Modelling the response of large-size subbase materials tested under varying moisture conditions in a heavy vehicle simulator

Marit Fladvad*, Sigurdur Erlingsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pavement design methods must be able to predict the behaviour of pavement materials at increased moisture levels due to climate changes causing increased precipitation and more intense rainfall events. This paper intends to examine the influence of moisture and gradation on pavement response. An instrumented accelerated pavement test (APT) has been conducted on two thin flexible pavement structures with unbound base course and subbase materials using a heavy vehicle simulator (HVS). The two pavement structures were identical except for the gradation of the subbase material, where one had a 0/90 mm curve with a controlled fines content, and the other had an open-graded 22/90 mm curve. The APT was conducted using constant dual-wheel loading, and three different groundwater (GW) levels were induced in order to change the moisture content in the structures. The HVS was stopped regularly for carrying out response measurements from the instrumentation. The analysis is focussed on the response of the unbound aggregate layers to varying moisture levels in the pavement structure. The increased GW level causes a substantial increase in rutting. Conflicting results are found regarding the development of stresses and strains throughout the APT. Two models, linear elastic and non-linear elastic, is employed to model the responses from the pavement structures.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRoad Materials and Pavement Design
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Other keywords

  • accelerated pavement testing
  • groundwater table
  • heavy vehicle simulator
  • pavement response
  • Unbound granular materials
  • water content


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