Evaluation of Structural Dome Formwork Systems in Concrete Pavement Applications
Kivi, Aleks Kristjan
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The concrete pavement industry is actively seeking new and innovative solutions to build more economical, more sustainable and more durable roads. Cupolex® is one innovative product that is being evaluated for use as a concrete pavement technology. This product consists of interlocking, modular, dome-shaped plastic units that serve as a permanent formwork within the concrete pavement structure. The resulting product is a concrete pavement slab with a system of interconnected vault-like voids below the surface. The dome shape is capable of providing carrying capacities equivalent to conventional slabs, but requires less concrete to do so, and also provides additional drainage and ventilation benefits. A collaborative research effort was undertaken to evaluate the feasibility of using Cupolex® in road and highway applications. As part of this study, a full-scale, instrumented trial section was designed and constructed to evaluate pavement performance in an accelerated loading scenario. This thesis presents this evaluation of the Cupolex® technology in a pavement application through the evaluation of numerous parameters during the pavement’s first year of service. Strain gauge data, pressure cell data, moisture probe data, Falling Weight Deflectometer testing results and visual condition surveys are all used to assess performance. The results obtained to date indicate that Cupolex® has great potential as a concrete pavement technology. The trial pavement sections are performing very well after one year of service, carrying heavily loaded aggregate trucks in the harsh Canadian climate. Over 1.3 million cumulative Equivalent Single Axle Loads (ESALs) have been applied to the pavement to date without any significant pavement degradation. The findings obtained also indicate that the Cupolex® technology can provide significant material and potential cost savings, when compared to conventional jointed plain concrete pavements.