an extended lane; not asphalt or

granular shoulders).

P a g e | 13

Excellent and Poor Load Transfer

Figure 11 illustrates how dowels and

edge support improve pavement

performance. The pavement on the right

has good load transfer (doweled and

edge support) and the one on the left

has poor load transfer (undoweled and

no edge support). Loading both these

slabs in the middle with a given load will

produce nearly identical internal

deflections, i.

Loading the undoweled pavement with

the same load at the outside,

unsupported corner would produce a

deflection that is about five times greater

than the internal deflection (e.g., 5*i).

At the inside supported corner (due to

the adjacent longitudinal lane), the

deflection would be 3*i. In the doweled

pavement, the deflection at the outside

pavement edge would be about 3*i and

at the inside, supported corner, it would

be about 2*i.

14 | P a g e

Shoulders and Dowels Effect

Deflections in a Slab

Load Transfer Coefficient (J)

In the AASHTO design procedure, load

transfer is accounted for with the load

transfer coefficient, or J-factor. The Jfactor is based on how stress is

transferred across the joint or crack. It

is used to minimize corner cracking and

it does not control or account for

faulting. Faulting is not a failure criterion

in the AASHTO design procedure; the

only failure criterion is serviceability

loss. This means that the J-factor

cannot be used to control faulting.

Nevertheless, this does not mean that a

better J-factor does not affect faulting. It

simply means that it was not taken into

account in the development of the

design equation. Better J-factors do

decrease deflections (Figure 11) and,

thus, minimize the potential for faulting.

pavement, edge support condition and

how load transfer is provided at the joint

(or crack). Jointed pavements with

dowels provide a higher level of load

transfer than those relying strictly on

aggregate interlock. CRCPs generally

provide the highest level of load

transfer.

J-factor in design of concrete

pavements. Both JPCP and JRCP

designs were evaluated at the Road

Test and produced roughly equivalent

performance. The J-factor value for the

Road Test conditions was 3.2.

for typical concrete pavement designs

(lower J-factors mean better load

transfer). The designer simply selects a

J-factor that is consistent with the type

of pavement and edge support condition

for the design. The J-factor also varies

slightly with the expected design traffic

and indirectly with pavement

classification (e.g., local streets and

roads, arterials, and heavy highways).

The 93 AASHTO Design Guide actually

provides less specific guidance for

selecting the J-factor than provided in

Table 6. ACPA believes that the more

specific guidance in Table 6 is

Concrete Properties

There are two concrete properties that

influence rigid pavement design in the

AASHTO design procedure. They are:

S'c Concrete flexural strength

determined at 28-days using

third-point loading

Ec Concrete modulus of

elasticity

Flexural Strength, S'C

The concrete strength used in the

design of concrete pavements is based

on AASHTO Test Method T97 or ASTM

C78, Flexural Strength of Concrete

using Simple Beam with Third-Point

Loading (Figure 12).11

ESALs (millions)

Up to 0.3

0.3 to 1

1 to 3

3 to 10

10 to 30

Over 30

Doweled

JPCP and

all JRCP

No

3.2

3.2

3.2

3.2

3.2

3.2

Yes

2.7

2.7

2.7

2.7

2.7

2.7

JPCP with

Aggregate

Interlock

Edge Support*

No

Yes

3.2

2.8

3.4

3.0

3.6

3.1

3.8

3.2

4.1

3.4

4.3

3.6

CRCP

No

---2.9

3.0

3.1

Yes

---2.5

2.6

2.6

Pavement

Class

Local Streets

and Roads

Arterials and

Highways

* Tied concrete shoulder, tied or integral curb and gutter, or a widened lane all provide the same

support conditions according to AASHTO. Asphalt or granular shoulders and no shoulders provide no

support and therefore no benefit.

P a g e | 15

using Third-Point Loading

using Center-Point Loading

28-day flexural strength be used in the

AASHTO equation. If the strength value

is measured using some other test

method, it must be converted to the 28day third-point strength.

Compressive Strength

Many agencies use compressive

strength of concrete cylinders (AASHTO

T22 or ASTM C39)13 as an alternative to

flexural strength testing. Several simple

conversion equations, such as the one

below, can convert 28-day compressive

strengths to 28-day third point flexural

strengths.

Some agencies use the center-point

flexural test (AASHTO T177 or ASTM

C293) to determine their concrete

strength (Figure 13).12 Center-point

loading forces the beam to fail directly

under the center of the loading. This

may not be the weakest point in the

beam. In third point loading, the entire

middle one-third of the beam is stressed

uniformly and thus the beam fails at its

weakest point in the middle one-third of

the beam. By forcing the beam to fail at

the center, the center point flexural test

results are somewhat higher than the

third-point test results. Typically, center

point results are about 15% greater.

Though this relationship is not exact, it

does provide a reasonable estimate of

the concrete's average strength.

16 | P a g e

where:

S = C

S'c = Average 28-day thirdpoint flexural strength, psi (MPa)

f'c = Average 28-day

compressive strength, psi (MPa)

C = Constant assumed to be

between 8 and 10 for U.S.

standard units (0.7 to 0.8 for

metric units) for typical paving

concrete; for U.S. units, the value

of 9 (0.75) typically produces

reasonable results for most

designs

compressive strength, third point loading

flexural strength, and center point

loading flexural strengths for

conventional concrete paving mixtures.

A free strength converter app is

available at http://apps.acpa.org.

too overdesigned. Therefore, it is

necessary to adjust the specified

minimum strength to the design strength

using the equation below:

for Compressive Strength and Third

Point and Center Point Flexural

Strengths

where:

Comp,

psi (MPa)

Third Point

Flex,

psi (MPa)

Center

Point Flex,

psi (MPa)

2,000 (13.8)

402 (2.78)

463 (3.19)

2,500 (17.2)

450 (3.10)

518 (3.57)

3,000 (20.7)

493 (3.40)

567 (3.91)

3,500 (24.1)

532 (3.67)

612 (4.22)

4,000 (27.6)

569 (3.92)

655 (4.51)

4,500 (31.0)

604 (4.16)

694 (4.79)

5,000 (34.5)

636 (4.39)

732 (5.05)

5,500 (37.9)

667 (4.60)

768 (5.29)

6,000 (41.4)

697 (4.81)

802 (5.53)

6,500 (44.8)

726 (5.00)

834 (5.75)

7,000 (48.3)

753 (5.19)

866 (5.97)

Strength

Because of the way the 93 AASHTO

Design Procedure uses reliability, it is

strongly recommended that the

expected average, in-field 28-day

flexural strength (S'c) of the concrete

be used in the design procedure

(AASHTO T97 or ASTM C78). Using

the specified minimum construction

S = S + z

S'c = Estimated average in-field

flexural strength

Sc = Specified minimum flexural

strength

= Estimated standard

deviation of the strength

z = Standard normal deviate

corresponding to the percent of

results which can be below the

specified strength

know or have estimate values of:

1.

2.

permitted below the specified

level.

The standard deviation of the

strength tests.

statistics and are shown in Table 8.

The standard deviation () of the

strength test results depends upon the

variability of the concrete and accuracy

of the testing. Contractors generally use

either central-mix or ready-mix plants to

produce concrete. These plants are

capable of providing very uniform

concrete.

P a g e | 17

ready-mixed concrete is about 7 to 13

percent of the average strength. The

standard deviation for central-mixed

concrete is from 5 to 12 percent of the

average strength. Generally, records of

the standard deviation from past plant

operations are available.

Table 8: Values of the Standard

Normal Deviate (z) corresponding to

the Percent of Tests below the

Specified Strength (Sc)

Percent of Specimens

Below the Specified

Value

0.841

20

1.037

15

1.282

10

1.645

2.327

Example:

Suppose that you want to design a

small street project. You know that

several local operators supply most

of the concrete in your area using

ready-mixed concrete. You also know

that you will specify concrete with a

minimum 28-day flexural strength of

550 psi (3.79 MPa) and your

specification will permit 10 percent of

tests to fall below that level. What

strength do you use in the AASHTO

design equation?

Step 1: Estimate the strength as 9

percent of the flexible strength or call

several ready mix operators to

determine the value. Since you do

not know the actual average strength,

use the specified value for S'c (it will

be fairly close). The value for then

becomes:

= 0.09*550 psi

the above procedure to account for the

average in-field 28-day flexural strength.

Modulus of Elasticity

The other concrete property in the

AASHTO design procedure is the

modulus of elasticity, Ec. Ec indicates

how much the concrete will compress

under load. Concretes with a very high

Ec are very rigid and do not compress

much. Concrete with a lower Ec

compresses more under load. In the

concrete pavement equation, Ec is the

most insensitive parameter and has only

a minor impact on thickness design or

projected performance.

18 | P a g e

= 49.5 psi

Step 2: Estimate the design strength

to use in the equation. Apply the

correction for a 10 percent failure rate

(z = 1.282 from Table 8):

Sc = 550 + 1.282*49.5

Sc =613 psi (4.22 MPa)

Thus, 613 psi (4.22 MPa) is used in

the design equations.

Note: The same principle applies if compressive

strengths are used. The corrected compressive

strength would be converted to third-point flexural

strength using the relationship previously shown.

Test Method C469,14 or an equivalent, it

is rarely done in practice. It is usually

estimated from either the flexural or the

compressive strength. The following two

equations are from the American

Concrete Institute (ACI) and provide

reasonable estimates.15

To get Ec from flexural strength:

E () = 6,750 S ()

E () = 57,000 ()

available at http://apps.acpa.org also

can convert to modulus of elasticity in

both U.S. and metric units.

As was the case with the previous

correlation equations for strength, the

above correlation is not exact. It is a

close estimate and can be relied on to

evaluate projected performance within a

reasonable margin of error.

The ranges of values for Ec that are

reasonable depend largely on the

strength of the concrete. Typical values

are from 3.5 to 5 million psi (21,400 to

34,500 MPa). The average Ec obtained

at the Road Test was 4.2 million psi

(29,000 MPa) and is an acceptable

value for design.

Subgrade Support

In all pavements, the load is eventually

transmitted to the subgrade. Though

bases, subbases, and soil modifications

are used to increase the support

strength and protect the subgrade, it is

the natural subgrade that must be used

as the starting point for support

characterization.

For concrete pavements, the primary

requirement of the subgrade is that it be

uniform. This is the fundamental reason

for specifications on subgrade

compaction. A good quality subgrade

will improve the performance of the

pavement.

In the AASHTO design procedure for

concrete pavements, the strength of the

soil is described by two subgrade

properties:

1.

2.

or k-value

Loss of support factor (LOS)

The modulus of subgrade reaction is

determined by the plate load test

(AASHTO T235 or ASTM D1194).16

The plate load test models the subgrade

as a bed of springs and the k-value is

analogous to a spring constant. In fact,

the k-value is sometimes referred to as

the subgrade "spring constant."

P a g e | 19

mm) diameter plate on the subgrade

and loading it with a very heavy load.

The plate distributes the load to the

subgrade via the pressure of the plate

(Figure 14). The k-value is found by

dividing the plate pressure by plate

deflection under the load. The units for

k-value are psi/in. (MPa/m).

unbound granular materials or stabilized

materials. Stabilized subbases include

lean concrete (econocrete) subbase,

cement-treated subbase, asphalttreated subbase, and lime-fly ash

stabilized subbase. When a subbase is

used, the k-value for design is increased

to a "composite k" (kc) to account for the

additional support provided by the

subbase.

Loss of Support

The loss of support (LOS) accounts for

the expected erosion and differential

movements of the subbase or subgrade

over the life of the pavement.

Essentially, it reduces the k-value based

on the size of the void that may develop

beneath the slab. A LOS factor of 0 is

equivalent to the conditions at the

AASHO Road Test and the predominant

JPCP and JRCP failure mode at the

Road Test was pumping/faulting due to

the clay soils at the site; thus, using a

LOS of 0 is conservative.

In all but low volume applications, the

pavement is constructed on some type

of subbase placed over the subgrade.

The subbase material is used to provide

a uniform support layer and a strong

construction platform. Typically it is less

erodible than the subgrade, which limits

the pumping of material from beneath

the slabs.

20 | P a g e

Design

Though the k-value is determined by the

plate load test, this test is rarely

performed in the field. It is an expensive

and very slow test. Furthermore, it does

not give much information. It only tells

what the k-value is at a single point. A

change in soil type, depth to bedrock,

moisture conditions, location along the

grade, etc. will change the results.

recognized this and developed the

following multi-step procedure, detailed

in Part II of the 93 Guide, to estimate kvalue. It is based on the soil resilient

modulus, Mr, used in the asphalt

pavement design. The procedure is:

1. Determine Mr

a. AASHTO T29417

b. Correlate to CBR18 or Rvalue19

2. Convert Mr to k-value

3. Adjust for effects of a rigid

foundation

4. Adjust for LOS

ACPA does not recommend following

this procedure because it produces

unrealistic results. If followed, the

procedure increases the k-value to

unreasonably high values and then

reduces it back to unreasonably low

values using the loss of support.

Still, it is important to understand the

basic procedure and issues with it. The

next section will describe how to

determine the k-value using the above

procedure as well as the errors in it.

Following it, we will show what we

consider to be more realistic values for

the design of concrete pavements.

indicates the stiffness of the layer

immediately under the pavement.

The Mr is determined from AASHTO

T294, Resilient Modulus of Unbound

Base/Subbase Materials and Subgrade

Soils. However, it is recognized that

many agencies do not have the

equipment to perform this test.

Therefore, AASHTO recommends the

following correlation equations to relate

the resilient modulus to the California

Bearing Ratio (CBR) or the R-value.

Mr(psi) = 1,500*(CBR)

Mr(psi) = 1000 + 555*(R-value)

Convert Resilient Modulus to k-Value

Once Mr is determined or estimated, it is

converted to a k-value by one of two

ways, depending on whether a subbase

is present or not. If there is no subbase

the k-value is calculated as:

k-value = Mr/19.4

If there is a subbase, Figure 3.3 from

part 2 of the AASHTO guide is used

(reproduced here as Figure 15). This

figure estimates the "composite k-value"

(kc), which represents the additional

strength provided by the subbase.

Determine Resilient Modulus

The resilient modulus measures the

recoverable deformation of a

dynamically loaded test specimen at any

stress level. Like the modulus of

The subgrade k-value used for design is a "composite kvalue" starting with the k-value of the actual subgrade and

not the modified soil. This applies to asphalt pavements as

well, although resilient modulus is used instead of k-value.

In no case should the subgrade soil be ignored in design.

P a g e | 21

Figure 15. Chart for Estimating Composite Modulus of Subgrade Reaction, Assuming

a Subgrade Depth Greater than 10 ft (3 m) [Figure 3.3, part 2 of the 1993 AASHTO

Pavement Design Guide]

22 | P a g e

Foundation

This step accounts for the proximity of

the pavement to bedrock. When a

pavement is within 10 ft (3 m) of the

bedrock, the confining pressure of the

bedrock causes the subgrade support to

increase. This step is disregarded when

the depth to the rigid foundation is

greater than 10 ft (3 m).

To adjust for the depth to a rigid

foundation, Figure 3.4 from part 2 of the

AASHTO guide is used (reproduced

here as Figure 16)

After the k-value is calculated, it is

adjusted for LOS using Figure 3.6 from

part 2 of the AASHTO guide

(reproduced here as Figure 17). A LOS

of 0 represents Road Test conditions.

Seasonal Adjustment to the k-Value

AASHTO also recommends doing this

procedure for each month of the year to

reflect seasonal changes. However,

because the Road Test ran year round

for several seasons, impacts of

seasonal changes of the k-value are

inherent in the AASHTO equations.

m) of the Surface [Figure 3.4, part 2 of the 1993 AASHTO Pavement Design Guide]

P a g e | 23

these adjustments have very little effect

on the final results. For this reason,

seasonal adjustments have not been

included in WinPAS. For further

information, consult the AASHTO guide.

Problems with the AASHTO Procedure

to Determine Subgrade Support

As mentioned, there are several

problems with the current AASHTO

procedure to determine the subgrade

deal with:

1.

2.

3.

4.

The accuracy of the CBR and

R-value relationships to Mr,

Inconsistencies with the

relationships between k-value

and Mr for base and no

subbase that occur with high

in-situ Mr values, and

Unrealistic resulting k-values.

Figure 17. Correction of Effective k-Value for Potential Loss off Support [Figure 3.6,

part 2 of the 1993 AASHTO Pavement Design Guide]

24 | P a g e

Loss of Support

This factor reduces the k-value for an

expected loss of support by subgrade

erosion. A LOS = 0 models the soil

conditions at the AASHO Road Test. A

closer look at the soils at the Road Test

show that it consisted of three feet of

embankment with these properties:

Group Index = 9-13

Plastic Index = 11-15

Liquid Limit = 27-32

80-85% passing the #200 (75

m) sieve

mode of concrete pavements at the

AASHO road test. The pumping of

subbase fines from underneath the

slabs preceded all cracking. Therefore,

the effects of LOS are inherent in the

equation that predicts concrete

pavement performance or serviceability

loss. As a result, this additional factor is

unnecessary.

ACPA recommends setting the loss of

support factor to 0 for all designs.

Necessary improvements in subgrade or

subbase support should be made using

an improved subbase material or

improved drainage design.

CBR and R-Value Relationships to Mr

The AASHTO CBR and R-value to Mr

relationships are considered reasonable

only for fine-grained soils (e.g., CBR

less than 10 or R-value less than 20).

These two equations greatly over

estimate Mr values at higher CBRs and

R-values (Figure 18).

Resilient Modulus and CBR or R-value

[from ACPAs MC016P, WinPAS

Pavement Analysis Software]

ACPA has developed two non-linear

relationships, based on NCHRP Report

128, Evaluation of the AASHO Interim

Guide for the Design of Pavement

Structures,20 to more accurately

estimate Mr from CBR or R-value:

M () = 1941.488 CBR

M () = 2165.935 e

.

R

better follow the actual values, leading

to better prediction or correlation.

Inconsistencies between Base and No

Subbase Conditions

The relationships between k and Mr for

the base and no subbase can give

inconsistent values, especially with high

in-situ Mr values.

P a g e | 25

been tested and has a Mr of 12,000 psi

(82.7 MPa). In the case with no base,

the subgrade k-value is calculated in the

AASHTO method by:

k-value = Mr /19.4

= 12,000 psi/19.4

= 619 psi/in.

When a 6 in. (150 mm) unstabilized

(granular) subbase with a resilient

modulus of 25,000 psi (173 MPa) is

placed over this soil, the composite kvalue decreases:

k = 572 psi/in. (from Fig 15)

This is obviously not correct. The

subbase course is stronger, provides

better support, and will improve the

pavement's performance. This

inconsistency in the AASHTO method

becomes greater as the Mr value

increases.

The Resulting k-Values are Unrealistic

Probably the most compelling reason

not to follow the AASHTO procedure to

estimate k-values is that it does not

produce realistic results. Historical and

theoretical values for the types of

subgrades and subbases found under

concrete pavements typically are in the

range of 50 to 550 psi/in. (13 to 150

MPa/m). Using the AASHTO procedure,

it is possible to get values as high as

2,000 psi/in. (540 MPa/m). Furthermore,

the ranges that can be derived can be

extremely large.

26 | P a g e

historical and AASHTO derived values

for different types of subgrades and

subbases. As can be inferred, this

disparity can affect designs greatly.

Table 9: Comparison of Historical

and AASHTO derived k-Values

Layer

Type

Historical

k-value,

psi/in.

(MPa/m)

AASHTO

k-value,

psi/in.

(MPa/m)

Silts &

Clays

60-100

(16-30)

10-20

(2.7-5.4)

Granular

150-250

(40-68)

12-73

(3.5-20)

AsphaltTreated

300-400

(80-108)

95-128

(25-35)

CementTreated

405-550

(110-150)

128-400

(35-110)

of Subgrade Reaction

Though the AASHTO procedure does not

produce reasonable k-values, the basic

premise of relating it to other soil

properties is reasonable. Furthermore,

an exact value is not required. Normal

variations from an estimated value will

not appreciably affect pavement

thickness (e.g., an error in the k-value of

100 percent only increases or decreases

a typical pavement thickness by about

0.4 in. [10 mm]). Figure 19 shows

relationships that are satisfactory for

design purposes.

[from ACPA EB109P, Thickness Design for Concrete Highways and Street

Pavements]

P a g e | 27

ACPA has developed a correlation

equation for Mr to k-value that, when

used in conjunction with the previously

mentioned ACPA correlations from CBR

or R-value to Mr, will result in k-values

that match those in Figure 19. The Mr to

k-value correlation equation is:

If Mr 15,089:

k = M 0.0000001155 M

0.0004683533 M

+ 41.1348117373

If Mr > 15,089:

k = M 0.0000000106 M

0.0007608054 M

+ 69.4602909796

See http://apps.acpa.org for free apps to

easily convert CBR or R-value to Mr and

then to k-value.

Recommended k-Values for Subbases

When a subbase is used, there is an

increase in the k-value. The magnitude of

the increase depends on whether the

subbase is stabilized (treated) or

unstabilized (untreated). Table 10 shows

an approximate increase of k-value

based on the type of subbase and its

thickness. A composite k-value

calculator also is available at

http://apps.acpa.org.

AASHTO and the Benefits of Subbases

It is not economical to use a base or

subbases for the sole purpose of

increasing the k-value. An increase of kvalue from 90 psi/in. (25 MPa/m) to 500

psi/in. (135 MPa/m) will only decrease

thickness by about 10 percent.

28 | P a g e

Types and Thickness

Unstabilized (Granular) Subbase

Composite k-value, psi/in. (MPa/m)

Subgrade

k-value,

pci/in.

(MPa/m)

4 in.

(100

mm)

6 in.

(150

mm)

9 in.

(230

mm)

12 in.

(305

mm)

50 (14)

65.2

(17.6)

75.2

(20.3)

85.2

(23.0)

110

(29.7)

100 (27)

130

(35.1)

140

(37.8)

160

(43.2)

190

(51.3)

150 (41)

175

(47.3)

185

(50.0)

215

(58.1)

255

(68.9)

200 (54)

220

(59.4)

230

(62.1)

270

(72.9)

320

(86.4)

Asphalt-Treated Subbase

Composite k-value, psi/in. (MPa/m)

Subgrade

k-value,

pci/in.

(MPa/m)

4 in.

(100

mm)

6 in.

(150

mm)

9 in.

(230

mm)

12 in.

(305

mm)

50 (14)

85.2

(23.0)

112

(30.2)

155

(41.9)

200

(54.0)

100 (27)

152

(41.0)

194

(52.4)

259

(69.9)

325

(87.8)

150 (41)

217

(58.6)

271

(73.2)

353

(95.3)

437

(118)

200 (54)

280

(75.6)

345

(93.2)

441

(119)

541

(146)

Cement-Treated Subbase

Composite k-value, psi/in. (MPa/m)

Subgrade

k-value,

pci/in.

(MPa/m)

4 in.

(100

mm)

6 in.

(150

mm)

9 in.

(230

mm)

12 in.

(305

mm)

50 (14)

103

(27.8)

148

(40.0)

222

(59.9)

304

(82.1)

100 (27)

185

(50.0)

257

(69.4)

372

(100)

496

(134)

150 (41)

263

(71.0)

357

(96.4)

506

(137)

664

(179)

200 (54)

348

(94.0)

454

(123)

634

(171)

823

(222)

to prevent the pumping of fines from

underneath the slab. Secondarily, they

are used to help control frost heave and

swelling soils, provide a drainage layer

when needed, and provide a working

platform for construction.

1.

model the contribution of subbases

accurately. At the AASHO Road Test, it

was found that the concrete pavements

with any granular subbase could carry

about 30% more traffic.

minimize pumping. Edge drains and

free-draining subbase layers help

minimize the free water between the

slab and subgrade and thus minimize

the amount of pumping. Dowels and

edge support also minimize pumping by

controlling the deflections of heavy

wheel loads. The use of improved

drainage, dowels, and edge support will

definitely lead to improved performance.

concrete pavements built with granular

bases to carry only about 5 to 8% more

traffic. This indicates that concrete

pavements built with granular subbases

should perform better than predicted by

the AASHTO design equations.

Coefficient of Drainage (Cd)

Trapped water within a pavement

structure is one of the primary

contributors to pavement distresses. It

can lead to:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

granular materials.

Reduced strength of subgrade

soils.

Pumping of fines.

Differential heaving/swelling of

soils.

Loss of structural support.

Pavement settlement and/or

faulting.

that drainage control is the pumping of

fines. The conditions that lead to pumping

are:

2.

3.

4.

suspension.

Free water between slab and

subgrade.

Frequent heavy wheel loads with

large deflections.

Poor load transfer between slabs.

drainage is accounted for by use of the

drainage coefficient (Cd). The drainage

coefficient accounts for improved or

decreased quality of drainage over

those conditions at the Road Test.

Table 11, taken from the AASHTO

guide, provides recommended Cd

values. The value of Cd depends on the

quality of drainage and percent of time

the pavement is exposed to moisture

levels approaching saturation. Because

the Cd value depends on the saturation

of the subgrade/subbase, it is possible

for a pavement in a dry environment

with poor drainage to perform as well as

a pavement in a wet environment with

excellent drainage.

AASHTO Road Test was very poor (clay).

Though the pavement was designed with

elevated cross-sections and drainage ditches,

edge drains were not used. Thus, the subgrade

below the Road Test pavements was not welldrained.

P a g e | 29

Table 11: Recommended Values of the Drainage Coefficient (Cd) for Concrete

Pavement Design

Quality of

Drainage

Moisture Levels Approaching Saturation

< 1%

1% - 5%

5% - 25%

> 25%

Excellent

1.25 1.20

1.20 1.15

1.15 1.10

1.10

Good

1.20 1.15

1.15 1.10

1.10 1.00

1.00

Fair

1.15 1.10

1.10 1.00

1.00 0.90

0.90

Poor

1.10 1.00

1.00 0.90

0.90 0.80

0.80

Very Poor

1.00 0.90

0.90 0.80

0.80 0.70

0.70

Appendix DD of Volume II of the 1993 guide offers the following definitions for quality of drainage:

Good Drainage - Soil drained to 50 percent of saturation in 1 day.

Fair Drainage - Soil drained to 50 percent of saturation in 7 days.

Poor Drainage - Soil drained to 50 percent of saturation in 1 month.

Very Poor Drainage - Soil does not drain.

1.00 represents conditions at the

AASHTO Road Test. Thus, a Cd value

of 1.00 has no impact on the design.

Lower Cd values increase the required

pavement thickness and higher values

decrease the required thickness.

Caution is recommended when using

drainage coefficients of less than 1.00.

Because the subgrade soils at the Road

Test were very poorly draining soils, the

AASHTO design equations already

account for a large degree of poor

drainage. Values less than 1.00 would

indicate conditions worse than that of

the AASHO Road Test. Open-graded,

free-draining subbases and freedraining soils which can be maintained

can be modeled with a drainage

coefficient greater than 1.00.

30 | P a g e

Reliability

Reliability (R) accounts for the chance

variation in traffic predictions,

performance predictions, concrete

material properties, subgrade support

conditions, etc. It incorporates some

degree of certainty into the design

process to ensure that the pavements

will survive the analysis period for which

they are designed.

In the AASHTO design procedure there

are two basic statistical factors that

make up reliability:

1.

2.

Reliability (R)

Standard deviation (s0)

reliability and standard deviation as

separate design factors, conservative

estimates for all the other design inputs

should no longer be used. Rather, all

input values should be input as the best

estimate of the average in-place, in-field

values. The selected level of reliability

and overall standard deviation will

account for the combined effect of the

variation of all the other design

variables.

Reliability (R)

Reliability is the statistical probability

that the pavement will meet its design

life. Essentially, reliability tells how

much of the pavement will be operative

at the end of its design life. For

example, a pavement designed with

90% reliability will have 90% of the

pavement in operational condition at the

end of the design period, and only 10%

of the pavement will have "failed."

Evaluating the acceptable level of risk

for the design is necessary when

choosing an appropriate reliability. High

levels of reliability, or low risk, are

appropriate for high traffic volume

pavements in urban areas where future

repairs are difficult and undesirable.

Medium or low levels of reliability are

appropriate for lower levels of traffic or

rural areas where repairs pose little

difficulty and more risk is tolerable. The

lowest reliability level, 50%, corresponds

to local roads.

of reliability for different roadway

classifications. When comparing two

different pavement sections (e.g., a

new concrete section to a new asphalt

section, two different concrete sections,

or two different asphalt sections), the

same level of reliability for each must

be used. When an existing pavement is

being analyzed, it must be evaluated

with the reliability equal to 50%.

Table 12: Suggested Reliability

Levels for Various Functional

Roadway Classifications

Classification

Recommended

Reliability (R), %

Urban

Rural

85 99.9

80 99.9

80 99

75 99

Collectors

80 95

75 95

Local

50 80

50 80

Freeways

Principal Arterials

Standard deviation is the amount of

statistical error present in the design

equations due to the variability in the

materials, construction, etc. It

represents the amount of scatter

between predicted performance and

actual performance. To determine the

true value of s0 requires knowledge of

the individual s0 values of each

parameter (strength, elasticity, soil

support, etc.). Obtaining this information

is fairly difficult.

P a g e | 31

pavement type are published in the 93

AASHTO Design Guide:

Concrete Pavements:

0.30 < s0 < 0.40

Asphalt Pavements:

0.40 < s0 < 0.50

The actual s0 value for concrete

pavements at the Road Test, where the

conditions were controlled and exactly

known, was 0.25. AASHTO

recommends increasing the s0 value to

account for error in traffic projections.

When lacking better information on the

value of s0 for a particular situation, 0.35

and 0.45 are appropriate values for

concrete and asphalt pavement design,

respectively.

How Reliability Works

Understanding reliability requires

understanding the design curve and its

relationship to the performance curve. In

Figure 20, the performance curve

represents the average pavement

performance at the AASHO Road Test.

The AASHTO concrete pavement

design equation defines its shape and

its intersection with the various PSl

levels for all combinations of concrete

sections tested at the Road Test. This

curve passes through the average Road

Test PSl values and represents a

reliability level of 50 percent.

32 | P a g e

Performance Curve to Obtain a Design

Curve

The design curve is offset from the

performance curve based on the

specified reliability chosen by the user.

Essentially, the design curve is shifted

from the performance curve by an

amount equal to s0 multiplied by the

standard normal deviate (ZR) for a given

level of reliability (ZR is the standard

normal deviate for the normal

distribution at a given value of

reliability).

How ZR Relates to R

ZR is the degree of offset from the

average PSl value, as shown in Figure

21. Basically, it describes the area

under the curve, which is the probability

of success or failure. Using statistics

and the standard normal distribution

curve, the ZR value is selected so that

the percentage of the area enclosed by

the curve is the desired level of

reliability, R (the area to the right of the

offset).

(ZR) Values Corresponding to

Selected Levels of Reliability

The engineer selects the appropriate ZR

value after choosing the desired level of

reliability. For example, a 50% level of

reliability corresponds to a ZR of 0.0

(50% of the area under the curve is to

the right of the average or mean value).

At a higher level of reliability (e.g., 95%)

the appropriate ZR value is chosen so

that 95 percent of the area under the

curve is to the right of the average

value.

An engineer can choose ZR values for

any desired reliability. ZR values are

available in most statistics textbooks.

Typical values used for pavement

design are shown in Table 13.

Once the R and s0 values are known,

the offset between the design and

performance curve is established.

The end result is basically a load safety

factor or a multiplier of the allowable

ESALs. The predicted design ESALs in

the AASHTO equation are multiplied by

the safety factor in order to ensure the

design performance is met.

Reliability (R), %

Standard Normal

Deviate (ZR)

50

0.000

75

-0.674

80

-0.841

90

-1.282

95

-1.645

97

-1.881

99

-2.327

99.9

-3.090

designed at 50 percent reliability, the

predicted design ESALs are multiplied

by a safety factor of 1.0 (no safety

factor). When designed at 80%

reliability, the predicted ESALs are

multiplied by a safety factor of 1.97.

Essentially, the pavement will be able to

carry about 100 percent more ESALs

than the predicted design ESALs. A

pavement with a 95 percent level of

reliability will, on average, carry about

3.75 times more ESALs than that for

which it is designed (e.g., the predicted

ESALs using all the same inputs but a

reliability of 50% such that the AASHO

performance curve is followed).

For more information on reliability, see

Chapter 4 in the 1993 AASHTO

Pavement Design Guide.

P a g e | 33

The AASHTO design procedure is an

iterative process. It requires the

designer to know the volume and types

of axle loads, the desired terminal

serviceability (pt), an estimate of the

required pavement thickness, etc. If you

do not have a "feel" for the probable

range of thicknesses for your design

traffic, start with a concrete surface

course thickness of 9 in. (230 mm).

After determining the design pavement

thickness using the estimated values,

the designer should check the results

against the ESAL calculations. If the

assumed pavement thickness is within

five percent of the design pavement

thickness, the results are reasonable.

However, if the computed pavement

thickness is greater than five percent,

the design ESALs should be

recalculated using the last design

thickness, and the whole design re-run.

In practice, ESAL recalculation will

probably not significantly affect the new

pavement thickness. However, the

iterative process is technically correct.

Sensitivity Analysis

One of the frequent pieces of

information missing in a pavement

design is which variables will most

influence the required thickness. Figure

22 shows the change in thickness over

the typical range of each design

variable. These graphs illustrate the

relative importance of each variable and

how a change in each design input will

affect the final design for this set of

inputs.

34 | P a g e

steep slope in the graph, the required

thickness is sensitive to changes in that

variable. If the slope is relatively flat, the

required thickness is not very sensitive

to the variable.

The baseline design for generation of

the plots in Figure 22 was:

Reliability (R): 80%

Overall standard deviation (s0):

0.34

Modulus of rupture (Sc): 600 psi

(4.14 MPa)

Modulus of elasticity (Ec):

4,000,000 psi (27.6 MPa)

Load transfer (J): 3.2 (e.g.,

doweled w/o edge support)

Modulus of support (k-value): 200

psi/in. (54 MPa/m)

Drainage Coefficient: 1.0

Initial Serviceability: 4

Terminal Serviceability: 2

required concrete pavement thickness

of 9 in. (230 mm).

It is important to note that, while the

general trends will remain true, the

magnitude in change of required

thickness shown in these sensitivity

plots is unique to this set of inputs.

used, ZR would have been zero and the ZR*s0

term will drop from the AASHTO concrete

pavement design equation. In such cases, as is

the case with analysis of an existing pavement,

the thickness is completely unchanged by

changes in the overall standard deviation.

Figure 22. Charts Illustrating the Sensitivity of each Variable in the AASHTO Design

Equation on Design Thickness (in inches)

P a g e | 35

effect on the required thickness are

reliability, load transfer, drainage

coefficient, and flexural strength. It is

critical that proper thought be given to

each of these variables in the design.

Under- or over-estimating their actual

value can impact the design greatly.

The least sensitive variables are the

standard deviation and concrete

modulus of elasticity.

While the designer might investigate the

sensitivity of the design on variables

such as load transfer, drainage

coefficient, standard deviation and

initial/final serviceability, many of these

variables typically are standardized

based on local practice and experience.

Thus, the remaining design variables

oftentimes are the focus of a designer

who is looking to optimize the design.

Most of the effects shown in the

reliability sensitivity chart do occur over

a small range of very high reliability

levels (e.g., 95% to 99.9%); at levels

below 95%, the impact of reliability

drops considerably. For this reason,

caution is recommended when deciding

what reliability factor to use. When

choosing a high reliability, all the design

procedure does is increase the

thickness. However, most concrete

pavements do not fail because of

inadequate thickness; rather, they

typically fail because of poor jointing or

material problems. Therefore, using a

high reliability can cause the design to

be overly conservative.

36 | P a g e

and modulus of elasticity go hand-inhand. If the designer chooses to

increase the flexural strength to see if

the required thickness can be

decreased, the modulus of elasticity

must also be increased because

stronger concrete mixtures generally

also are more rigid. Regardless, the

designer should consider ancillary

effects of increased strength (e.g.,

fracture toughness typically is

decreased [and, thus, crack propagation

occurs more quickly] in stronger, stiffer

concrete mixtures).

For most designers, the k-value is the

design element in concrete pavement

design that tends to garner the most

focus when the goal is to optimize the

pavement structure. However, as can be

seen on the chart, composite k-value

has relatively little impact on the

required thickness.

From a design perspective **, an

engineer really only needs to know if the

pavement is going to be built on the

natural subgrade (k-value 100 psi/in.

**

subgrade is unimportant. For concrete

pavements, the most important objective of the

subgrade support is that it be uniform throughout

the pavement's life. Proper subgrade design

and construction are absolutely necessary if the

pavement is to perform. Likewise, poor

subgrade/subbase preparation cannot be

overcome with thickness increases. Any

concrete pavement, of any thickness, will have

problems on a poorly designed and constructed

subgrade or subbase. For more information on

subgrades and subbases, see ACPAs EB204P,

Subgrades and Subbases for Concrete

Pavements.

subbase (k-value 150 psi/in. [40

MPa/m]), an asphalt-treated subbase (kvalue 200 psi/in. [54 MPa/m]), a

cement-treated subbase (k-value 250

psi/in. [68 MPa/m]), or a lean concrete

subbase (k 500 psi/in. [125 MPa/m]).

Any changes in thickness that may

result from a better estimate of the

actual k-value, due to better

information, are most likely not worth

the effort/cost. It is better to

concentrate on other design inputs.

Summary

There have been many welcome

additions in the 1993 Design Guide,

such as the improved overlay and lowvolume road design. However, items

that the concrete industry feels are still

in question include:

Loss of Support Factor was the primary

failure mode of rigid pavement sections

in the Road Test. Many of the failed

sections were the result of the migration

and pumping of subbase fines from

underneath the pavement. Therefore,

loss of support is inherent in the

equation that predicts concrete

pavement performance.

are also inherent in the equation that

predicts concrete pavement

performance because the Road Test ran

year round for several seasons. The

pavements and subgrade materials

underwent seasonal variations during

the testing time. Therefore, the 93

AASHTO Design Guide's recommended

procedure to the adjust subgrade

support for seasonal variation in the

concrete pavement design is

unnecessary.

Traffic Equivalency Factors used in the

design of concrete pavements are not

appropriate for modern pavements.

These factors were established only for

unstabilized subbases. No adjustment

is provided for the now more-common

stabilized support layers. This biases

the results of the ESAL determination in

favor of other pavement types.

For these reasons, the industry heartily

endorses the efforts by AASHTO to

move in the direction of improved

mechanistic methods, such as the

recently released mechanistic- and

empirical-based AASHTO

DARWinMETM.

Guide provide no manner to improve the

support value for non-erodable

subbases. Many modern concrete

pavement designs include such

subbases. It is logical that some factor

should be available for the engineer to

improve the support characterization to

the pavement for a non-erodable base.

P a g e | 37

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