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Intelligent Compaction Control of Highway Embankment Soil in Kansas
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  • Abstract:
    Mechanistic pavement design procedures based on elastic layer theory require characterization of pavement layer materials including subgrade soil. This paper discusses the subgrade stiffness measurements obtained from a new compaction roller for compaction control on highway embankment projects in Kansas. Three test sections were compacted using a single, smooth steel drum intelligent compaction (IC) roller that compacts and simultaneously measures stiffness values of the compacted soil. Traditional compaction control measurements such as, density, in-situ moisture content, soil stiffness measurements using soil stiffness gage, surface deflection tests using the Light Falling Weight Deflectometer (LFWD) and Falling Weight Deflectometer (FWD), and penetration tests using a Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP), were also done. The results show that the IC roller was able to identify the locations of lower soil stiffness in the spatial direction. Thus the IC roller can be used in proof rolling. IC roller stiffness showed sensitivity to the field moisture content indicating that moisture control during compaction is critical. No universal correlation was observed among the IC roller stiffness, soil gage stiffness, backcalculated subgrade moduli from the LFWD and FWD deflection data, and the California Bearing Ratio (CBR) obtained from DCP tests. The discrepancy seems to arise from the fact that different equipment were capturing response from different volumes of soil on the same test section. Analysis using the newly released Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (M-EPDG) shows that pavement rutting, roughness and asphalt base thickness are significantly influenced by the subgrade strength. “Target” modulus for compaction quality control can also be obtained by this analysis.

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