|dc.description.abstract||In 2007, the Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) was successfully approved as the new American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) pavement design standard (Von Quintus et al., 2007). Calibration and validation of the MEPDG is currently in progress in several provinces across Canada. The MEPDG will be used as the standard pavement design methodology for the foreseeable future (Tighe, 2013).
This new pavement design process requires several parameters specific to local conditions of the design location. In order to perform an accurate analysis, a database of parameters including those specific to local materials, climate and traffic are required to calibrate the models in the MEPDG.
In 1989, the Canadian Strategic Highway Research Program (C-SHRP) launched a national full scale field experiment known as the Canadian Long-Term Pavement Performance (C-LTPP) program. Between the years, 1989 and 1992, a total of 24 test sites were constructed within all ten provinces. Each test site contained multiple monitored sections for a total of 65 sections. Each of these sites received rehabilitation treatments of various thicknesses of asphalt overlays. The C-LTPP program attempted to design and build the test sections across Canada so as to cover the widest range of experimental factors such as traffic loading, environmental region, and subgrade type. With planned strategic pavement data collection cycles, it would then be possible to compare results obtained at different test sites (i.e. across traffic levels, environmental zones, soil types) across the country.
The United States Long-Term Pavement Performance (US-LTPP) database is serving as a critical tool in implementing the new design guide. The MEPDG was delivered with the prediction models calibrated to average national conditions. For the guide to be an effective resource for individual agencies, the national models need to be evaluated against local and regional performance. The results of these evaluations are being used to determine if local calibration is required. It is expected that provincial agencies across Canada will use both C-LTPP and US-LTPP test sites for these evaluations. In addition, C-LTPP and US-LTPP sites provide typical values for many of the MEPDG inputs (C-SHRP, 2000).
The scope of this thesis is to examine the existing data in the C-LTPP database and assess its relevance to Canadian MEPDG calibration. Specifically, the thesis examines the dynamic modulus parameter (|E*|) and how it can be computed using existing C-LTPP data and an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) model developed under a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) study (FHWA, 2011).
The dynamic modulus is an essential property that defines the stiffness characteristics of a Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) mixture as a function of both its temperature and rate of loading. |E*| is also a primary material property input required for a Level 1 analysis in the MEPDG. In order to perform a Level 1 MEPDG analysis, detailed local material, environmental and traffic parameters are required for the pavement section being analyzed. Additionally, it can be used in various pavement response models based on visco-elasticity.
The dynamic modulus values predicted using both Level 2 and Level 3 viscosity-based ANN models in the ANNACAP software showed a good correlation to the measured dynamic modulus values for two C-LTPP test sections and supplementary Ontario mixes. These findings support previous research findings done during the development of the ANN models. The viscosity-based prediction model requires the least amount data in order to run a prediction. A Level 2 analysis requires mix volumetric data as well as viscosity testing and a Level 3 analysis only requires the PG grade of the binder used in the HMA. The ANN models can be used as an alternative to the MEPDG default predictions (Level 3 analysis) and to develop the master curves and determine the parameters needed for a Level 1 MEPDG analysis. In summary, Both the Level 2 and Level 3 viscosity-based model results demonstrated strong correlations to measured values indicating that either would be a suitable alternative to dynamic modulus laboratory testing.
The new MEPDG design methodology is the future of pavement design and research in North America. Current MEPDG analysis practices across the country use default inputs for the dynamic modulus. However, dynamic modulus laboratory characterization of asphalt mixes across Canada is time consuming and not very cost-effective. This thesis has shown that Level 2 and Level 3 viscosity-based ANN predictions can be used in order to perform a Level 1 MEPDG analysis. Further development and use of ANN models in dynamic modulus prediction has the potential to provide many benefits.||en