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FINITE-ELEMENT ANALYSES OF FLEXIBLE PAVEMENTS

By Sam Helwany,t Member, ASCE, John Dyer,2 and Joe Leidy3

(Reviewed by the Highway Division)

ABSTRACT: This study illustrates the usefulness of the finite-element method in the analysis of three-layer
pavement systems subjected to different types of loading. The method is capable of simulating the observed
responses of pavements subjected to axle loads with different tire pressures, axle loads with different configu-
rations, and axle loads traveling at different speeds. A variety of material constitutive models such as linear
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elasti~, nonl~n~ar elastic, and vi~coelastic are empl?yed ~n the analyses to describe the behavior of the pavement
matenals. FInite-element modeling of pavements, If validated, can be extremely useful, because it can be used
directly to estimate primary response parameters without resorting to potentially costly field experiments. If
accurate corre~ations between the calculated and the measured primary response parameters can be obtained,
then the analytical model can be used to calculate primary response load equivalency factors, utilizing deflection-
based or strain-based equivalency factor methods.

INTRODUCTION pavement layer, the surface vertical deflection, and the tensile
Pavements are deceptively complex systems, involving the stress in a concrete pavement. A variety of computer programs
interaction of numerous variables. Their performance is influ- are available for the solution of the "boundary value" problem
enced by factors such as material properties, the environment, of a multilayered pavement system. These programs are di-
traffic loading, and construction practices. Pavement design vided into two major categories: (1) finite element; and (2)
procedures depend heavily on empirical relationships based on elastic layer theory. A variety of material constitutive models,
long-term experience and field tests such as the American As- such as linear elastic, nonlinear elastic, viscoelastic, and elasto-
sociation of State Highway Officials (AASHO) Road Test. viscoplastic models, can be employed to describe the behavior
The AASHO Road Test, performed in the late 1950s, is the of the pavement materials.
basis for most pavement design procedures that use the Amer- For validation of the analytical model, the calculated mech-
ican Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials anistic response parameters can be compared with the mea-
(AASHTO) method of equivalency factors. The relationships sured response parameters obtained from field tests like the
between traffic loading and pavement performance obtained ones briefly described in the next section. If accurate corre-
from the AASHO Road Test are recognized to apply only to lations between the calculated and the measured mechanistic
the conditions under which they were developed. Extrapola- response parameters can be obtained, then the analytical model
tion of these relationships to other conditions is quite problem- can be used to directly estimate primary response load equiv-
atic. The relative damage to pavements caused by new vehicle alency factors, using any of the deflection-based or strain-
characteristics and configurations may be very different from based equivalency factor methods, such as the Christison
that caused by the axle loads used at the AASHO Road Test. method (Christison 1986).
There have been a number of attempts to derive new load This paper will illustrate the usefulness of the finite-element
equivalency factors to account for vehicle characteristics and method in the analysis of three-layer pavement systems sub-
other factors not considered in the AASHO Road Test. Many jected to different types of loading. It will be shown that the
of these studies have produced new load equivalency factors method is capable of simulating the observed responses of
that ~e intended to supplement or replace the AASHTO equiv- pavements subjected to axle loads with different tire pressures,
alenCies currently used by most agencies. These methods for axle loads with different configurations, and axle loads trav-
load equivalency factor determination can be divided into two eling at different speeds. A variety of material constitutive
broad categories: (I) empirical methods, which use observed models such as linear elastic, nonlinear elastic, and viscoelastic
loading and distress data to estimate pavement damage; and will be employed in the analyses to describe the behavior of
(2) mechanistic methods, which incorporate pavement mech- the pavement materials.
anistic (primary) response parameters such as stress, strain, or
EFFECTS OF AXLE TYPE, AXLE LOAD, TIRE
deflection to estimate pavement damage.
The mechanistic (primary) response parameters of pave- PRESSURE, VEHICLE SPEED, AND PAVEMENT TYPE
ON PRIMARY RESPONSE LOAD EQUIVALENCY
~ents, required for damage prediction models, can be analyt-
FACTORS
Ically evaluated. These parameters include the vertical strain
on top of the subgrade, the tensile strain at the bottom of the . One way of evaluating the effects of axle type, axle load,
tire pressure~ speed, and pavement type on the load equiva-
'Asst. Prof., The Uniy. of Texas at San Antonio, Diy. of Engrg., 6900 lency factor IS to conduct full-scale tests on instrumented pave-
N. Loop 1604 w., San Antonio, TX 78249-0665. E-mail: helwany@
Yoyagerl.utsa.edu
ment sections. In-situ instrumentation of pavement structures
2Res. AssI., The Uniy. of Texas at San Antonio, Diy. of Engrg., 6900 is a valid ~pproach used to monitor the response of pavements
N. Loop 1604 W., San Antonio, TX. when s':lbJected to various combinations of axle types, axle
'Engrg. Asst., Texas Dept. of Transp., Design DiY., 125 E. 11th St., loads, tire pressures, and speeds. For example, the Federal
Austin, TX 78701. E-mail: jleidy@mailgw.dot.state.tx.us Highway Administration (FHWA) conducted a field study at
Note. Discussion open until March I, 1999. To extend the closing date the pavement testing facility at the Turner-Fairbank Highway
one month, a written request must be filed with the ASCE Manager of
Journals. The manuscript for this paper was submitted for review and
Resear.ch Center to investigate the effects of axle type, axle
possible publication on October 29, 1997. This paper is part of the Jour- load, tire pressure, and speed on the response of two asphalt-
nal of Transportation Engineering, Vol. 124, No.5, September/October, concrete pavement sections (Hudson et al. 1992). In this study,
1998. ©ASCE, ISSN 0733-947X198/oo05-0491-0499/$8.oo + $.50 per three axle types were used, namely, single axle dual tire, tan-
page. Paper No. 16931. dem axle group, and tridem axle group. Three levels of axle
JOURNAL OF TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING / SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1998/491

J. Transp. Eng., 1998, 124(5): 491-499


3-nxle truck

FIG. 1. Strain Cycles for Vehicle, Individual Axles, and Axle Groups for Three-Axle Truck (after Papagiannakls et al. 1992)
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loads were used for each axle type with two inflation pres- FINITE-ELEMENT ANALYSIS
sures. Also, two speeds were used: 8 kmJhr and 72 kmJhr. It Two-Dimensional Analysis
was concluded that the axle load causes by far the most dam-
aging effect. Small additional contributions from increased tire The finite-element method is well suited for analyzing pave-
pressure and from increased speed were not nearly as evident ment-tire interaction problems involving material nonlineari-
as axle load. ties and complex loading. Such analysis proceeds by defining
Another field study was also conducted by the Federal the characteristics of each pavement layer, including linear
Highway Administration to investigate the effects of load, tire elastic, nonlinear, and viscoelastic material characterization.
pressure, and tire type on the response of an asphalt-concrete The finite-element computer program DACSAR (Deformation
pavement section (Bonaquist et al. 1989). Radial and bias-ply Analysis Considering Stress Anisotropy and Reorientation), by
tires were used in this field experiment, with applied load lev- Ohta and Iizuka (1986), is used for this two-dimensional anal-
els of 42 kN, 63 kN, and 85 kN, and inflation pressures rang- ysis, in which small displacement formulation is adopted,
ing from 520 to 970 kPa. The accelerated-loading-facility de- time-independent response is assumed, and the pavement-tire
vice applied wheel loadings to a 10-m-long flexible-pavement interaction is treated as an axisymmetric problem.
test section. It was concluded that the measured pavement re- DACSAR code incorporates three basic element types: (1)
sponses were affected by load and tire pressure, with load the straight beam-column element, with three degrees of free-
having a greater effect. Numerous similar studies have been dom (horizontal and vertical displacements and a rotation) at
reported in the literature, including Christison (1980), Gorge each node; (2) the quadrilateral element, defined by four nodes
with two degrees of freedom (horizontal and vertical displace-
(1984), Roberts et al. (1986), Sharp et al. (1986), Huhtala et
ments) at each node; and (3) the truss element (with no bend-
al. (1998), and Sebaaly and Tabatabaee (1992).
ing resistance).
To study the effects of vehicle speed and axle loads, a field
There are four material models available in DACSAR: (1)
experiment was conducted by Papagiannakis et al. (1992) at
the linear elastic model; (2) the elastoplastic model; (3) the
the instrumented pavement site located on HW-16, north of
elasto-viscoplastic model; and (4) the nonlinear elastic model
Saskatoon, Canada. Two vehicles were tested: a three-axle sin- (modified Duncan model).
gle unit truck and a five-axle semitrailer truck. Each test was
accompanied by a Benkelman Beam truck to provide a ref- Linear Elastic Stress-Strain Behavior
erence axle load. Three vehicle speeds were used: 20, 40, and
The finite-element discretization of a three-layer system
50 kmJhr. Three levels of axle loads were also used in the
experiment. having a 15-cm-thick AC layer, a 25-cm-thick base layer, and

o
This study indicated that the measured tensile strains at the Load=45 kN
bottom of the AC layer exhibited a large sensitivity to vehicle Pressure = 550 kPa
speed. The measured strain at a vehicle speed of 50 kmJhr was r=16 em
roughly tripled at a reduced vehicle speed of 20 kmJhr. Con-
sequently, the calculated load equivalency factors were found I
I
to decrease with increasing vehicle speed. The observed de-
pendency of measured strains on vehicle speed is a clear con-
15-ern thick AC Layer
sequence of the time-dependent behavior of the asphalt con-
crete. The study also indicated that for a given axle load, strain 25-cm thick Base Layer
ratios decreased with increasing vehicle speed, resulting in re-
duced load equivalency factors. Therefore, mechanistic load
equivalency factors should be viewed as speed-dependent.
Papagiannakis et al. (1992) also observed that the damaging
effect of a vehicle was not fully accounted for simply by add-
ing the load equivalency factors of its individual axle groups.
The simple addition of axle groups ignored the strain cycle
between the axle groups, which is shown by the cross-hatched
area in Fig. 1, introducing an "error" in the calculation of the
total load equivalency factor of the vehicle. Furthermore, this
6S<m """ """"" ""I _+,-'---'--'----'---'---'-_ _---'-_ _---'-_ _---'-

error increased with increasing vehicle speed because the un- I


I
loading time between axle groups decreased. Papagiannakis et I

al. (1992) concluded that simply adding the damaging effects Axis of

of axle groups underestimated the damaging effect of a vehi- Symmetry


cle. FIG. 2. Finite-Element Discretization (Axisymmetric)

492/ JOURNAL OF TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING / SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1998

J. Transp. Eng., 1998, 124(5): 491-499


a 65-cm-thick subbase layer, is shown in Fig. 2. The bottom contact pressure equal to the tire pressure. In this analysis, a
of the subbase layer was restrained from any vertical move- unifonn pressure of 550 kPa is applied on a circular contact
ment, implying the presence of a "rigid" subgrade layer under area with a radius of 16 cm, as indicated in Fig. 2. This uni-
the subbase layer. form pressure is caused by an assumed 90-kN axle load, Le.,
The tire-pavement pressure distribution is generally known 45 kN on each wheel.
to be complex and affected by tire type. There are many in- A preliminary analysis, using the finite-element mesh shown
consistencies in the data from various experimental studies in Fig. 2, was conducted to verify the correctness of the finite-
measuring the distribution of contact pressures between tire element discretization, the boundary conditions, and the ap-
and pavement. Simplifying assumptions have been used in the plied load. In this analysis, the three layers were assigned the

o
literature, including the use of a circular contact area with same elastic moduli, transforming the three-layer system into
a simpler one-layer system. The analytical solution of the one-
layer system, using DACSAR, can be checked against the
Uniformly distributed pressure-cireular tire print Boussinesq "close fonn" solution readily available for a uni-
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fonn circular pressure. This comparison, shown in Fig. 3, in-


Circle with r= 16 em dicated the accuracy of the finite element analysis.
To investigate the effects of axle load and tire pressure on
pressure=550 kPa. load=45 kN the behavior of the three-layer system shown in Fig. 2 four
analyses were conducted assuming the loading conditions in-
0
dicated in Table 1. The elastic moduli of the three layers are
10
given in Table 2.
The results of the analyses are summarized in Fig. 4. In the
20 figure, six different parameters were compared, namely, the
vertical displacement at the top of the AC layer, the radial
e
~
30
Q)
TABLE 1. Load Case Designation
u 40 Boussinesq's solution
'£! Load case Load Tire pressure
'"
'"
~
50
Axisymmetric FEM
designation (kN) (kPa)
c (1) (2) (3)
Q)
.&>
60 45
Case 1 550
~
0 70
Case 2 45 830
Case 3 90 550
Case 4 90 830
80

90 TABLE 2. Elastic Moduli for Three Layers

100 Young's modulus Poisson's


0 200 400 600 Layer (kPa) ratio
(1) (2) (3)
Vertical stress below center (kPa)
AC layer 6.89 x 106 0.3
FIG. 3. Stress Distribution under Center of Circular Contact Base layer 0.4 x 106 0.3
Area: Comparison of 2-D Finite-Element Solution with Soussl- Subbase layer 0.0689 x 106 0.3
nesq Solution

~
~
0.60 !v 0.20 3 0.25
e
e ~
0.50 < 0.15 -!! 0.20
~ 0.40
13 '0

%
! 0.30
'0
go
!-o ~ 0.10
~
S ;;; 0.15
~
'iii 0.10
Cl ;I
0.20 .~
] l:l
0.05 'i!" 0.05
Ii ,;;
;;-
0.10
'"
~ 0.00
:'§ 0.00
0.00
case 1 case 2 case 3 case 4 ~ case 1 case 2 case 3 case 4 ~ case 1 case 2 case 3 case 4

(a) (c)
(b)

J ~
! 0.25
iJ
.il
0.60
J
60

50
.ll 0.20
0.50 ~

'0 ~ 0
40
~
.ll
'iii
;;; 0.15
~
'0
~ !B.
'iii
;;;
0.40

0.30
J'al
30
0.10 20
.~ .~ 0.20
~ 10
'" 0.05 '"
il
0.10 ]
~= '0
II 0.00
Ii
;;-
0
case 2
0.00 case 1 case 3 case 4
'" case 1 case 2 case 3 case 4 :> easel ease 2 ease 3 ease 4

(d) (e) (t)

FIG. 4. Parameter Sensitivity Using DACSAR

JOURNAL OF TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING / SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1998/493

J. Transp. Eng., 1998, 124(5): 491-499


strain at the top of the AC layer, the radial strain at the bottom ventional laboratory tests. The techniques used to detennine
of the AC layer, the radial strain at the bottom of the base, the values of the parameters from the results of laboratory tests
vertical strain at the top of the subbase, and the vertical stress are explained in detail by Duncan and Chang (1970).
at the bottom of the base. It is noted from Fig. 4 that all the The finite-element mesh shown in Fig. 2 was used in the
parameters were sensitive to the axle load; however, only the analysis. The AC layer and the subbase layer were assumed
radial strains at the top and the bottom of the AC layer were linear elastic with the elastic moduli given in Table 2. To in-
sensitive to tire pressure [Figs. 4(b and c)]. vestigate the effects of nonlinearity and stress-dependency of
the base material, a well graded gravel base material with 90%
Nonlinear Stress-Strain Behavior relative compaction (OW with RC = 90%) was incorporated
in the analysis. Typical Duncan model parameters for this ma-
To investigate the importance of the nonlinear behavior of terial were given by Duncan et al. (1980). The nonlinear stress-
the granular base layer in a pavement, the finite element com- dependent behavior of this material in triaxial stress conditions
puter program DACSAR, which includes a nonlinear material under three different confining pressures is depicted in Fig. 5.
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model, is used. Small displacement fonnulation, time-indepen- The model parameters of the base material were adjusted
dent response, and axisymmetry are assumed in the analysis. slightly in order to exhibit an initial elastic modulus of 0.4 X
106 kPa, as indicated in Fig. 5, which is consistent with the
Modified Duncan Model elastic modulus of the base material used in the preceding
In this model, the tangent Young's modulus, E" of a soil linear analysis (Table 2). This yielded a direct comparison be-
tween the linear and nonlinear analyses. It is to be noted, how-
element during each load increment is detennined on the basis
of the calculated shear stress level, (CTI - CT3), and the confin- ever, that the nonlinear analysis conducted herein was merely
ing pressure, CT3, in the element to illustrate the effects of material nonlinearity and stress-de-
pendency of a pavement whose linear and nonlinear properties
Rf(1 - sin <I»(CTI - CT3)]2 were chosen arbitrarily. A more elaborate analysis requires that
E,=Ei [ 1- . (1) the nonlinear material parameters be deduced from conven-
2c cos <I> + 2CT3 sm <I>
tional triaxial compression laboratory tests conducted on the
where base material at different confining pressures.
Load "Case 1," which comprised a 45-kN load and 550
E1 = KPa (;:r (2) kPa tire pressure, was reanalyzed using a nonlinear stress-de-

The tangent bulk modulus of a soil element during each load 200
increment is assumed to be a function of the confining pres-
sure, CT3, alone: ~ linear elastic with E=400,OOO IcPa

B, = KJ'a (;:) m (3) 150


! nonlinear elastic with E(inilial)-400,OOO kPa

.I
It is to be noted that <1>, c, K, K b , n, m, and Rf are the
modified Duncan model parameters, each of which bears a
I
special physical meaning in soil mechanics (Duncan et al. 100 _.... - -------
1980). The definitions of these parameters are given in Table
3.
The hyperbolic stress-strain relationships described above
can be used to represent three important characteristics of the
stress-strain behavior of the granular base material: nonlinear- 50
ity, stress-dependency, and inelasticity. The values of the
model parameters may be detennined from the results of con-

TABLE 3. Definition of Duncan Model Parameters 0


0.00 0.25 0.50 0.75 1.00
Symbol Definition
(1 ) (2) Vertical (Axial) Strain, !IIi
c Cohesion intercept (kPa) confining pres. - 3.5 IcPa
<I> Friction angle (degrees)
K Modulus number
n Modulus exponent confIDing pres. = 7 IcPa
Rf Failure ratio
K. Bulk modulus number confining pres. -10 IcPa
m Bulk modulus exponent
FIG. 5. Stress-5traln Behavior of Base Layer

TABLE 4 Comparison between Linear and Nonlinear TINa-Dimensional Analyses


8,
Load Analysis (mm) £RADIAL-AC-TOP £RADIAL-AC-BOTT. £RAD.·BASE·BOTT. £VERT.•SUBBAS-TOP O'VERT.-BABE·BOTT.
(1 ) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)
45 kN (550 kPa) DACSAR (linear base) 0.277 +105 X 10 _ -139 X 10-- -123 X 10-- +291 X 10-- 26.4 kPa
45 kN (550 kPa) DACSAR (nonlinear base) 0.242 +99.6 X 10-· -108 X 10-- -98.3 X 10-- +121 X 10-- 10.6 kPa
Note: 8, = maximum vertical displacement; £RADIAL-AC.TOP = radial strain at top of AC layer; = radial
£RADIAL.AC-BOTT. strain at bottom of AC layer;
£RAD.•BASE-BOTT. = radial strain at bottom of base layer; £VERT.-SUBBAS-TOP = vertical strain at top of subbase layer; O'VERT.•BASE.BOTT.= vertical stress at bottom
of base layer.

494/ JOURNAL OF TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING / SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1998

J. Transp. Eng., 1998, 124(5): 491-499


ts-cm thick AC Layer

2S-cm thick Base Layer


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6S-cm tbick Subbue Layer

FIG. 6. Finite-Element Discretization (Three-Dimensional) for Single-Tire Single-Axle Analyses

pendent base material. The pavement responses were then


compared with the preceding linear analysis of the same load
case, as shown in Table 4. In the nonlinear analysis, the load
D Unifonnly distributed pressure-square tire print
Square with b= 28.4 em
pressure = 550 kPa, load=45 kN
was applied in 100 increments, during which the elastic mod-
uli were updated accordingly. Table 4 indicates that the effects 0
of the nonlinearity and stress-dependency of the base layer in
a pavement can be substantial. 10

20
Three-Dimensional Finite-Element Analysis
S 30
An elaborate finite-element analysis should be capable of 2-
performing accurate predictions of pavement responses includ- 8 40 Boussinesq' s solution
ing deflections, stresses, and strains in the pavement. Deflec- <£l
tion profiles with humps of different magnitude, such as the ~
~ 50
6. 3-Dimensional FEM
one shown in Fig. 1, also need to be generated by the analysis 0
Q;
.0
if correct load equivalency factors are subsequently to be cal- £
60
culated. This indicates that the analysis must be capable of (1) e-
O
simulating "moving" loads at different speeds; and (2) char- 70
acterizing the viscous behavior of pavement materials. Simu- 80
lating moving loads requires three-dimensional analysis. More
complex situations, such as moving multiple loads (e.g., tan- 90
dem group simulation), also require three-dimensional analy-
sis. 100
There are several advantages in using three-dimensional fi- 0 200 400 600
nite-element analysis: (1) three-dimensional finite element Vertical stress below center (kPa)
analysis may substitute for full-scale testing; (2) the analysis FIG. 7. Streas Distribution under Center of Square Contact
may be used to form the basis for generalized comprehensive Area: Comparison of 3-D Finite-Element Solution with Bouasl-
mechanistic design procedures; and (3) the analysis may be nesq Solution
used to validate results from simpler two-dimensional analy-
ses.
6. A uniform pressure of 550 kPa is applied on a 28.4 em by
Single-Axle Single-Tire Simulation 28.4 cm square contact area. This uniform pressure is caused
by an assumed 45 kN wheel load. Because of symmetry, only
The three-dimensional finite-element computer program 1/4 of the contact area is analyzed, as indicated in Fig. 6.
NlKE3D (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) is used Using the finite-element mesh shown in Fig. 6, a prelimi-
for this analysis. The finite-element discretization of a three- nary analysis was conducted to verify the correctness of the
layer system having a 15-cm-thick AC layer, a 25-cm-thick finite-element discretization, the boundary conditions, and the
base layer, and a 65-cm-thick subbase layer is shown in Fig. applied load. In this analysis, the three layers were assigned
JOURNAL OF TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING / SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1998/495

J. Transp. Eng., 1998, 124(5): 491-499


l;
l;
0.60 ~
...l
0.20 3' 0.20
Ii 0.50 U
...:
U
...:
J3
J 0.15 0.15
0.40 J3 'Cl
'Cl
i
Q
0.30

0.20
g.
f-
Oil
'"
~ 0.10 J~
Oil
0.10

."Bl; 0.10
.~
tl
0.05 .~ 0.05
> '" Q
'"
0.00 ~ 0.00 ~ 0.00
case 1 case 2 case 3 case 4 &! case 1 case 2 case 3 case 4 &! case 1 case 2 case 3 case 4

(a) (b) (c)


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~
~
~ .:l!
0.25 0.60 60

~ ~
J3 0.20
0.50
'"'Cl 50
'Cl J3 40
~
~
0.40
~
0
..,~ 0.15
~ M 0
30
&l ~ 0.30
Oil
~
~ 0.10 Oil '"Oil
.9 .~ 0.20 ~ 20
Q tl
J:i
]'"
'"~ 0.05 0.10 '" 10
]
~
0.00 l; 0.00 l; 0
OIl >
case I case 2 case 3 case 4 > case I case 2 case 3 case 4 case 1 case 2 case 3 case 4

(d) (e) (f)


FIG. 8. Parameter Sensitivity Using NIKE3D

the same elastic moduli, transfonning the three-layer system TABLE 5. Loading Conditions for Group Simulation
into a simpler one-layer system. The analytical solution of the Load Group Load Tlre pressure
one-layer system, using NIKE3D, can be checked against the case configuration (kN) (kPa)
Boussinesq "close fonn" solution readily available for a uni- (1 ) (2) (3) (4)
fonn square pressure. This comparison, shown in Fig. 7, in-
Case 5 Single-axle single-tire" 45 550
dicated the accuracy of the finite-element analysis. It is also Case 6 Dual tandem" 45 550
to be noted that, for this simple configuration, the results of
the three-dimensional finite-element analysis, shown in Fig. 7, "See Fig. 9.
are nearly identical to the results of the two-dimensional finite
element analysis shown in Fig. 3. I

To investigate the effects of axle load and tire pressure on Symmetry PIlUle I

the behavior of the three-layer system shown in Fig. 6, four


analyses were conducted, assuming the loading conditions in-
~
dicated in Table 1 and the elastic moduli of the three layers
given in Table 2.
The results of the analyses are summarized in Fig. 8. In the
figure, six different parameters were compared, namely, the
vertical displacement at the top of the AC layer, the radial
strain at the top of the AC layer, the radial strain at the bottom 28.4 em x 28.4 em
of the AC layer, the radial strain at the bottom of the base, the (a)
vertical strain at the top of the subbase, and the vertical stress
at the bottom of the base. It is noted from Fig. 8 that all the Symmetry PlltUl
parameters were sensitive to the axle load. However, only the
longitudinal strains at the top and the bottom of the AC layer ~
I
[Figs. 8(b and c)] were sensitive to tire pressure. I

Group Simulation
I
To investigate the effects of group configuration on the be- I
havior of the three-layer system shown in Fig. 6, two analyses I )iymmetry Pll1f1e
_ _ _ _ _ -l- ~_

were conducted, assuming the loading conditions indicated in 122 em


I
Table 5 and the elastic moduli of the three layers given in I
Table 2. The first analysis involved a single-axle single-tire I
configuration, shown in Fig. 9(a), with a 45-kN load and a tire I
pressure of 550 kPa. The second analysis involved a dual tan-
dem configuration, shown in Fig. 9(b), with a 45-kN load
(11.25 kN per tire) and a tire pressure of 550 kPa. 14.2 em x 14.2 em
The finite-element mesh used for the analysis of Case 5 is
(b)
shown in Fig. 6, whereas the finite-element mesh used for the
analysis of Case 6 is shown in Fig. 10. In both cases, only FIG. 9. Single-Axle Single-Tire Configuration versus Dual-
1/4 of the geometry was analyzed, because of symmetry, as Tandem Configuration: (a) Single Tire; (b) Dual-Tandem

496/ JOURNAL OF TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING / SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1998

J. Transp. Eng., 1998, 124(5): 491-499


15-cm thick AC Layer

25-cm thick Base Layer


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65-cm thick Subbase Layer

z
~x
FIG. 10. Finite-Element Discretization (Three-Dimensional) for Dual-Tandem Analyses

initial pcsition (t=tO) final pcsition (t=t1)


indicated in Figs. 6,9, and 10. The analyses indicated that the r - - - .,
primary response parameters of the pavement caused by the TraveI Direction I I
,,_ ~ . . __, ., __ ..?Y.!nt!!"9 Plane
dual tandem configuration were substantially smaller than I I

those caused by the single tire. For example, the maximum


vertical displacement caused by the dual tandem configuration
Dist =v(tHO) c - - - 1
was approximately 30% less than that caused by the single FIG. 11. Single-Tire Traveling at Constant Speed
tire.

Effects of Viscoelastic Behavior of AC Layer TABLE 6. Viscoelastic Material Parameters for AC Layer
Value
Papagiannakis et aI. (1992) observed the dependency of
Parameter (kPa)
measured pavement strains on vehicle speed-a clear conse-
(1 ) (2)
quence of the time-dependent behavior of the asphalt concrete
under load. They indicated that for a given axle load, strain 5.757 x 10"
2.654 x 10"
ratios decreased with increasing vehicle speed, resulting in re-
1.327 x 10"
duced load equivalency factors. 0.3
To investigate the effects of the viscoelastic behavior of the
AC layer on the behavior of the three-layer system shown in
Fig. 6, two analyses were conducted, assuming two different where p = mean effective stress; K = bulk modulus; and Ev =
vehicle speeds: 8 km/hr and 105 kmJhr. In the analyses, a volumetric elastic strain. The viscoelastic material properties
single-axle single-tire load was assumed to travel along a of the AC layer are listed in Table 6. These material parameters
straight path, as shown in Fig. 11, at a constant prescribed yield an instantaneous response of the viscoelastic layer anal-
speed, ignoring the effects of the dynamic behavior of the ogous to the elastic response of the AC layer given in Table
vehicle. The AC layer was assumed to behave in a viscoelastic 2.
manner in which the deviatoric stress rate, 'OSIj/'Ot, is given by The deformed finite-element mesh (deformation exagger-

8s u = 2
-'
'Ot
i'
0
- 'u) d'T
G(t - 'T) (8e
8t
(4)
ated 500 times for clarity) due to the moving load at three
different stages is shown in Fig. 12. It is noted from the figures
that only 1/2 of the geometry was analyzed because of sym-
where the shear relaxation modulus G(t) is defined by metry. The vertieal stress variation in an element located at
the bottom of the AC layer (under the tire travel path-the
G(t) = G R + (Ga - GR)e-~' (5) marked element in Fig. 12) is shown in Fig. 13 for vehicle
'Oe;/'Ot = deviatoric strain rate; G a = instantaneous shear mod- speeds of 8 kmJhr and 105 krnIhr. These figures illustrate the
ulus; G R = long-term shear modulus; and ~ = decay constant. increase in the vertical stress at the bottom of the AC layer as
The volumetric response of the AC layer is assumed elastic: the tire approaches the element in question, reaching its max-
imum as the tire is directly above the element, and then de-
p = -KE v (6) creasing as the tire recedes. It is to be noted that the maximum
JOURNAL OF TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING / SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1998/497

J. Transp. Eng., 1998, 124(5): 491-499


TABLE 7. Effects of Vehicle Speed on Response Parameters
Speed!
response ez ex ey "'Imax
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
8 kmlhr 0.144 x 10-' 0.1068 X 10-' 0.108 X 10 ' 0.1266 X 10-'
105 kmlhr 0.1221 X 10-' 0.09918 X 10-3 0.1004 X 10-3 0.1114 X 10- 3
Difference 18% 8% 8% 14%

that in the current analyses, the effects of vehicle dynamics


have been ignored and that the viscous parameters of the AC
layer are arbitrary. For a more elaborate analysis of the pave-
ment, the viscous parameters of the AC layer and other pave-
Downloaded from ascelibrary.org by Birla Institute of Technology - Pilani on 12/04/15. Copyright ASCE. For personal use only; all rights reserved.

ment layers should be determined from laboratory tests.

CONCLUSIONS
The primary response parameters of pavement, required in
damage prediction models, can be analytically evaluated using
the finite-element method. The finite-element method is well-
suited for pavement analyses because of its versatility. This
study illustrated the usefulness of such a method in the anal-
ysis of three-layer pavement systems subjected to different
types of loading. The method was able to simulate the ob-
served responses of pavements subjected to axle loads with
different tire pressures, axle loads with different configura-
tions, and axle loads traveling at different speeds. A variety of
material constitutive models, such as linear elastic, nonlinear
elastic, and viscoelastic, were employed in the analyses to de-
scribe the behavior of the pavement materials.
Finite-element modeling of pavements, if validated, can be
FIG. 12. Deformed Finite-Element Mesh Caused by Single Tire
extremely useful, because it can be used directly to estimate
in Motion primary response parameters without resorting to field exper-
iments, which may be costly. For validation of the analytical
160 model, the calculated primary response parameters can be
compared with the measured response parameters obtained
~ 150 from field tests like the ones described earlier. If accurate cor-
relations between the calculated and the measured primary re-
~ 140 sponse parameters can be obtained, then the analytical model
j
u can be used to calculate primary response load equivalency
-< 130 factors, utilizing deflection-based or strain-based equivalency
.!j
....0 factor methods.
EI 120

~ 110 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
"
of!
This study was sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation,
:;; 100 Project Number 1713. The writers thank Dr. Thomas E. Owen, Director,
'"fj Institute of Research in Sciences and Engineering, University of Texas at
l:l
en 90 San Antonio, for providing helpful comments on the manuscript.
~
'2
80
"
:> APPENDIX. REFERENCES
10
0.00 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.10 0.12 0.14 Bonaquist, R., Churilla, C., and Freund, D. (1989). "Effect of load, tire
pressure, and tire type on flexible pavement response." Transp. Res.
Time (Second) Rec. 1227, 97 -106.
Christison, J. T. (1986). "Vehicle weights and dimensions study." Vol.
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Tire Traveling at Different Speeds report, Roads and Transportation Association of Canada, Canada.
Christison, J. T., and Shields, B. P. (1980). "Evaluation of the relative
vertical stress at the bottom of the AC layer corresponding to damaging effects of wide base tire loads on pavements." RTAC Forum,
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a vehicle speed of 8 km/hr was approximately 7% greater than Duncan, J. M., and Chang, C. Y. (1970). "Nonlinear analysis of stress
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J. Transp. Eng., 1998, 124(5): 491-499