Testing Iowa Portland Cement Concrete Mixtures for the Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide

Project Details









Iowa Department of Transportation

Principal Investigator
Kejin Wang

PCC Engineer, CP Tech Center

About the research

The present research project was designed to identify the typical Iowa material input values that are required by the Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) for the Level 3 concrete pavement design. It was also designed to investigate the existing equations that might be used to predict Iowa pavement concrete for the Level 2 pavement design.

In this project, over 20,000 data were collected from the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) and other sources. These data, most of which were concrete compressive strength, slump, air content, and unit weight data, were synthesized and their statistical parameters (such as the mean values and standard variations) were analyzed.

Based on the analyses, the typical input values of Iowa pavement concrete, such as 28-day compressive strength (f?c), splitting tensile strength (fsp), elastic modulus (Ec), and modulus of rupture (MOR), were evaluated. The study indicates that the 28-day MOR of Iowa concrete is 646 + 51 psi, very close to the MEPDG default value (650psi). The 28-day Ec of Iowa concrete (based only on two available data of the Iowa Curling and Warping project) is 4.82 + 0.28×106 psi,which is quite different from the MEPDG default value (3.93 x106 psi); therefore, the researchers recommend re-evaluating after more Iowa test data become available. The drying shrinkage (ec) of a typical Iowa concrete (C-3WR-C20 mix) was tested at Concrete Technology Laboratory (CTL).

The test results show that the ultimate shrinkage of the concrete is about 454 microstrain and the time for the concrete to reach 50% of ultimate shrinkage is at 32 days; both of these values are very close to the MEPDG default values. The comparison of the Iowa test data and the MEPDG default values, as well as the recommendations on the input values to be used in MEPDG for Iowa PCC pavement design, are summarized in Table 20 of this report.

The available equations for predicting the above-mentioned concrete properties were also assembled. The validity of these equations for Iowa concrete materials was examined. Multiple-parameters nonlinear regression analyses, along with the artificial neural network (ANN) method, were employed to investigate the relationships among Iowa concrete material properties and to modify the existing equations so as to be suitable for Iowa concrete materials.

However, due to lack of necessary data sets, the relationships between Iowa concrete properties were established based on the limited data from CP Tech Center?s projects and ISU classes only. The researchers suggest that the resulting relationships be used by Iowa pavement design engineers as references only.

The present study furthermore indicates that appropriately documenting concrete properties, including flexural strength, elastic modulus, and information on concrete mix design, is essential for updating the typical Iowa material input values and providing rational prediction equations for concrete pavement design in the future.