Stiffness of Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) in flexible pavement is largely dependent of temperature, mode of testing and age of pavement. Accurate measurement of HMA stiffness is thus quite challenging. This study determines HMA stiffness based on Finite Element Model (FEM) and validates the results using field data. As a first step, stiffnesses of different layers of a pavement section on Interstate 40 (I-40) in New Mexico were determined by Falling Weight Deflectometer (FWD) test. Pavement temperature was not measured at that time due to lack of temperature probe. Secondly, a FE model is developed in ABAQUS. Stiffness of the base, subbase and subgrade were taken from the FWD test output obtained from the first step. As HMA stiffness largely varies with temperature it was assigned trial and error approach. Thirdly, horizontal strain and vertical stress at the bottom of the HMA and temperature at different depths of the pavement were measured with installed sensors on the whole day on December 25th, 2012. Fourthly, outputs of FEM were correlated with measured stress-strain responses. After a number of trials a relationship was developed between the trial stiffness of HMA and measured mid-depth HMA temperature. At last, the obtained relationship between stiffness and temperature is verified by further FWD test when pavement temperature was recorded. A promising agreement between them is observed. Therefore, conclusion can be drawn that linear elastic FEM can accurately predict the stiffness and the structural response of flexible pavement.
This study evaluates the back calculation of stiffness of a pavement section on Interstate 40 (I-40)in New Mexico through numerical analysis. Falling Weight Deflectometer (FWD) test has been conducted on a section on I-40. Layer stiffness of the pavement has been backcalculated by a backcalculation software, ELMOD, using the FWD test data. Commercial finite element software, ABAQUS, has been used to develop the Finite Element Model (FEM) of this pavement section. Geometry and layer thickness are collected from field coring. Input parameters i.e. stiffnesses of different layers of the pavement are used as the backcalculated ones. Resulting surface deflections at different radial distances from the FEM analysis are compared with field FWD deflection values. It shows close agreement between the FEM and FWD outputs. Therefore, the FWD test method can be considered to be a reliable test procedure for evaluating the in situ stiffness of pavement material.