Material and Construction Optimization for Prevention of Premature Pavement Distress in PCC Pavements, Phase 3

Project Details







Federal Highway Administration


State partners: Georgia, Indiana, Iowa (lead state), Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin

Principal Investigator
Jim Grove
Co-Principal Investigator
Bob Steffes
Co-Principal Investigator
Gary Fick

About the research

Mixture materials, mix design, and pavement construction are not isolated steps in the concrete paving process. Each affects the other in ways that determine overall pavement quality and long-term performance. However, equipment and procedures commonly used to test concrete materials and concrete pavements have not changed in decades, leaving gaps in our ability to understand and control the factors that determine concrete durability. The concrete paving community needs tests that will adequately characterize the materials, predict interactions, and monitor the properties of the concrete.

The overall objectives of this study were (1) to evaluate conventional and new methods for testing concrete and concrete materials to prevent material and construction problems that could lead to premature concrete pavement distress and (2) to examine and refine a suite of tests that can accurately evaluate concrete pavement properties.

The project included three phases. In Phase I, the research team contacted each of 16 participating states to gather information about concrete and concrete material tests. A preliminary suite of tests to ensure long-term pavement performance was developed. The tests were selected to provide useful and easy-to-interpret results that can be performed reasonably and routinely in terms of time, expertise, training, and cost. The tests examine concrete pavement properties in five focal areas critical to the long life and durability of concrete pavements: (1) workability, (2) strength development, (3) air system, (4) permeability, and (5) shrinkage. The tests were relevant at three stages in the concrete paving process: mix design, preconstruction verification, and construction quality control.

In Phase II, the research team conducted field testing in each participating state to evaluate the preliminary suite of tests and demonstrate the testing technologies and procedures using local materials. A Mobile Concrete Research Lab was designed and equipped to facilitate the demonstrations. This report documents the results of the 16 state projects.

Phase III refined and finalized lab and field tests based on state project test data. The results of the overall project are detailed herein. The final suite of tests is detailed in the accompanying testing guide.