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Pavement subsurface drainage and its effect on pavement performance has been a subject of interest since the 18th and 19th centuries. With no doubt the detrimental effects of heavy wheel loads on pavements with saturated base material is a significant factor. The consequence of subsurface water on pavement performance includes premature rutting, cracking, faulting, and increased roughness, all of which lead to a decrease in serviceability. This research study involves the evaluation of the drainage performance of three section configurations. The sections were built with a difference in the filter as well as the drainage layer. Indiana #5D, and #53 impermeable layers were used as a filter. Indiana #2 and #5C base were used as drainage layer. The study was carried out by field instrumentation, laboratory testing, field data collection, and numerical modeling. The main objective of this study is to evaluate the subdrainage performance of three pavement sections adopted by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT). Instruments were installed to monitor the air and pavement temperature, frost penetration, and pavement moisture conditions, and time and duration of rainfall and pavement outflow volumes. Subgrade and asphalt core samples were obtained from the field. Tests wee performed on these samples to determine their hydraulic conductivity characteristics. It was found that the permeability of the #5C drainage base layer material was higher than the #2 base by approximately 10 times. Since most of the water source in the pavement was the surface infiltration, the filter layer plays a key role in controlling the moisture migration from the pavement into the subgrade. The section with the #5D HMA impermeable layer showed the lowest moisture migration into the subgrade. The #5C base had the tendency to retain less water than the #2 base, making the stripping potential less of a problem. Contamination of the trench material from the #53 aggregate fines appears to have occurred, and therefore, section1 (#5D filter layer). In addition, the outlet pipe inlet capacity was found to be low. Frost penetration was found to be about 1.0 m. This result compared well with empirical methods. From the field temperature measurements, the SHRP coldest surface pavement temperature was evaluated and found in good agreement. A large amount of data was obtained about pavement and subgrade material hydraulic characteristics. The finite element analysis showed good simulation of the actual pavement surface conditions. A simulation of cracked surface pavement showed a full saturation condition of the pavement layers.


pavement subdrainage, instrumentation, finite element analysis, permeability, moisture retention, temperature, frost penetration, rain, edge drains, HPR-2078

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Performing Organization

Joint Highway Research Project

Publisher Place

West Lafayette, IN

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