Dynamic Properties of Earth Material during Rolling Compaction

The rolling compaction of earth material for roadway construction is one of the primary construction activities to prepare subgrade and build embankment, base, and subbase of highways. Current standards of state highway agencies require contractors to build uniform pavement structural layers, but with no means to check and quantify it continuously. Usually, the typical sampling of every 1000 ft. for dry density and moisture content as quality assurance tests at selected point locations is expected to represent the entire section. The implementation of intelligent compaction technology has the potential to address this problem. Roller Integrated Compaction Monitoring (RICM) [i.e., intelligent compaction (IC) or continuous compaction control (CCC)] refers to the compaction of road materials, including subgrade soils, aggregate bases, stabilized materials, and asphalt-paving materials, using modern rollers equipped with an integrated IC or CCC measuring system. The technology continuously records the roller's location and reaction to layer stiffness and plots the result during compaction operations, so the field-generated data and plots can provide useful information for quality control/‌quality acceptance (QC/QA) of compaction operations. However, the current intelligent compaction technology depends solely on the roller measurement values (MVs), which "are a composite reflection of typical base, subbase, and subgrade structures with a surface to top-of-subgrade thickness of less than approximately 1 m (3.3 ft.)." The roller MVs are also "influenced by layer thickness, relative stiffness of layers, vibration amplitude, and drum/‌soil interaction issues." These characteristics have become an obstacle for the further advancement and implementation of IC technology. Possible solutions to overcome this obstacle require a better understanding of the dynamic properties of earth material during rolling compaction. Such an understanding is essential to advance the current IC technology and make it implementable to maximize benefits for highway construction. In order to achieve this objective, a laboratory testing procedure that simulates rolling compaction should be identified or developed, and the testing procedure should be verified and validated with various earth materials. Through a comprehensive laboratory study, parameters that can better reflect the properties of earth material during rolling compaction can be identified. These parameters should be measurable during the field rolling compaction to improve or modify current integrated IC or CCC measuring systems. There is a big difference in response to rolling compaction between un-compacted and compacted earth materials. Loose earth materials will be compacted and structured by absorbing the compaction energy (work) exerted by rolling compaction through the change of internal microstructure. Limited studies indicate that the ability of earth materials to absorb external energy is affected by the material types, conditions, and environment. This capability of earth materials can be investigated through unsaturated/‌saturated soil mechanics. Finally, this study will be of paramount importance for understanding the dynamic properties of various earth materials during rolling compaction. The objective of the research is to identify or develop a laboratory testing procedure that simulates rolling compaction of earth materials in order to study their properties during this dynamic process. Based on the study findings, recommendations to improve current IC technologies are expected. The improved IC technology should be able to measure the properties of a layer being compacted. It can be predicted that deformation or deflection measurements on compacted layers might be needed in addition to resistance. Therefore, this study should evaluate and compare various available in-situ measuring mechanisms. Prototype development for this study should seek the participation of manufacturers. Building uniform pavement structural layers has always been the desire of highway engineers as it will secure a long pavement service life. Improving the construction quality of earth materials in highway construction will help in realizing this desire and have a fundamental impact on highway engineering since it will allow state highway agencies to use highway funds more cost effectively. The successful execution of this study will make IC technology a more suitable tool for state highway agencies to continuously check and quantify the compaction quality of earth material. It will promote and expedite the implementation of intelligent compaction technology in highway construction so a better construction quality can be achieved. Therefore, the potential for a payoff from the achievement of project objectives is significant and cannot be overestimated.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 24-45

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Reynaud, David

  • Start Date: 20141111
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 37531

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01543194
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 24-45
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 12 2014 1:00AM