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TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH RECORD 1543

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Performance Evaluation of Asphalt Overlays on Broken and Seated Concrete Pavements

RAJAGOPAL S. ARUDI, ISSAM MINKARAH, KRISHNA KANDULA, AND ARCHANA GOSAIN

Evaluating the effectiveness of breaking and seating concrete pavements prior to asphalt overlay is a subject of great importance for pavement rehabilitation. A number of studies reported that breaking and seating delayed reflection cracking, but some indicated that, after 4 to 5 years, the cracking of the asphalt overlays on broken and seated sections increased and was about the same as in the other sections. Structural analysis of these pavements confirmed a significant loss of structural support. A controlled experimental project in Ohio investigated the effectiveness of breaking and seating jointed reinforced concrete pave- ments before asphalt overlay. Four miles of in-service composite pave- ments carrying heavy traffic were rehabilitated by milling the original asphalt layer, breaking and seating the concrete slabs, and constructing new asphalt overlays. Four more miles of the same sections were con- structed in the same way except for breaking and seating. After 2 1 / 2 years of study, the results confirm the previous findings regarding the effec- tiveness of breaking and seating in delaying reflection cracks and reduc- tion in structural capacity, increase in surface deflection, and loss of flex- ural strength. This study indicates that the type of breaking equipment used and the extent of breaking are the most significant factors affect- ing the performance of these pavements.

In composite pavements, thermal movements of the underlying con- crete slabs at joints and working cracks induce excessive strains in the asphalt concrete (AC) overlay, which results in the development of reflection cracking. The cracks form at the bottom of the asphalt layer, above a joint or a crack, and propagate vertically to the sur- face. Such movements are directly proportional to the length of the slab. This implies that the shorter the length, the better the chance of reducing crack development and, in turn, reflection cracking. Reflection cracks cause early deterioration of the overlay, increase life-cycle costs, and reduce the useful life of the pavement. The intent of pavement cracking and seating is to create concrete pieces that are small enough to reduce horizontal slab movements to a point at which thermal stresses that contribute to reflection crack- ing will be greatly reduced. These pieces should be large enough to maintain the original structural strength of the portland cement con- crete (PCC) pavement and to provide some aggregate interlock. Seating of the broken slabs after cracking is intended to reestablish support between the subbase and the slab. Thorough slab cracking is essential to the success of breaking and seating. The continuity of the PCC slab (and its ability to transmit horizontal slab movement) must be broken to achieve the full poten- tial of the breaking and seating rehabilitation technique.

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Cincin- nati, P.O. Box 210071, Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0071.

PREVIOUS INVESTIGATIONS

A considerable range of performance has been achieved with the

breaking and seating procedure. It is apparent that a properly con- structed section can alleviate (perhaps eliminate in some cases) thermal-related reflective cracking in AC overlays. A performance survey by FHWA found that breaking/cracking and seating (B/C&S) as a rehabilitation alternative should be approached with caution. A significant reduction in reflection crack- ing after 4 to 5 years occurred on only 2 of 22 projects reviewed (1). The University of Illinois surveyed 70 projects in 12 states and found that B/C&S treatment reduced reflection cracking in the early years of the life of the overlay but its effectiveness diminished with age (1,2). Kentucky surveyed and tested 451 lane-miles of B/C&S- treated pavements and found only one section that displayed unex- pected reflection cracking; an analysis of the test section revealed that proper B/C&S had not been achieved. Kentucky reported, “per- formance has been good, and as a result the practice continues rou- tinely” (2). Overall, B/C&S appears to provide benefits by delaying reflec- tion cracking. After 4 to 5 years, the B/C&S sections exhibit approx- imately the same degree of reflection cracks. Pavements on reasonably firm subgrades or bases with cracked pavement sizes of 0.6 to 0.9 m and a 7.6- to 12-cm overlay thickness have performed the best to date. The actual overlay thickness will depend on the expected traffic and other usual design parameters.

PRESENT STUDY: OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE

Since 1984, as one of many pavement rehabilitation alternatives, the

Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), has used fractured slab techniques before asphalt overlays (3). Ten projects with a total length of 63 miles have been rehabilitated with AC overlays after breaking and seating the concrete pavements. Performance studies

of these projects were inconclusive. As a result, there is some dis-

agreement in Ohio, from district to district, about the effectiveness

of this technique. Nevertheless, it is generally believed that the

breaking and seating method is more suitable for plain (nonrein- forced) PCC pavements. Hence, ODOT initiated a study to investi- gate the effectiveness of breaking and seating jointed reinforced concrete pavements (JRCP) before asphalt overlay. Eight sections of in-service composite pavements were selected, each about 1.6 km with AC over JRCP and carrying heavy traffic. Four of these sections were rehabilitated by milling the original AC

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layer, breaking and seating the concrete slabs, and constructing new AC overlays. Four sections adjacent to the break and seat (B/S) sec- tions were rehabilitated in the same way but without breaking and seating the concrete slabs. Performance was evaluated by continuously monitoring the test pavements using deflection measurements and a visual distress survey. This research was performed from 1992 through 1995. This paper presents the details of the testing program and the findings.

TEST SECTIONS

The location and other details of the test sections are presented in Table 1. Core samples of the concrete pavement and soil subgrade were taken from each test section. Tests on concrete cores revealed a large variation in the lab com- pressive strength. Strength values ranged from 20 685 kPa to 52 400 kPa. However, the compressive strength of most samples was between 34 475 kPa and 48 265 kPa. The liquid limit, plasticity index, and sieve analysis test results were used to classify the subgrade soils using the AASHTO Soil Classification System. The subgrade soils from the I-71 site were classified as Type A-4 (silty soils). The soil samples from the SR-4 sections were classified as Type A-6 (clayey soils).

CONSTRUCTION

Construction involved removing the original 7.6-cm asphalt layer, breaking and seating the PCC slabs (only on the B/S sections), and placing an AC overlay. The I-71 sections were overlaid with a 21.6- cm-thick AC overlay in three layers. The SR-4 sections received a 16.5-cm-thick AC overlay, in three layers. The overlay thickness design was made by ODOT engineers using ODOT design proce- dures. In all sections, a 10.2-cm-diameter longitudinal underdrain was installed along the shoulder at a depth of 0.9 m below the top of the concrete pavement. Construction of the AC overlays on the I-71 sections was completed in September 1992, and the overlays on the SR-4 sections were completed in September 1993. The performance of the AC overlays on the I-71 sections were monitored for three winter cycles and on the SR-4 sections for two winter cycles.

TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH RECORD 1543

For about 300 m at the start of breaking and seating, the concrete slabs on one section of I-71 were broken with a 2.4-m, 5440-kg guil- lotine hammer. This section was the passing lane on the northbound lanes between Station 35 00 and Station 88 00. The 2.4-m-wide hammer was dropped at the center of the lane, which is 3.6 m wide. Because the width of the hammer was smaller than the lane, the desired result was not achieved. Hence, use of the 2.4-m-wide hammer was discontinued and further breaking was done with a 1.8- m-wide hammer. Two passes of the 1.8-m-wide hammer were required in each lane to cover the entire 3.6-m width. The hammer was dropped at an interval of 0.45 m in the longitudinal direction. The two sections on SR-4 were broken with a pile hammer on a 0.45- 0.45-m grid. An attempt was made to achieve uniform breakage in each sec- tion; however, most of the pavements broken with the guillotine hammer developed problems where drops overlapped, usually in the middle of the lane. This area was cracked much more than other parts. Breaking with all types of hammers resulted in thor- ough slab cracking, and no additional effort was made to break the reinforcement. Breaking was also more extensive with the pile hammer. About 5 lane-miles of pavement could be broken on each work- ing day with the guillotine hammer, while only about 1 lane-mile was broken when using the pile hammer. Breaking caused some traffic disruption. However, no data were collected on traffic behav- ior through the work zone during the breaking operation. Seating the sections was accomplished with five passes of a 40 350-kg pneumatic roller.

FIELD EVALUATION

Falling weight deflection measurements were made on the original AC surface, on the exposed concrete surface after milling the AC, and periodically on the AC overlay. On each section, 30 to 40 mea- surements were made during each phase. The intensity of transverse cracks on each section was visually observed and recorded in conformity with ODOT’s Pavement Con- dition Rating Manual (4). The location of the cracks was measured with reference to established benchmarks. Crack mapping was per- formed on the original AC surface, on the exposed concrete surface

TABLE 1 Details of Test Sections
TABLE 1
Details of Test Sections

Arudi et al.

TABLE 2

Comparison of Structural Condition of Original Pavement Sections

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of Structural Condition of Original Pavement Sections 57 after milling, and several times after the AC

after milling, and several times after the AC overlay. When the con- crete pavement was exposed, the location of the joints and perma- nent patches was also recorded. Several benchmarks were estab- lished to locate the exact position of cracks, joints, and permanent patches. On the AC overlays, the date when a crack was first noticed was noted along with its location. Also, a photographic record of the condition of the joints and cracks was kept. Many photographs depicting the condition of joints and cracks before overlay and the new cracks in the AC overlay were obtained. These photographs were used to countercheck the location of joints and cracks and to ascertain the severity of the cracks.

COMPARING CONDITION OF ORIGINAL PAVEMENT SECTIONS

Structural Condition

Table 2 provides a comparison of the structural parameters of the control sections and the sections marked for breaking and seating.

Spreadability and maximum deflection values have long been used to define the structural condition of a pavement. Arudi et al. (5) indi- cated that the ratio of W 1 /W 5 can also be used as a good indicator of the structural behavior of the pavement. Table 2 indicates that the dif- ference in structural response with respect to maximum deflection, spreadability, and the W 1 /W 5 ratio between two adjacent sections is very small, indicating the sections were structurally homogeneous.

Surface Condition

Figures 1 through 4 illustrate the extent of reflection cracking in the original pavements. The plots in Figures 1 through 4 indicate that the sections selected are fairly homogeneous from an extent-of- cracking point of view. For comparison, each section was subdi- vided into five equal subsections of about 320 m. In general, about 35 cracks were present in each subsection on I-71. The SR-4 sec- tions had extensive cracks with 60 to 100 cracks in each subsection. In most instances, the cracks were sealed; hence, the severity of the cracks could not be observed.

hence, the severity of the cracks could not be observed. FIGURE 1 I-71, Stations 726 63

FIGURE 1

I-71, Stations 726 63 to 779 43 (crack density along roadway).

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TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH RECORD 1543

58 TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH RECORD 1543 FIGURE 2 I-71, Stations 35 00 to 88 00 (crack density

FIGURE 2

I-71, Stations 35 00 to 88 00 (crack density along roadway).

After milling the original AC layer and exposing the concrete sur- face, the exact location of the cracks and joints with respect to the benchmarks was recorded. More than 80 percent of the slabs had one to three cracks. Rarely were there slabs with four or more cracks. The average spacing of cracks varied from 3 to 9 m. This sur- vey also assisted in establishing how many of the cracks in the orig- inal AC layer were reflected from the joints and how many from the cracks.

PERFORMANCE OF ASPHALT OVERLAYS

A performance evaluation was made by studying the change in structural response and surface characteristics of the pavement sec- tions investigated.

Performance After Winter 1993

Construction of the AC overlay was completed on only 4 miles of I-71 by fall 1992. The completed pavement included control as well

as B/S sections. These sections survived the winter of 1993 without developing any cracks, but the pavement exhibited an increase in deflection characteristics during the first year. The monthly sum- marized station and divisional data available in the climatological data of Ohio (6) were studied for the winter months of the past 10 years. The winter of 1993 was mild with normal temperatures pre- vailing during the entire season.

Performance After Winter 1994

Construction of the AC overlay on SR-4 was completed by fall 1993. As a result, all sections were now available for monitoring. Figures 5 through 8 present changes in the deflection characteristics of the pavements with time. For all the test sections, the breaking and seating procedure resulted in an increased surface deflection, a reduced spreadability, and an increased W 1 /W 5 ratio. The increased surface deflection was from a loss of the flexural strength. The lower spreadability and higher W 1 /W 5 of the B/S pavements indicate a behavior similar to flexible pavements (5). These values on the SR-4 sections, on which a pile hammer was used, were considerably

sections, on which a pile hammer was used, were considerably FIGURE 3 SR-4, Stations 217 00

FIGURE 3

SR-4, Stations 217 00 to 267 00 (crack density along roadway).

Arudi et al.

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Arudi et al. 59 FIGURE 4 SR-4, Stations 105 50 to 160 50 (crack density along

FIGURE 4

SR-4, Stations 105 50 to 160 50 (crack density along roadway).

lower than those on I-71 on which a guillotine hammer was used. This finding was caused by the higher degree of breakage in these sections. The structural response of the sections was fairly consis- tent during the study period. After the winter of 1994, cracking was noticed in all control sections, but only two cracks were noticed in the 4 miles of B/S

but only two cracks were noticed in the 4 miles of B/S FIGURE 5 structural parameters

FIGURE 5

structural parameters with time).

I-71, Stations 726 63 to 779 43 (variation of

sections. These cracks were in areas where the breaking was not done to the desired specifications. All these cracks were of low severity. The I-71 sections were overlaid in the fall of 1992 and the SR-4 sections in the fall of 1993. The I-71 sections survived the winter of 1993 without developing any cracks. However, the winter 1993 was mild, whereas the winter of

However, the winter 1993 was mild, whereas the winter of FIGURE 6 structural parameters with time).

FIGURE 6

structural parameters with time).

I-71, Stations 35 00 to 88 00 (variation of

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60 FIGURE 7 structural parameters with time). SR-4, Stations 217 00 to 267 00 (variation of

FIGURE 7

structural parameters with time).

SR-4, Stations 217 00 to 267 00 (variation of

1994 was very severe. The data collected from weather reports (6) indicate very low temperatures persisting over a long period dur- ing the winter of 1994. The position of the cracks on the AC overlay was compared with the location of joints and cracks in the underlying concrete slabs. A summary of these results is presented in Table 3. Some of the cracks that appeared in the control section are reflected from either joints or cracks in the PCC layer, while others that span both lanes have no relation to the cracking of the underly- ing layer. Core samples taken at the location of the nonreflected cracks indicated cracking in only the top few inches of the AC over- lay. More studies are being conducted to investigate the causes of these additional cracks. Thus, it was concluded that breaking and seating concrete pave- ments delays reflection cracking.

Performance After Winter 1995

All the sections were revisited after the winter of 1995. On average, there were six to eight new cracks on all the control sections. Cracks also appeared on the two B/S sections on I-71. There were no cracks on the B/S sections on SR-4. Figures 1 through 4 and Table 3 present a comparative study of cracks on the control and the B/S sections. It is interesting to observe that the sections bro- ken with the pile hammer have been more successful in delaying cracks than those broken with the guillotine hammer. This finding

TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH RECORD 1543

hammer. This finding TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH RECORD 1543 FIGURE 8 structural parameters with time). SR-4, Stations

FIGURE 8

structural parameters with time).

SR-4, Stations 105 50 to 160 50 (variation of

is obviously caused by the higher degree of breakage achieved with the pile hammer. However, the total number of cracks on the B/S sections is still small compared with the number of cracks on the control sections.

FACTORS THAT SIGNIFICANTLY AFFECTED PERFORMANCE OF AC OVERLAYS

The primary variables introduced in this study are type of equip- ment for breaking and extent of breaking. The other variables pres- ent are traffic volume and AC overlay thickness. Three types of breakers were used. Part of one section on I-71 between Stations 35 00 and 45 00 was broken with a 2.4-m-wide guillotine hammer. The rest of the sections on I-71 were broken with two passes of a 1.8-m-wide guillotine hammer in each lane. The two B/S sections on SR-4 were broken with a pile hammer. Breaking with the 2.4-m-wide hammer did not produce the desired effect. Cracks in the longitudinal direction were hardly vis- ible. The sections broken with the 1.8-m-wide hammer produced cracking in both longitudinal and transverse directions. Breaking was more extensive with the pile hammer compared with sections broken with the guillotine hammer. The pile hammer produced more uniform transverse and longitudinal cracks although pave- ments broken with the guillotine hammer exhibited severe break- ing where drops overlapped, usually in the middle of the lane. Both

Arudi et al.

TABLE 3

Summary of Cracks on AC Overlay

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Arudi et al. TABLE 3 Summary of Cracks on AC Overlay 61 the 1.8-m guillotine hammer
Arudi et al. TABLE 3 Summary of Cracks on AC Overlay 61 the 1.8-m guillotine hammer

the 1.8-m guillotine hammer and the pile hammer produced slab fragments of the desired size. Breaking with all types of hammers resulted in thorough slab cracking, but the reinforcement was dam- aged more by the pile hammer. Breaking and seating concrete pavements before AC overlay had the following effects:

Increase in surface deflection

Reduction in spreadability

Loss of flexural strength

Delay in reflection cracking

Reduction in number of reflection cracks

The difference in the mean values of the structural parameters investigated for the B/S sections and the control sections was found to be statistically significant (5). There is no evidence of higher maximum deflections on sections broken with the pile hammer compared with those broken with the guillotine hammer. The spreadability values of broken and seated pavements were lower than the values for the control sections. Concrete pavements, in general, exhibit higher spreadability than flexible pavements. The lower spreadability of the B/S sections indicates a behavior similar to flexible pavements. The spreadability values of sections on SR-4, on which a pile hammer was used, were considerably lower than those on I-71, on which a guillotine hammer was used. This finding is because of the higher degree of breakage in these sections. Breaking and seating resulted in higher W 1 /W 5 values compared with the control sections. Also, SR-4 sections had very high W 1 /W 5

ratios. This result is to be expected because these sections, broken with the pile hammer, were almost rubblized. Reflection cracking was observed in all the control sections mon- itored in this study. On I-71 sections, the first set of cracks was noticed about 15 months after construction of the AC overlay. On SR-4 sections, cracks were observed within 7 months of AC overlay construction. The cracking in both sections occurred after the severe winter of 1994. No cracking was noticed on any of the broken and seated sections during this time. However, two cracks were noticed on the B/S section on I-71, which was broken with the 2.4-m-wide hammer. This was because the slabs were not broken extensively. Breaking and seating not only delayed cracking on the AC overlays but also resulted in a reduced number of cracks. Traffic intensity, soil type, and AC thickness had no effect on performance with respect to either structural effectiveness or development of reflection cracking. The construction of the I-71 sections was completed in the fall of 1992 while the sections on SR-4 were completed in the fall of 1993. Reflection cracks on the SR-4 section appeared after the first winter, whereas cracks in sec- tions on I-71 did not appear until the second winter. However, the first winter after the completion of I-71 was normal, whereas the 1994 winter was very severe. The early appearance of reflection cracks on control sections of SR-4 is therefore attributed to the severity of the winter of 1994 instead of to the age or thickness of the overlay. It is thus observed that type of breaking equipment and extent of breaking are the most important factors governing the early behav- ior of AC overlays on B/S sections.

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

The following conclusions are drawn on the basis of the results of a 3-year study of a controlled B/S research project.

Breaking and seating delayed reflection cracking on the AC overlays.

The B/S sections exhibited significantly less reflection crack- ing than the control sections.

As observed from the FWD tests, breaking and seating

resulted in loss of structural capacity of the pavement.

Type of breaking equipment and extent of breaking have a significant effect on the performance of AC overlays.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of William F. Edwards and Roger Green of ODOT for their help in conducting this study.

TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH RECORD 1543

REFERENCES

1. Thompson, M. R. NCHRP Synthesis of Highway Practice 144: Breaking/ Cracking and Seating Concrete Pavements. TRB, National Research Council, Washington, D.C., March 1989, 39 pp.

2. Pavement Consultancy Services. Guidelines and Methodologies for the Rehabilitation of Rigid Highway Pavements Using Asphalt Concrete Over- lays. National Asphalt Pavement Association, Beltsville, Md., June 1991.

3. Garnes, A., and B. McQuiston. Pavement Rehabilitation Study on the National Highway System in Ohio: 1992–1993. Ohio Division, FHWA, U.S. Department of Transportation, May 1994.

4. Resource International Inc. Implementation and Revision of Developed Concepts for ODOT Pavement Management Program. Volume 2 of Pave- ment Condition Rating Manual. Report FHWA/OH-89/013. FHWA, U.S. Department of Transportation, Feb. 1987.

5. Arudi, R. S., K. Kandula, I. A. Minkarah, and M. Bhupalam. Categoriza- tion of Asphalt Overlays on Broken and Seated Pavements. In Transporta- tion Research Record 1473, TRB, National Research Council, Washing- ton, D.C., 1995, pp. 131–137.

6. National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, N.C.

The opinions and conclusions expressed in this report are those of the authors. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.

Publication of this paper sponsored by Committee on Flexible Pavement Con- struction and Rehabilitation.