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Characteristics of Dynamic Triaxial Testing of Asphalt Mixtures
AuthorUlloa Calderon, Alvaro E.
AdvisorHajj, Elie Y.
Civil and Environmental Engineering
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Due to the increasing traffic loads and tire pressures, a serious detrimental impact has occurred on flexible pavements in the form of excessive permanent deformation once the critical combination of loading and environmental conditions are reached. This distress, also known as rutting, leads to an increase in road roughness and ultimately jeopardizes the road users' safety.The flow number (FN) simple performance test for asphalt mixtures was one of the final three tests selected for further evaluation from the twenty-four test/material properties initially examined under the NCHRP 9-19 project. Currently, no standard triaxial testing conditions in terms of the magnitude of the deviator and confining stresses have been specified. In addition, a repeated haversine axial compressive load pulse of 0.1 second and a rest period of 0.9 second are commonly used as part of the triaxial testing conditions. The overall objective of this research was to define the loading conditions that created by a moving truck load in the hot mixed asphalt (HMA) layer. The loading conditions were defined in terms of the triaxial stress levels and the corresponding loading time. Dynamic mechanistic analysis with circular stress distribution was used to closely simulate field loading conditions. Extensive mechanistic analyses of three different asphalt pavement structures subjected to moving traffic loads at various speeds and under braking and non-braking conditions were conducted using the 3D-Move model. Prediction equations for estimating the anticipated deviator and confining stresses along with the equivalent deviator stress pulse duration as a function of pavement temperature, vehicle speed, and asphalt mixture's stiffness have been developed. The magnitude of deviator stress and confining stress were determined by converting the stress tensor computed in the HMA layer at 2" below pavement surface under a moving 18-wheel truck using the octahedral normal and shear stresses. In addition, the characteristics of the loading pulse were determined by best-fitting a haversine wave shape for the equivalent triaxial deviator stress pulse.The tandem axle was proven to generate the most critical combination of deviator and confining stresses for braking and non-braking conditions at 2 inches below the pavement surface. Thus, this study is focused on developing the stress state and pulse characteristics required to determine the critical conditions on HMA mixtures under the loading of the tandem axle. An increase of 40% was observed in the deviator stress when braking conditions are incorporated. A preliminary validation of the recommended magnitudes for the deviator and confining stresses on a field mixture from WesTrack showed consistent results between the flow number test results and field performance.Based on laboratory experiments, the critical conditions of different field mixtures from the WesTrack project and also lab produced samples at different air-voids levels were determined. The results indicate that the tertiary stage will occur under the FN test when a combination of a critical temperature and a given loading conditions for specific air voids content occurs.