Pavement behaviour evaluation during spring thaw based on the falling weight deflectometer method

University essay from KTH/Transportvetenskap

Abstract: The bearing capacity of a road decreases greatly during spring thaw, when the previously frozen road begins to thaw. The extent of this decrease can be evaluated by making Falling Weight Deflectomter (FWD) measurements on the road, measuring the deflection of the road when an impact load is applied to it. The bearing capacity of the road can then be evaluated by backcalculating the layer modules with backcalculation programs, or through more simple calculations based on the deflection basin indices. Both analyses were carried out in this thesis with data from FWD measurements which were carried out on county road Lv 126 in Southern Sweden during the year 2010. The temperature and moisture content of the road were monitored during the same time. The aim with the thesis was to compare the two ways of analyses, and to find out if there is some relationship between them and the measured environmental data. The results showed that the base course layer and subbase decreased in stiffness during spring thaw about 50% while the decrease in the subgrade was 20%, compared to the backcalculated summer and autumn value. The results of the simple calculations from the deflection basin indices were well comparable to the backcalculation results. By comparing the backcalculated stiffness values to the moisture content measurements it was stated that the stiffness decreased as the moisture content increased.  

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