Effects of support system on behavior and performance of continuously reinforced concrete pavement
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Support systems including base and subgrade layers play a pivotal role in manifesting and maintaining acceptable behavior and performance of continuously reinforced concrete pavement (CRCP). In Texas, especially, use of non-erodible stabilized base layers have been recommended to prevent failures of the CRCP related with pumping and erosion of the support materials. The non-erodible base materials, however, have given high initial construction cost of the rigid pavements. For this reason, it has been desired to decrease the construction cost with acceptable long-term performance of the pavement system. The primary objective of this study is to determine acceptable combination of support properties and concrete slab thickness satisfying not only adequate structural ability but also construction expense. For this purpose, field support conditions were investigated using Falling Weight Deflectometer (FWD), Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP), and static plate load test in phase one. Previously developed support analysis models for rigid pavement design were examined using finite element analysis method, which model could more accurately express field support behavior. Also, effects of each support properties including base thickness, elastic modulus of base material, and subgrade k-value were mechanistically identified on composite k-value, and a method selecting optimum combinations of the support properties completing desired composite k-value was developed in phase two. Also, CRCP behavior were examined under not only diverse structural and material conditions of the support system but also the CRCP slab thickness and transverse crack spacing due to temperature and vehicle wheel loading conditions in phase three. In phase four, maximum critical stress induced in the CRCP slab was evaluated under various combinations of support conditions and slab thickness. Effects of the support properties and the slab thickness on the critical stress in the CRCP slab were mechanistically identified, and the factor with the greatest effect was verified. Moreover, regression equations were developed to estimate the maximum critical stresses for various support properties and the CRCP slab thickness under temperature and wheel loadings. In phase five, a guideline determining optimum combination of support properties and slab thickness were proposed as aspect of initial construction cost of the CRCP.