Thermal Cracking Prediction Model and Software for Asphalt Pavements

Conference Paper


  • Thermally induced cracking in asphalt pavements remains to be one of the prominent distress mechanisms in regions with cooler climates. At present, the AASHTO Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) is the most widely deployed pavement analysis and design procedure. For thermal cracking predictions, MEPDG utilizes a simplified one-dimensional stress evaluation model with a simple Paris-law (i.e. linear elastic fracture mechanics) based crack propagation procedure. The user-friendly graphical interface for MEPDG makes it an attractive design procedure of choice, however, the over simplicity of the model and lack of a physics-based representation to accurately capture the nonlinear fracture behavior of rate-dependent asphalt concrete reduce(s) the reliability of predictions. This study presents an interactive thermal cracking prediction model that utilizes a nonlinear finite element based thermal cracking analysis engine which can be easily employed using a user-friendly graphical interface. The analysis engine is comprised of (1) the cohesive zone fracture model for accurate simulation of crack initiation and propagation due to thermal loading and (2) the viscoelastic material model for time and temperature dependent bulk material behavior. The graphical user interface (GUI) is designed to be highly interactive and user-friendly in nature, and features screen layouts similar to those used in the AASHTO MEPDG, thus minimizing transition time for the user. This paper describes the individual components of the low temperature cracking prediction software (called LTC Model) including details on the graphical user interface, viscoelastic finite element analysis, cohesive zone fracture model, and integration of various software components for thermal cracking predictions. © 2011 ASCE.
  • Authors

  • Dave, Eshan
  • Leon, Sofie
  • Park, Kyoungsoo
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • March 11, 2011
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 667
  • End Page

  • 676