Determining the Effect of Tyre Pressure, Axle Load and Wheel Configuration on Flexible Pavements Fatigue Life using Finite Element Method

R.M. Mulungye, P.M.O. Owende, and K. Mellon (Ireland)


In-situ pavement response, Fatigue cracking, Viscoelastic, Simulation


The performance of flexible pavements laid on soft soil foundations is directly related to the magnitude and frequency of the traversing wheel loads. The impact of such wheel loads on the pavement structure and substrata is controlled by the tyre-pavement interaction mechanism. In this project, the effect of vehicle parameters (viz. tyre pressures, wheel configuration and axle loads) on pavement fatigue life was simulated using a finite element model. The model of a pavement structure with known material characteristics and for which accurately recorded in-situ response data was available was developed in ANSYS/ED finite element suite. The simulation results and the in-situ measured response data were in good agreement, with correlation coefficient ranging from 0.66 to 0.92. Therefore, for known pavement material characteristics, finite element simulation may be used to optimise tyre pressures, axle load and wheel configurations to control pavement distress.

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