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Evaluation of the FWD Moduli of a Flexible Pavement Using Finite Element Model

Authors: Md Rashadul Islam, Mesbah U. Ahmed, Rafiqul A. Tarefder


This study evaluates the back calculation of stiffness of a pavement section on Interstate 40 (I-40)in New Mexico through numerical analysis. Falling Weight Deflectometer (FWD) test has been conducted on a section on I-40. Layer stiffness of the pavement has been backcalculated by a backcalculation software, ELMOD, using the FWD test data. Commercial finite element software, ABAQUS, has been used to develop the Finite Element Model (FEM) of this pavement section. Geometry and layer thickness are collected from field coring. Input parameters i.e. stiffnesses of different layers of the pavement are used as the backcalculated ones. Resulting surface deflections at different radial distances from the FEM analysis are compared with field FWD deflection values. It shows close agreement between the FEM and FWD outputs. Therefore, the FWD test method can be considered to be a reliable test procedure for evaluating the in situ stiffness of pavement material.

Keywords: finite element model, flexible pavement, falling weight deflectometer test, moduli, surface deflection

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