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Pavements:

There are two types of pavements based on design considerations i.e. flexible pavement
and rigid pavement. Difference between flexible and rigid pavements is based on the
manner in which the loads are distributed to the subgrade.

Before we differentiate between flexible pavements and rigid pavements, it is better to


first know about them. Details of these two are presented below:

Flexible Pavements:
Flexible pavement can be defined as the one consisting of a mixture of asphaltic or
bituminous material and aggregates placed on a bed of compacted granular material of
appropriate quality in layers over the subgrade. Water bound macadam roads and
stabilized soil roads with or without asphaltic toppings are examples of flexible
pavements.

The design of flexible pavement is based on the principle that for a load of any magnitude,
the intensity of a load diminishes as the load is transmitted downwards from the surface
by virtue of spreading over an increasingly larger area, by carrying it deep enough into
the ground through successive layers of granular material.

Fig: Flexible Pavement Cross-section

Thus for flexible pavement, there can be grading in the quality of materials used, the
materials with high degree of strength is used at or near the surface. Thus the strength
of subgrade primarily influences the thickness of the flexible pavement.

Composition and Structure of Flexible Pavements


Flexible pavements support loads through bearing rather than flexural action. They
comprise several layers of carefully selected materials designed to gradually distribute
loads from the pavement surface to the layers underneath.
The design of flexible pavements ensures the load transmitted to each successive layer
does not exceed the layer’s load-bearing capacity. A typical flexible pavement section is
shown in Figure 1. Figure 2 depicts the distribution of the imposed load to the subgrade.

The various layers composing a flexible pavement and the functions they perform are described below:
a) Bituminous Surface (Wearing Course). The bituminous surface, or wearing course, is made
up of a mixture of various selected aggregates bound together with asphalt cement or
other bituminous binders.
This surface prevents the penetration of surface water to the base course; provides a
smooth, well-bonded surface free from loose particles, which might endanger aircraft or
people; resists the stresses caused by aircraft loads; and supplies a skid-resistant
surface without causing undue wear on tires.

b) Base Course. The base course serves as the principal structural component of the
flexible pavement. It distributes the imposed wheel load to the pavement foundation,
the subbase, and/or the subgrade.
The base course must have sufficient quality and thickness to prevent failure in the
subgrade and/or subbase, withstand the stresses produced in the base itself, resist
vertical pressures that tend to produce consolidation and result in distortion of the
surface course, and resist volume changes caused by fluctuations in its moisture
content.

The materials composing the base course are select hard and durable aggregates, which
generally fall into two main classes: stabilized and granular. The stabilized bases
normally consist of crushed or uncrushed aggregate bound with a stabilizer, such as
Portland cement or bitumen.

The quality of the base course is a function of its composition, physical properties, and
compaction of the material.

c) Subbase. This layer is used in areas where frost action is severe or the subgrade soil is
extremely weak. The subbase course functions like the base course. The material
requirements for the subbase are not as strict as those for the base course since the
subbase is subjected to lower load stresses. The subbase consists of stabilized or
properly compacted granular material.
d) Frost Protection Layer. Some flexible pavements require a frost protection layer. This
layer functions the same way in either a flexible or a rigid pavement.
e) Subgrade. The subgrade is the compacted soil layer that forms the foundation of the
pavement system. Subgrade soils are subjected to lower stresses than the surface,
base, and subbase courses. Since load stresses decrease with depth, the controlling
subgrade stress usually lies at the top of the subgrade.
The combined thickness of subbase, base, and wearing surface must be great enough to
reduce the stresses occurring in the subgrade to values that will not cause excessive
distortion or displacement of the subgrade soil layer.

Fig 1: Typical flexible pavement structure

Fig 2: Distribution of load stress in flexible pavement


Types of Pavements
There are two types of pavements based on design considerations i.e. flexible pavement
and rigid pavement. Difference between flexible and rigid pavements is based on the
manner in which the loads are distributed to the subgrade.
Before we differentiate between flexible pavements and rigid pavements, it is better to
first know about them. Details of these two are presented below:

Flexible Pavements
Flexible pavement can be defined as the one consisting of a mixture of asphaltic or
bituminous material and aggregates placed on a bed of compacted granular material of
appropriate quality in layers over the subgrade. Water bound macadam roads and
stabilized soil roads with or without asphaltic toppings are examples of flexible
pavements.

The design of flexible pavement is based on the principle that for a load of any magnitude,
the intensity of a load diminishes as the load is transmitted downwards from the surface
by virtue of spreading over an increasingly larger area, by carrying it deep enough into
the ground through successive layers of granular material.

Fig: Flexible Pavement Cross-section

Thus for flexible pavement, there can be grading in the quality of materials used, the
materials with high degree of strength is used at or near the surface. Thus the strength
of subgrade primarily influences the thickness of the flexible pavement.

Rigid Pavements
A rigid pavement is constructed from cement concrete or reinforced concrete slabs.
Grouted concrete roads are in the category of semi-rigid pavements.

The design of rigid pavement is based on providing a structural cement concrete slab of
sufficient strength to resists the loads from traffic. The rigid pavement has rigidity and
high modulus of elasticity to distribute the load over a relatively wide area of soil.
Fig: Rigid Pavement Cross-Section

Minor variations in subgrade strength have little influence on the structural capacity of a
rigid pavement. In the design of a rigid pavement, the flexural strength of concrete is
the major factor and not the strength of subgrade. Due to this property of pavement,
when the subgrade deflects beneath the rigid pavement, the concrete slab is able to
bridge over the localized failures and areas of inadequate support from subgrade
because of slab action.

Difference between Flexible Pavements and Rigid Pavements


Sl.
Flexible Pavement Rigid Pavement
No.

It consists of a series of layers


It consists of one layer Portland
with the highest quality
1. cement concrete slab or
materials at or near the surface
relatively high flexural strength.
of pavement.

It reflects the deformations of It is able to bridge over localized


2. subgrade and subsequent layers failures and area of inadequate
on the surface. support.

Its stability depends upon the Its structural strength is provided


3. aggregate interlock, particle by the pavement slab itself by its
friction and cohesion. beam action.

Pavement design is greatly


Flexural strength of concrete is a
4. influenced by the subgrade
major factor for design.
strength.
It distributes load over a wide
It functions by a way of load
area of subgrade because of its
5. distribution through the
rigidity and high modulus of
component layers
elasticity.

Temperature variations due to


Temperature changes induce
change in atmospheric
6. heavy stresses in rigid
conditions do not produce
pavements.
stresses in flexible pavements.

Flexible pavements have self


Any excessive deformations
healing properties due to
occurring due to heavier wheel
7. heavier wheel loads are
loads are not recoverable, i.e.
recoverable due to some
settlements are permanent.
extent.

Rigid Pavements:
A rigid pavement is constructed from cement concrete or reinforced concrete slabs.
Grouted concrete roads are in the category of semi-rigid pavements.

The design of rigid pavement is based on providing a structural cement concrete slab of
sufficient strength to resists the loads from traffic. The rigid pavement has rigidity and
high modulus of elasticity to distribute the load over a relatively wide area of soil.
Fig: Rigid Pavement Cross-Section

Minor variations in subgrade strength have little influence on the structural capacity of a
rigid pavement. In the design of a rigid pavement, the flexural strength of concrete is
the major factor and not the strength of subgrade. Due to this property of pavement,
when the subgrade deflects beneath the rigid pavement, the concrete slab is able to
bridge over the localized failures and areas of inadequate support from subgrade
because of slab action.

COMPOSITION AND STRUCTURE OF RIGID PAVEMENT


Rigid pavements normally use Portland cement concrete as the prime structural
element. Depending on conditions, engineers may design the pavement slab with plain,
lightly reinforced, continuously reinforced, prestressed, or fibrous concrete. The concrete
slab usually lies on a compacted granular or treated subbase, which is supported, in
turn, by a compacted subgrade. The subbase provides uniform stable support and may
provide subsurface drainage. The concrete slab has considerable flexural strength and
spreads the applied loads over a large area. Figure 1 illustrates a typical rigid pavement
structure. Rigid pavements have a high degree of rigidity. Figure 2 show how this
rigidity and the resulting beam action enable rigid pavements to distribute loads over
large areas of the subgrade. Better pavement performance requires that support for the
concrete slab be uniform. Rigid pavement strength is most economically built into the
concrete slab itself with optimum use of low-cost materials under the slab.

Fig 1: Typical rigid pavement structure


Fig 2: Transfer of wheel load to foundation in rigid pavement structure

a) Concrete Slab (Surface Layer). The concrete slab provides structural support to the
aircraft, provides a skid-resistant surface, and prevents the infiltration of excess surface
water into the subbase.
b) Subbase. The subbase provides uniform stable support for the pavement slab. The
subbase also serves to control frost action, provide subsurface drainage, control swelling
of subgrade soils, provide a stable construction platform for rigid pavement construction,
and prevent mud pumping of fine-grained soils. Rigid pavements generally require a
minimum subbase thickness of 4 inches (100 mm).
c) Stabilized Subbase. All new rigid pavements designed to accommodate aircraft weighing
100,000 pounds (45,000 kg) or more must have a stabilized subbase. The structural
benefit imparted to a pavement section by a stabilized subbase is reflected in the
modulus of subgrade reaction assigned to the foundation.
d) Frost Protection Layer. In areas where freezing temperatures occur and where frost-
susceptible soil with a high ground water table exists, engineers must consider frost
action when designing pavements. Frost action includes both frost heave and loss of
subgrade support during the frost-melt period. Frost heave may cause a portion of the
pavement to rise because of the nonuniform formation of ice crystals in a frost-
susceptible material (see Figure 3). Thawing of the frozen soil and ice crystals may
cause pavement damage under loads. The frost protection layer functions as a barrier
against frost action and frost penetration into the lower frost-susceptible layers.
Fig 3: Formation of ice crystals in frost-susceptible soil

e) Subgrade. The subgrade is the compacted soil layer that forms the foundation of the
pavement system. Subgrade soils are subjected to lower stresses than the surface and
subbase courses. These stresses decrease with depth, and the controlling subgrade
stress is usually at the top of the subgrade unless unusual conditions exist. Unusual
conditions, such as a layered subgrade or sharply varying water content or densities,
may change the locations of the controlling stress. The soils investigation should check
for these conditions. The pavement above the subgrade must be capable of reducing
stresses imposed on the subgrade to values that are low enough to prevent excessive
distortion or displacement of the subgrade soil layer.
Since subgrade soils vary considerably, the interrelationship of texture, density,
moisture content, and strength of subgrade material is complex. The ability of a
particular soil to resist shear and deformation will vary with its density and moisture
content. In this regard, the soil profile of the subgrade requires careful examination. The
soil profile is the vertical arrangement of layers of soils, each of which may possess
different properties and conditions.

Soil conditions are related to the ground water level, presence of water-bearing strata,
and the properties of the soil, including soil density, particle size, moisture content, and
frost penetration. Since the subgrade soil supports the pavement and the loads imposed
on the pavement surface, it is critical to examine soil conditions to determine their effect
on grading and paving operations and the need for underdrains.

Difference between Flexible Pavements and Rigid Pavements:


Flexible Pavement Rigid Pavement
It consists of a series of layers with the It consists of one layer Portland cement
1. highest quality materials at or near the concrete slab or relatively high flexural
surface of pavement. strength.
It reflects the deformations of subgrade It is able to bridge over localized failures and
2.
and subsequent layers on the surface. area of inadequate support.
Its stability depends upon the aggregate
Its structural strength is provided by the
3. interlock, particle friction and
pavement slab itself by its beam action.
cohesion.
Pavement design is greatly influenced Flexural strength of concrete is a major factor
4.
by the subgrade strength. for design.
It functions by a way of load It distributes load over a wide area of
5. distribution through the component subgrade because of its rigidity and high
layers modulus of elasticity.
Temperature variations due to change
Temperature changes induce heavy stresses in
6. in atmospheric conditions do not
rigid pavements.
produce stresses in flexible pavements.
Flexible pavements have self healing Any excessive deformations occurring due to
7. properties due to heavier wheel loads heavier wheel loads are not recoverable, i.e.
are recoverable due to some extent. settlements are permanent.
There are various methods of flexible pavement design such as empirical and semi-
empirical methods. Flexible pavement design by semi-empirical method is discussed in
this article.

When a flexible pavement is subjected loading, the stress is maximum at the top layer
of pavement. This stress transmits to another layer by point to point contact. Design of
flexible pavement is done to bear the all stresses subjected on the top layer.

Flexible Pavement Design by Semi Empirical Method


Following are the semi empirical methods for flexible pavement design

o Triaxial test method


o Burmister’s method

Triaxial Test Method of Flexible Pavement Design


In this method triaxial test is conducted on soil specimen under 160kN/m2 of lateral
pressure. Hence modulus of elasticity is calculated from stress strain curve. Traffic
coefficient X and saturation coefficient Y are introduced in this method. These are
multiplied with the load system to get the total pavement thickness.
Total pavement thickness by triaxial test method

Where P = wheel load

= design deflection = 0.25cm

E = elasticity modulus

X = traffic coefficient

Y = saturation coefficient

The recommended values of X and Y values with respect to Average Daily Traffic (ADT)
and average annual rainfall are tabulated below.

ADT (number) Traffic coefficient X

40-400 ½

401-800 2/3

801-1200 5/6

1201-1800 1

1801-2700 7/6

2701-4000 8/6
4001-6000 9/6

6001-9000 10/6

9001-13500 11/6

13501-20000 12/6

Average annual rainfall (cm) Saturation coefficient (Y)

38-50 0.5

51-64 0.6

65-76 0.7

77-90 0.8

91-100 0.9

101-127 1.0

Burmister’s Method of Flexible Pavement Design


Burmister introduced a semi empirical method for the design of flexible pavements. In
this method, he considered pavement as number of layers. And some assumptions are
considered which are as follows:

o The material in each layer is homogeneous


o The material is isotropic
o The material is elastic in nature
o Contact between the layers is continuous
o Unloaded top layer is free from normal and shearing stresses
o The surface layer is infinite in length (horizontal direction) and finite in depth (vertical direction).
o The underlying layers are infinite in both directions.

Burmister given the deformation equations for both flexible and rigid pavements by
considering the poisons ratio of soil and pavement material to 0.5.
For flexible pavements

For rigid pavements

Where, p = uniform pressure

a = radius of plates

F2 = deflection factor
Es = modulus of the subgrade soil.
Deflection factor is dependent of ratio of modulus of subgrade soil to the modulus of
pavement material. So, from the below graph we can select the value of deflection
factor corresponding to the ratio of base layer thickness to the radius of load that is h/a.
Procedure of Flexible Pavement Design by Burmister’s Method
In the Burmister’s design process, firstly conduct plate bearing test on the soil. The
diameter of plate used is 30cm. now determine the modulus of subgrade soil. In the
next step, determine the deflection factor from the below formula

After obtaining the deflection factor from above formula, now select the value of ratio of
modulus of subgrade soil to the modulus of pavement material (E s/Ep) for the given value
of (h/a ratio from the graph.
Now for the design load (P) and tire pressure (p) determine the contact radius (a) from
the below formula.

And again, find the new value of deflection factor F2 for the design deflection value

Where = 0.25cm or 0.5cm.

For the obtained values of new deflection factor and Es/Ep ratio, select the appropriate
h/a ratio from the above graph. And finally, by substituting contact radius (a) in h/a
ratio we can get the value of base layer thickness (h).

COMPOSITION AND STRUCTURE OF RIGID PAVEMENT


Rigid pavements normally use Portland cement concrete as the prime structural
element. Depending on conditions, engineers may design the pavement slab with plain,
lightly reinforced, continuously reinforced, prestressed, or fibrous concrete. The concrete
slab usually lies on a compacted granular or treated subbase, which is supported, in
turn, by a compacted subgrade. The subbase provides uniform stable support and may
provide subsurface drainage. The concrete slab has considerable flexural strength and
spreads the applied loads over a large area. Figure 1 illustrates a typical rigid pavement
structure. Rigid pavements have a high degree of rigidity. Figure 2 show how this
rigidity and the resulting beam action enable rigid pavements to distribute loads over
large areas of the subgrade. Better pavement performance requires that support for the
concrete slab be uniform. Rigid pavement strength is most economically built into the
concrete slab itself with optimum use of low-cost materials under the slab.

Fig 1: Typical rigid pavement structure

Fig 2: Transfer of wheel load to foundation in rigid pavement structure

a) Concrete Slab (Surface Layer). The concrete slab provides structural support to the
aircraft, provides a skid-resistant surface, and prevents the infiltration of excess surface
water into the subbase.
b) Subbase. The subbase provides uniform stable support for the pavement slab. The
subbase also serves to control frost action, provide subsurface drainage, control swelling
of subgrade soils, provide a stable construction platform for rigid pavement construction,
and prevent mud pumping of fine-grained soils. Rigid pavements generally require a
minimum subbase thickness of 4 inches (100 mm).
c) Stabilized Subbase. All new rigid pavements designed to accommodate aircraft weighing
100,000 pounds (45,000 kg) or more must have a stabilized subbase. The structural
benefit imparted to a pavement section by a stabilized subbase is reflected in the
modulus of subgrade reaction assigned to the foundation.
d) Frost Protection Layer. In areas where freezing temperatures occur and where frost-
susceptible soil with a high ground water table exists, engineers must consider frost
action when designing pavements. Frost action includes both frost heave and loss of
subgrade support during the frost-melt period. Frost heave may cause a portion of the
pavement to rise because of the non-uniform formation of ice crystals in a frost-
susceptible material (see Figure 3). Thawing of the frozen soil and ice crystals may
cause pavement damage under loads. The frost protection layer functions as a barrier
against frost action and frost penetration into the lower frost-susceptible layers.

Fig 3: Formation of ice crystals in frost-susceptible soil

e) Subgrade. The subgrade is the compacted soil layer that forms the foundation of the
pavement system. Subgrade soils are subjected to lower stresses than the surface and
subbase courses. These stresses decrease with depth, and the controlling subgrade
stress is usually at the top of the subgrade unless unusual conditions exist. Unusual
conditions, such as a layered subgrade or sharply varying water content or densities,
may change the locations of the controlling stress. The soils investigation should check
for these conditions. The pavement above the subgrade must be capable of reducing
stresses imposed on the subgrade to values that are low enough to prevent excessive
distortion or displacement of the subgrade soil layer.
Since subgrade soils vary considerably, the interrelationship of texture, density,
moisture content, and strength of subgrade material is complex. The ability of a
particular soil to resist shear and deformation will vary with its density and moisture
content. In this regard, the soil profile of the subgrade requires careful examination. The
soil profile is the vertical arrangement of layers of soils, each of which may possess
different properties and conditions.
Soil conditions are related to the ground water level, presence of water-bearing strata,
and the properties of the soil, including soil density, particle size, moisture content, and
frost penetration. Since the subgrade soil supports the pavement and the loads imposed
on the pavement surface, it is critical to examine soil conditions to determine their effect
on grading and paving operations and the need for underdrains.

Flexible Pavement ESAL Equation


At first glance, this equation looks quite complex – it is.

Where: W = axle applications inverse of equivalency factors (where W18 = number of 18,000 lb (80 kN)
single axle loads)
Lx = axle load being evaluated (kips)
L18 = 18 (standard axle load in kips)
L2 = code for axle configuration
1 = single axle
2 = tandem axle
3 = triple axle (added in the 1986 AASHTO Guide)
x = axle load equivalency factor being evaluated
s = code for standard axle = 1 (single axle)

G= a function of the ratio of loss in serviceability at time, t, to the potential loss


taken at a point where pt = 1.5
pt = “terminal” serviceability index (point at which the pavement is considered to be at the end of
its useful life)

b=
function which determines the relationship between serviceability
and axle load applications
SN = structural number

Example Calculation for a Single Axle


 Assumptions: Single axle, 30,000 lb (133 kN), SN = 3, pt = 2.5
 Answer: (Table D.4, p. D-6, 1993 AASHTO Guide) = 7.9
 Calculations

where : W18 = predicted number of 18,000 lb (80 kN) single axle load applications,
W30 = predicted number of 30,000 lb (133 kN) single axle load applications,
Lx = L30 = 30
L2x = 1 (single axle)
G = serviceability loss factor

b30 = curve slope factor

and G/b30 = -0.2009/4.388 = -0.04578

b18 =

G/b18 = -0.2009/1.2204 = -0.1646

Thus,

and
of W18 loads allowable with a 30,000 lb. single axle

Finally, LEF =
(same as contained in 1993 AASHTO Guide ?nbsp;Appendix D)

—-

Example Calculation for a Tandem Axle


 Assumptions: Tandem axle, 40,000 lb (133 kN), SN = 5, pt = 2.5
 Answer: (Table D.5, p. D-7, 1993 AASHTO Guide) = 2.08
 Calculations

where : L40 = 40 (tandem axle)


L18 = 18 (single axle)
L2x = 2 (tandem axle)
L2s = 1 (single axle)
G = serviceability loss factor

b40 = curve slope factor

and G/b40 = -0.2009/0.53824 = -0.37325

b18 =

G/b18 = -0.2009/0.50006 = -0.40175

Thus,

Finally, LEF =
(same as contained in 1993 AASHTO Guide nbsp;Appendix D)

Rigid Pavement ESAL Equation


At first glance, this equation looks quite complex – it is.

Where: W = axle applications inverse of equivalency factors (where W18 = number of 18,000 lb (80 kN)
single axle loads)
Lx = axle load being evaluated (kips)
L18 = 18 (standard axle load in kips)
L2 = code for axle configuration
1 = single axle
2 = tandem axle
3 = triple axle (added in the 1986 AASHTO Guide)
x = axle load equivalency factor being evaluated
s = code for standard axle = 1 (single axle)
G= a function of the ratio of loss in serviceability at time, t, to the potential loss
taken at a point where pt = 1.5
“terminal” serviceability index (point at which the pavement is considered to be at the end of its
pt =
useful life)

b= function which determines the relationship between serviceability


and axle load applications
D = Slab Depth in inches

Example Calculation
 Assumptions: Single axle, 30,000 lb (133 kN), D = 7 in., pt = 2.5
 Answer: (Table D.13, p. D-15, 1993 AASHTO Guide) = 7.7
 Calculations

where : W18 = predicted number of 18,000 lb (80 kN) single axle load applications
W30 = predicted number of 30,000 lb (133 kN) single axle load applications
Lx = L30 = 30
L2x = 1 (single axle)
G = serviceability loss factor
=

b30 = curve slope factor


=

and G/b30 = -0.1761/5.7298 = -0.03073

b18 =

G/b18 = -0.1761/1.3709 = -0.12845

Thus,

and
of W18 loads allowable with a 30,000 lb. single axle
Finally, LEF =
(same as contained in 1993 AASHTO Guide âcol Appendix D)