Using Falling Weight Deflectometer Data with Mechanistic-Empirical Design and Analysis, Volume I: Final Report
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Using Falling Weight Deflectometer Data with Mechanistic-Empirical Design and Analysis, Volume I: Final Report

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  • Abstract:
    The need to accurately characterize the structural condition of existing pavements has increased with the recent development, release, and ongoing implementation of the Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG). A number of different material inputs are required in the procedure, and it is important to adequately characterize and define them. The analysis of deflection data collected by the falling weight deflectometer (FWD) provides a quick and reliable way to characterize the properties of the paving layers as well as to assess the load-carrying capacity of existing pavement structures. With the release of the new MEPDG, there is a pressing need to identify and evaluate the way that FWD testing is integrated into the new design procedure. Moreover, as highway agencies continue to implement the MEPDG, best practices guidance is needed on how to effectively test existing pavement structures and interpret the results as part of a mechanistic-empirical pavement evaluation and rehabilitation process.

    This document is part of a three-volume report investigating the use of the FWD as part of mechanistic-empirical pavement design and rehabilitation procedures. In this volume, general pavement deflection-testing procedures and commonly used deflection analysis approaches and backcalculation programs are reviewed for flexible, rigid, and composite pavement structures. The relevance of the different procedures and approaches to the current MEPDG are explored through examination of six case studies evaluated using FWD testing results in the MEPDG. These six case studies used pavement sections from the Long-Term Pavement Performance database containing adequate design, construction, and testing data results as a means of assessing the way that FWD deflection data are used in the rehabilitation portion of the MEPDG. Based on the case study findings, and on information from the literature, recommendations for continued improvements and developments in the analysis and interpretation of pavement deflection data were developed.

    This is volume I of a three-volume report. The other volumes in the series are FHWA-HRT-16-010, Volume II: Case Study Reports, and FHWA-HRT-16-011, Volume III: Guidelines for Deflection Testing, Interpretation, and Analysis.

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