A mathematical model to evaluate the impact of the maintenance strategy on the service life of flexible pavements
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TitleA mathematical model to evaluate the impact of the maintenance strategy on the service life of flexible pavements
Manuel Ruiz, Luis Ramírez, Fermín Navarrina, Mario Aymerich, and David López-Navarrete, “A Mathematical Model to Evaluate the Impact of the Maintenance Strategy on the Service Life of Flexible Pavements,” Mathematical Problems in Engineering, vol. 2019, Article ID 9480675, 10 pages, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/9480675.
[Abstract:] The structural failure of a flexible pavement occurs when the accumulated fatigue damage produced by all the vehicles that have passed over each section exceeds a certain threshold. For this reason, the service life of pavement can be predicted in terms of the damage caused by the passage of a single standard axle and the expected evolution of traffic intensity (measured in equivalent standard axles) over time. In turn, the damage caused by the passage of an axle depends on the vertical load exerted by the wheels on the pavement surface, as given by the technical standard in application, and the depths and mechanical characteristics of the layers that compose the pavement section. In all standards currently in application, the unevenness of the road surface is disregarded. Therefore, no dynamic effects are taken into consideration and the vertical load is simply given in terms of the static weight carried by the standard axle. However, it is obvious that the road profile deteriorates over time, and it has been shown that the increase in the pavement roughness, when considered, gives rise to important dynamic effects that may lead to a dramatic fall in the expected structural service life. In this paper, we present a mathematical formulation for the fatigue analysis of flexible pavements that includes the effects of dynamic axle loading. A pavement deterioration model simulates the sustained growth of the IRI (International Roughness Index) over time. Time is discretized in successive time steps. For each time step, a road surface generation model provides a profile that renders the adequate value of the IRI. A QHV (Quarter Heavy Vehicle) model provides the dynamic amplification function for the loads exerted on the road surface along a virtual ride. This function is conveniently averaged, what gives the value of the so-called effective dynamic load amplification factor (DLA); this is the ratio between the effective dynamic loading and the static loading at each time step. Finally, the damage caused by the passage of the standard axle can be evaluated in terms of the dynamic loading. The product of this damage times the number of equivalent standard axles gives the total fatigue damage produced in the time step. The accumulated fatigue damage at each moment is easily computed by just adding up the damage produced in all the previous time steps. The formulation has been implemented in the software DMSA (Dynamic & Maintenance Simulation App). This tool has been specifically developed for the evaluation of projects in applications for financing submitted to the European Investment Bank (EIB). DMSA allows for quantifying the expected structural service life of the pavement taking into account both the rise of the dynamic axle loads exerted by the traffic as the road profile deteriorates over time and the different preventive maintenance strategies to be taken into consideration.
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