Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Edwin G. Burdette, Zhongguo John Ma, John D. Landes, Xiang Shu
Loaded wheel tester (LWT) is a common testing equipment usually used to test the permanent deformation and moisture susceptibility of asphalt mixtures by applying moving wheel loads on asphalt mixture specimens. It has been widely used in the United States since 1980s and practically each Department of Transportation or highway agency owns one or more LWT(s). Compared to other testing methods for pavement materials, LWT features movable wheel loads that allow more realistic situations existing on the actual pavement to be simulated in the laboratory. Due to its potential of creating a condition of repetitive loading, the concept of using LWT for characterizing the properties of pavement materials were promoted through four innovative or modified tests in this study.
(1) The first test focuses on evaluating the effect of geogrids in reinforcing pavement base courses. In this test, a base course specimen compacted in a testing box with or without geogrids reinforced was tested under cyclic loading provided by LWT. The results showed that LWT test was able to characterize the improvement of the pavement base courses with geogrids reinforcement. In addition, the results from this study were repeatable and generally in agreement with the results from another independent study conducted by the University of Kansas with similar testing method and base materials.
(2) A simple and efficient abrasion test was developed for characterizing the abrasion resistance of pervious concrete utilizing LWT. According to the abrading mechanisms for pervious concrete, some modifications were made to the loading system of LWT to achieve better simulations of the spalling/raveling actions on pervious concrete pavements. By comparing the results from LWT abrasion tests to Cantabro abrasion tests, LWT abrasion test was proved effective to differentiate the abrasion resistances for various pervious concretes.
(3) Two innovative LWT tests were developed for characterizing the viscoelastic and fatigue properties of asphalt mixtures in this study. In the test, asphalt beam specimens are subjected to the cyclic loads supplied by the moving wheels of LWT, and the tensile deformations of the beam specimens are measured by the LVDTs mounted on the bottom. According to the stress and strain, the parameters associated to the viscoelastic and fatigue properties of the asphalt mixture can be obtained through theoretical analyses.
In order to validate the concepts associated with the above mentioned tests, corresponding conventional tests have also been conducted to the same materials in the study. According to the comparisons between the conventional and the LWT tests, the LWT tests proposed in this study provided satisfactory repeatability and efficiency.
Wu, Hao, "Investigating Properties of Pavement Materials Utilizing Loaded Wheel Tester (LWT). " PhD diss., University of Tennessee, 2011.