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Lec 29, Ch.20, pp.

990-1007: AASTHO flexible

pavement design method (objectives)

Know the factors considered in the AASHTO

design method
Become familiar with use of Tables 20.13a and
b through 20.18 and Figures 20.15 through
Know how the structural numbers are used in
thickness determination
Become thoroughly familiar with the structural
design process of the AASHTO flexible
pavement design method
What we discuss in class today

Design considerations
Use of tables and figures related to the
factors considered
Structural design procedure
Design considerations for the
AASHTO Flexible Pavement Design
The following factors are considered in the pavement thickness

Pavement performance
Roadbed soils (subgrade material)
Materials of construction
Pavement performance
Structural Cracking, faulting, raveling, etc.
Functional Riding comfort (measured in terms of
roughness of pavement.)

Serviceability Performance: Measured by PSI Present

Serviceability Index with scale 0 to 5.
5 Just constructed
4.2 Initial PSI (pi)

PSI Terminal PSI (pt)

2.5 to 3.0 for major highways
2.0 for lower class highways
0 Road closed 1.5 for very special cases
In the AASHTO flexible pavement design, traffic is considered in terms of
ESAL for the terminal PSI (Table 20.13 for pt = 2.5.)
You must assume the structural number of the pavement. So, you must
check if the final SN3 is similar to the assumed SN. Higher SN means stronger
pavement, thus the impact of traffic on pavement deteriorations is less.
Roadbed soils (Subgrade material)

CBR (California Bearing Ratio), R-value (Resistance), and

Mr (Resilient modulus) are used to describe the property of the
subgrade material.
During the structural design, only Mr values are used. The
following conversion formulas are used if either CBR or R-
values are given.

Mr (lb/in2) = 1500 x CBR for fine-grain soils with soaked CBR of 10 or less.
Mr (lb/in2) = 1000 + 555 x (R-value) for R <= 20
Materials of construction (Subbase), a 3
Charts are available to convert the properties of pavement
construction materials to structural numbers: a3, a2, and a1

Use CBR, R-value, or Mr

to find a3 values
Structural number of
the subbase, a3
Materials of construction (Base course), a 2

Use CBR, R-value, or Mr
to find a2 values
Structural number of
the base course, a2
Materials of construction (AC surface), a 1


Structural number of
the AC surface, a1

= Resilient modulus, Mr
Step 1 Environment
Temperature and rainfall
affect the level of strength of the
subgrade, reflected on the value
of resilient modulus. AASHTO
developed a chart that helps you
to estimate the effective roadbed
soil resilient modulus using the
serviceability criteria (in terms
of relative damage, uf.)
Determine the average uf.
value and obtain Mr from the
chart or the equation of uf. .
The bar on the right is used
twice: Once to read uf value for
Step 2 each months sample Mr, then to
read annual average Mr using the
Step 3 average uf value.

The effect of drainage on the performance of flexible pavements

is considered with respect to the effect water has on the strength of
the base material and roadbed soil.
This effect is expressed by the drainage coefficient, mi. This
value is dependent on the drainage quality and the percent of time
pavement structure is exposed to moisture levels approaching
Definition of drainage quality and finding
recommended mi values

Time required to
drain the
base/subbase layer to
Step 1 50% saturation.

If Fair and 30%

exposure, then mi
is 0.80.

Step 2
The reliability factor (FR) is computed using:
The Reliability design level (R%), which determine assurance levels that
the pavement section designed using the procedure will survive for its
design period (it is a z-score from the standard normal distribution
the standard deviation (So) that accounts for the chance variation in the
traffic forecast and the chance variation in actual pavement performance
for a given design period traffic, W18.
log10 FR Z R S o Why do we have a negative sign here? Are ZR values
negative? Why not ZRSo! Well the clue is in Eq. 20-13 and
the bell curve shown below.
One-sided Z- SD, So
score is used
here. Flexible 0.40-0.5
Fail Survive
Rigid 0.30-0.40
Structural design
The object of the design using the AASHTO method is to determine a flexible
pavement SN adequate to carry the projected design ESAL.
The method discussed in the text (Example 20-8) applies to ESALs greater
than 50,000 for the performance period. The design for ESALs less than this is
usually considered under low-volume roads.
log10 W18 Z R S o 9.36 log10 SN 1 0.20
log10 PSI /( 4.2 1.5)

0.40 1094 /( SN 1)5.19 Where,
2.32 log10 M r 8.07
SN a1 D1 a2 D2 m2 a3 D3 m3

Simplify this as f(W18) = f(ZRSo) + f(SN)

We will keep the ESAL value constant and try to prove whether ZR must be
negative or not. Note that So and SN are always positive. Standard deviation
is always positive because it is a physical difference from the mean value,
and SN is also positive because it means pavement thickness.
Solving the riddle of the negative values of ZR
f(W18) = f(ZRSo) + f(SN)

ESAL is an estimated value. It may actually more or less. In the design formula,
however, the ESAL value is set to a constant. Then to make sure the pavement survive,
you have to have a thicker one than the thickness that the estimated ESAL requires. To
make that happen in the design formula, we need to subtract a value from the RHS.
Hence, the reliability factor must be negative. The only way to make ZRSo smaller is to
have a negative value of Z because S is always positive.
How to use Fig. 20.20 to get structural
numbers based on Eq. 20.13
For subbase, For base course,
Mr=13,500 Mr=31,000

SN1= 2.6

This line is for the SN3= 4.4

subgrade in Example
SN2= 3.8
20-8. This line has nothing to do
Mr=1500*6=9000 with Example 20-8.
Once SN value is set, thickness design begins
SN a1 D1 a2 D2 m2 a3 D3 m3
SN1 a1 D1
Proceed in SN 2 a1 D1 a2 D2 m2
this direction
SN 3 a1 D1 a2 D2 m2 a3 D3 m3
Use Fig.20.15 for a3, Fig.20.16 for a2, Fig.20.17 for a3, and Tab. 20.14 and
20.15 m2 and m3. Find the depth that results in a SN value close to the SN
value obtained from Fig. 20.20.
Example 20-8
Given: Parameter values:
ESAL = 2 x 106 Reliability level (R ) = 99%
from Tab. 20.16
One week for water to be drained
Standard Deviation (So) = 0.49,
Saturation level moisture exposure
= 30% of the time Table 20.16, p.973

ACs Mr at 68Fo = 450,000 lb/in2 Initial serviceability, pi = 4.5

CBR of base course =100, Mr = Terminal serviceability, pt = 2.5

31,000 lb/in2 Drainage mi values = 0.8 for
CBR of subbase =22, Mr = 13,500 Fair category in Tab. 20.14 and
Greater than 25% category in
Tab. 20.15
CBR of subgrade = 6, Mr =
1500CBR= 6*1500 = 9000 lb/in2
Rural interstate