n Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering = Joernaal van die Suid-Afrikaanse Instituut van Siviele Ingenieurswese - Benchmarking the structural condition of flexible pavements with deflection bowl parameters : technical paper

Volume 50, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1021-2019



The falling weight deflectometer (FWD) is used worldwide as an established, valuable, nondestructive road testing device for pavement structural analyses. The FWD is used mostly for rehabilitation project level design investigations and for pavement management system (PMS) monitoring on a network basis. In project level investigations, design charts based on both empirical relations and mechanistic or theoretically based approaches are often used to provide structural evaluations and rehabilitation options. The full mechanistic approach normally uses multi-layer linear elastic theory and back-calculation procedures that have come under scrutiny owing to the inaccuracy of results. A semi-mechanistic, semi-empirical analysis technique has been developed in South Africa in terms of which deflection bowl parameters, measured with the FWD, are used in a relative benchmarking methodology in conjunction with standardised visual survey methodology to give guidance on individual layer strengths and pinpoint rehabilitation needs. This benchmark methodology enables the determination of the relative structural condition of the pavement over length and in depth without the requirement for detailed as-built data. A further correlation study with calculated surface moduli and deflection bowl parameters is presented here for granular base pavements, which can enhance benchmarking methodology.

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