Moisture sensitive and stress dependent behavior of pavement unbound materials from in situ falling weight deflectometer tests

Publisher's full text
Farhad Salour

In an instrumented flexible pavement with subsurface drainage system, a field study was performed to investigate the influence of water on the response of the pavement structure. The drainage system of the structure was clogged during a three-month period, allowing the groundwater to rise and the structure to undergo high moisture conditions. Thereafter the drainage was reopened allowing the structure to approach its previous draining hydrological state. Along with subsurface groundwater level and moisture content monitoring, the structural response of the pavement was studied by conducting frequent Falling Weight Deflectometer tests with multilevel loads. The stress sensitivity of the unbound layers and the influence of moisture on their stiffness were studied using the data with an effort to determine the unbound materials nonlinear parameters through a backcalculation algorithm. The groundwater level rose rapidly after the drainage was clogged. It significantly affected the overall stiffness of the pavement structure and the backcalculated stiffness of the unbound layers decreased as their moisture content increased. It was further observed that the unbound layers exhibited stress-dependent behavior to multilevel loads. The subgrade showed stress-softening response in unsaturated condition and stress-independent behavior in saturated state. The granular layer exhibited stress-hardening behavior. Backcalculation of the unbound nonlinear parameters according to the universal extended k-? model revealed that the k1 parameter decreased with increasing moisture content for both the unbound granular layer and the unsaturated fine grained subgrade material.

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