3D Finite Element Analysis of HMA Overlay Mix Design to Control Reflective Cracking

Ziad G. Ghauch

This study examines the effectiveness of HMA overlay design strategies for the purpose of controlling the development of reflective cracking. A parametric study was conducted using a 3D Finite Element (FE) model of a rigid pavement section including Linear Viscoelastic (LVE) material properties for the Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) overlay and non-uniform tire-pavement contact stresses. Several asphalt mixtures were tested in the surface, intermediate, and leveling course of the HMA overlay. Results obtained show that no benefits can be anticipated by using either Polymer-Modified (PM) or Dense-Graded (DG) mixtures instead of Standard Binder (SB) mixtures in the surface or intermediate course. For the leveling course, the use of a PM asphalt binder was found beneficial in terms of mitigating reflective cracking. As compared to the SB mix, the use of PM asphalt mixture in the leveling course reduced the level of longitudinal tensile stress at the bottom of the HMA overlay above the PCC joint by approximately 30%.

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