Investigating the Performance of Cracked Asphalt Pavement Using Finite Elements Analysis

Document Type: Research Papers


1 Ph.D., Civil Engineering Department, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Civil Engineering Department, University of Zanjan, Zanjan, Iran



Occurrence of top down and bottom up fatigue cracking in asphaltic pavements is common. Conventional pavement analysis methods ignore the existence of cracks in asphaltic layers. However, it seems that the responses of cracked pavement would not be the same as a pavement without crack. This paper describes effects of crack type, position and length, and vehicles tire inflation pressure and axle load on the performance of cracked asphalt pavement. Tensile strain at the bottom of asphaltic layer, the vertical strain on subgrade, maximum deflection on the surface, rut depth and the stress intensity factors of cracked pavement, with top down and bottom up crack have been computed using 3D Finite Elements method in ABAQUS. Moving load of standard single axle with different loads and tire pressures have been used in the analysis. Standard 8.2 ton single axle load at different tire pressures of 552(80), 690(100), 828(120) and 1035(150) kPa(psi) and single axle at different loads of 5, 8.2 and 15 ton, all at the same tire pressure of 690 kPa, have been used. Results show that the pavement responses increase with increasing tire pressure and axle load with higher values and rate of increase with increasing tire pressure and axle load for the cracked pavement compared with the pavement without crack. For the pavement structure investigated in this study, it was found that, in general, top down crack results in higher responses than bottom up crack.



Abdel-Motaleb, M.E. (2007). "Impact of high pressure truck tires on pavement design in Egypt", Emirates Journal for Engineering Research, 12(2), 65-73.

Alae, M., Haghshenas, H.F. and Zhao, Y. (2019). “Evaluation of top-down crack propagation in asphalt pavement under dual tires loading”, Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, 5, 185-193.

Aliha, M.R.M. and Sarbijan, M.J. (2016). “Effects of loading, geometry and material properties on fracture parameters of a pavement containing top-down and bottom-up cracks”, Engineering Fracture Mechanics, 166, 182-197.

Ameri, M., Mansourian, A., Khavas, M.H., Aliha, M.R.M. and Ayatollahi, M.R. (2011). “Cracked asphalt pavement under traffic loading, A 3D Finite Element analysis”, Engineering Fracture Mechanics, 78(8), 1817-1826.

Chatti, K., Kim, H.B., Yun, K.K., Mahoney, J.P. and Monismith, C.L. (1996). “Field investigation into effects of vehicle speed and tire pressure on asphalt concrete pavement strains”, Transportation Research Record, No. 1539, Transportation Research Board, Washington D.C., 66-71.

Chen, H.H., Marshek, K.M. and Saraf, C.L. (1990). “Effects of truck tire contact pressure distribution on the design of flexible pavements: A three dimensional Finite Element approach”, Transportation Research Record, No. 1095, 72-78.

Fakhri, M., Farokhi, M. and Kheiry, P.T. (2009). “Modeling of Top-Down Cracking (TDC) propagation in asphalt concrete pavements using fracture mechanics theory”, Advanced Testing and Characterisation of Bituminous Materials, II, 681-692.

Ford, T.L. and Yap, P. (1990). “The truck tire/pavement interface”, The Promise of New Technology in the Automotive Industry, Torino, Italy, 330-340.

Huang, Y.H. (1993). Pavement analysis and design, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

Hutchinson, B.G. and Mallett, J.J.L. (1990). “Line haul transportation cost and pavement damage characteristics of some Ontario trucks”, Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, 17(1), 28-35.

Hernandez, J., Gamez, A., Al-Qadi, I. and De Beer, M. (2014). “Analytical approach for predicting three-dimensional tire-pavement contact load”, Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2456, (1), 75-84.

Jacobs, M.M.J., Hopman, P.C. and Molenaar, A.A.A. (1996). “Application of fracture mechanics principles to analyze cracking in asphalt concrete (with discussion)”, Journal of the Association ofAsphalt Paving Technology, 65, 1-35.

Khavandi Khiavi, A., Naghiloo, M. and Rasouli, R. (2019). "Considering a new sample unit definition for Pavement condition index", Civil Engineering Infrastructure Journal, 52(1), 101-114.

Kim, S.M., Darabi, M.K., Little, D.N. and Al-Rub, R.K.A. (2018). “Effect of the realistic tire contact pressure on the rutting performance of asphaltic concrete pavements”, KSCE Journal of Civil Engineering, 22(6), 2138-2146.

Ling, M., Luo, X., Gu, F. and Lytton, R.L. (2017). “An inverse approach to determine complex modulus gradient of field-aged asphalt mixtures”, Materials and Structures, 50(2), 138.

Machemehl, R.B., Wang, F. and Prozzi, J.A. (2005). “Analytical study of effects of truck tire pressure on pavements using measured tire-pavement contact stress data”, Proceedings for the 84th TRB Annual Meeting, Transportation Research Board, Washington DC, January 9-13.

 Mahoney, J.P., Winters, B.C., Chatti, K., Moran, T.J., Monismith, C.L. and Kramer, S.L. (1995). Vehicle/pavement interaction at the PACCAR test site, Final Report No. WA-RD 384.1, Washington State Department of Transportation, Olympia, Washington, November.

Marshek, K.M., Hudson, W.R., Connell, R.B., Chen, H.H. and Saraf, C.L. (1985). Experimental investigation of truck tire inflation pressure on pavement-tire contact area and pressure distribution, Research Report 386-1, Center for Transportation Research, the University of Texas at Austin.

Modarres, A. and Shabani, H. (2015). “Investigating the effect of aircraft impact loading on the longitudinal top-down crack propagation parameters in asphalt runway pavement using fracture mechanics”, Engineering Fracture Mechanics, 150, 28-46.

NCHRP. (2004). Guide for mechanistic-empirical design of new and rehabilitated pavements structures, Final Report, Part 3: Design Analysis. National Cooperative Highway Research Program, Washington, D.C.

Owende, P.M.O., Hartman, A.M., Ward, S.M., Gilchrist, M.D. and O'Mahony, M.J. (2001). “Minimizing distress on flexible pavements using variable tire pressure”, ASCE Journal of Transportation Engineering, 127, 254-262

Prozzi, J.A. and Luo, R. (2005). Quantification of the Joint Effect of Wheel Load and Tire Inflation Pressure on Pavement Response, TRB Annual Meeting, Transportation Research Board, Washington D.C., January.

 Rahman M.T., Mahmud K. and Ahsan, S. (2011). "Stress strain characteristics of flexible pavement using Finite Element analysis", International Journal of Civil and Structural Engineering, 2(1), 352-364.

Rahman, M.M., Saha, S., Hamdi, A.S.A. and Alam, M.J.B. (2019). “Development of 3-D Finite Element models for geo-jute reinforced flexible pavement”, Civil Engineering Journal, 5, 437-446.

Sun, L. and Duan, Y. (2013). "Dynamic response of top-down cracked asphalt concrete pavement under a half-sinusoidal impact load", Acta Mechanica, 224(8), 1865-1877.

Sun, L. and Hudson, W.R. (2005). “Probabilistic approaches for pavement fatigue cracking prediction based on cumulative damage using Miner’s law”, Journal of Engineering Mechanics, 131(5), 546-549.

Taherkhani, H. and Arshadi, M.R. (2018). “Investigating the creep properties of PET-modified asphalt concrete", Civil Engineering Infrastructure Journal, 51(2), 277-292.

Taherkhani, H. and Jalali, M. (2018). “Viscoelastic analysis of geogrid-reinforced asphaltic pavement under different tire configurations”, International Journal of Geomechanics, 18(7), 04018060.

Wang, F. and Machemehl, R.B. (2006). “Mechanistic-empirical study of effects of truck tire pressure on pavement using measured tire-pavement contact stress data”, 85th TRB Annual Meeting, Transportation Research Board, Washington D.C., January.

Wu, S., Wen, H., Zhang, W., Shen, S., Mohammad, L. N., Faheem, A. and Muhunthan, B. (2019). “Field performance of top-down fatigue cracking for warm mix asphalt pavements”, International Journal of Pavement Engineering, 20(1), 33-43.

Zheng, C. and Xie, S. (2003). "Effects of the tire-pavement contact pressure on asphalt pavement", Proceedings of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies, 4, 401-407.

Zhao, Y., Alae, M. and Fu, G. (2018). “Investigation of mechanisms of top-down fatigue cracking of asphalt pavement”, Road Materials and Pavement Design, 19(6), 1436-1447.