Implementation Of A Mechanistic- Empirical Pavement Design Method For Uruguayan Roadways
Scavone LaSalle, Martin
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Mechanistic-Empirical (M-E) methods are the cornerstone of current pavement engineering practice because of their enhanced predicting capabilities. Such predicting power demands richer input data, computational power, and calibration of the empirical components against distress measurements in the field. In an effort to spearhead the transition to M-E design in Uruguay, the aim of this Project is twofold: (1) develop an open-source, MEPDG-based, simplified M-E tool for Uruguayan flexible pavements [Product-One], and (2) compile a library of Uruguayan input data for design [Product-Two]. A functional, Matlab-based beta version of Product-One with default calibration parameters and a first collection of Uruguayan input data are presented herein. The Product-One beta is capable of designing hot-mix asphalt (HMA) structures over granular bases on top of the subgrade. Product-Two features climate information from the INIA weather station network, traffic distribution patterns for select Uruguayan highways, standard-based (Level-3) HMA properties, and Level-3 and Level-2 unbound materials' parameters. Product-One's outcomes were against other available M-E software, as a means to test the code's performance: Product-One reported a distress growth similar to CR-ME (MEPDG-based) on default calibration parameters but different to MeDiNa (calibrated core). In conclusion, Product-One managed to perform like another MEPDG-based software under the same design inputs and constraints, accomplishing one of this Thesis' objectives. However, Product-Two could not be created to the initially-desired extent. Nevertheless, the author remains confident that significant leaps forward can be made with little extra effort and further research on M-E design can be encouraged from this project.
General Audience Abstract
The design of pavement structures historically relied on methodologies developed after experimental results, the so-called “empirical methods”. Advances in technology over the recent years allowed for more complex but more reliable methods – the mechanistic-empirical (M-E) methods – to finally be adopted by practitioners both in the US and abroad. In an effort to encourage the transition to M-E design in Uruguay, this project aimed at developing an open-source M-E design tool for Uruguayan flexible pavements based on the American MEPDG design methodology [Product-One], and assembling a library of Uruguayan data necessary for design with such an M-E method [Product-Two]. In this project, a beta version of the Product-One design tool for the design of asphalt-surfaced pavements and a collection of climate, traffic distribution, and materials’ properties data from Uruguayan sources for design is presented (load information was not available for this project); this Thesis is the log of the data collection effort as well as the guide to using and understanding all the components of Product-One. In addition, Product-One has been tested by comparing its pavement design results for a given Uruguayan highway against other M-E design software tools: MeDiNa and CR-ME. Product-One’s outcomes resembled the results given by CR-ME (also MEPDG-based) but differed with those from MeDiNa (crafted specifically for design of Brazilian roads). In conclusion, Product-One managed to perform like another MEPDG-based design tool under the same inputs and constraints, accomplishing one of this Thesis’ objectives. However, some of the Uruguayan information sought for could not be retrieved and so added to Product-Two. Anyway, the author remains confident that both Products can be significantly improved with little extra effort and that this project may encourage further research on M-E design.
- Masters Theses