Improved Data for Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design for Concrete Pavements

The mechanistic-empirical design process is a major change from previously utilized pavement design methods. Researched and developed over the past several decades, mechanical and statistical models incorporated into the Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (M-EPDG) have resulted in a state-of-the-practice tool for analysis and design of pavements. The M-EPDG has been incorporated into the commercially available AASHTOware Pavement ME Design software program, which is currently utilized by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) for analysis and design of North Carolina pavements. Many local (North Carolina) inputs for flexible pavements were determined through testing supporting the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) "Local Calibration of the M-EPDG Using Pavement Management Systems (FHWA Report No. HIF-11026, 2010)." M-EPDG calibration for concrete pavements using local materials has not yet been performed, although some Pavement ME Design inputs for concrete pavements can be reasonably assumed using information from past projects and other resources. Thermal inputs for concrete pavements in Pavement ME Design include coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), heat capacity, and thermal conductivity. It has been shown that the CTE value of concrete is very influential in the performance of concrete pavements, with higher values of CTE linked to early age cracking, higher curling stresses, and premature joint deterioration. Significant variation in values of concrete CTE exists, and the variation has been highly attributed to the type, origin, and geographic location of aggregates. Coarse aggregate type has been shown to be particularly influential in the CTE of concrete. Although not as influential as CTE on pavement performance, heat capacity and thermal conductivity of concrete are also inputs to Pavement ME, and these values also vary with changes in aggregate type and mixture proportioning. Sustainability initiatives in the concrete and cement industry have led to the development of Portland limestone cement (PLC). PLC with limestone replacements up to 15% have been utilized successfully in Canada and in Europe. Use of PLC in the United States is limited, although laboratory studies and pilot projects in several states have shown promising performance. NCDOT has recently decided to allow PLC in concrete mixtures in future construction. However, the performance of PLC concrete mixtures incorporating locally available materials has not been evaluated. The purpose of this research will be to perform testing on a variety of concrete mixtures using representative aggregates from across North Carolina to determine Pavement ME Design inputs (including thermal inputs such as CTE, heat, capacity, and thermal conductivity) and other concrete material properties and performance data that are useful to NCDOT. To accomplish this, representative coarse aggregates from the mountain, piedmont, and coastal regions of North Carolina will be obtained and characterized. A range of concrete mixture designs for pavements will be developed and tested, utilizing ordinary portland cement (OPC), PLC, supplementary cementitious materials, and fine aggregates available for use in North Carolina concrete pavement mixtures. Since NCDOT is currently utilizing Pavement ME Design, and has also moved towards releasing a specification that allows use of PLCs, timely updates will be provided to NCDOT via Interim Reports. These Interim Reports will include test results and recommended Pavement ME Design inputs as they become available during the project. Ultimately, a catalog of concrete characteristics will be developed for use by NCDOT as inputs in the Pavement ME Design software. The results of this study will be directly implementable by NCDOT and other stakeholders using the Pavement ME Design software for design and analysis of North Carolina concrete pavements. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte seeks funding of $230,555 for the proposed twenty-four month research study. The accelerated project schedule is proposed to deliver necessary data and recommendations to NCDOT so that they may be available to support ongoing concrete pavement design initiatives, as well as NCDOT's decision to allow PLC.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $229955.00
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    North Carolina Department of Transportation

    Research and Development
    1549 Mail Service Center
    Raleigh, NC  United States  27699-1549
  • Project Managers:

    Kadibhai, Mustansir

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of North Carolina, Charlotte

    Department of Engineering Technology
    9201 University City Boulevard
    Charlotte, NC  United States  28233
  • Principal Investigators:

    Tempest, Brett

    Cavalline, Tara

  • Start Date: 20140816
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20160815
  • Source Data: RiP Project 37089

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01536005
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: North Carolina Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: 2015-03
  • Files: RiP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Aug 28 2014 1:01AM