Using Falling Weight Deflectometer Data with Mechanistic-Empirical Design and Analysis, Volume II: Case Study Reports
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Using Falling Weight Deflectometer Data with Mechanistic-Empirical Design and Analysis, Volume II: Case Study Reports

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      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, six case studies—flexible pavement, flexible pavement on rubblized portland cement concrete (PCC), rigid pavement on granular base, rigid pavement on stabilized base, rigid pavement on existing flexible pavement, and composite (hot-mix asphalt (HMA) over PCC pavement)—were used to evaluate how FWD deflection data are used in the rehabilitation portion of the MEPDG. The case studies used data from in-service pavements. Specifically, deflection data and backcalculation results were used to characterize the existing HMA, PCC, stabilized and unstabilized bases, and aggregate and subgrade properties in the MEPDG design program. Laboratory testing results were compared with FWD results, and the final designs were found to be relatively insensitive to the differences in characterization of existing layer inputs.

      This is volume II of a three-volume report. The other volumes in the series are FHWA-HRT-16-009, Volume I: Final Report, and FHWA-HRT-16-011, Volume III: Guidelines for Deflection Testing, Interpretation, and Analysis.

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