Asphalt layer rutting performance prediction tools

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Denis Jelagin
Xiaohu Lu
Safwat F. Said

Flexible pavement rutting due to permanent deformation accumulation in asphalt layers is one of the most common modes of road failures. In addition to creating high maintenance costs, rutting is a major concern for traffic safety, as the rut development increases the risk of hydroplaning and introduce difficulties in vehicle steering. In this context, accurate methodologies for pavement rutting performance prediction are crucial for decision support in pavement design and rehabilitation. In particular, better rutting performance models are needed to evaluate, new asphalt materials as well as to evaluate the impact of different vehicle types on roads’ service life.

The main goal of this report is to present a summary of the existing asphalt rutting performance prediction tools. The present review is limited to available and/or frequently referred to tests and models with an established link to field rutting performance. Accordingly, models focusing solely on permanent deformation on the material level are beyond the framework of the present study.

Road structure and its materials, heavy vehicle parameters and climate affecting rutting accumulation in the field are identified. Their significance has been evaluated based on the experimental and numerical findings reported in the literature. Several rutting performance prediction models recently proposed in the literature are summarized along with the material characterization tests used in the models. The reviewed models’ capability to quantify the influence of various structural, material and traffic parameters on the pavement’s rutting performance is examined.

It is concluded that implementation of rutting performance models incorporating experimentally measured viscoelastic and permanent deformation properties of asphalt mixtures is a promising way to improve the accuracy of pavement performance predictions. In particular since they allow the effect of novel materials, e.g. polymer-modified, on the pavement’s rutting performance to be quantified.

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