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Publication Number: FHWA-RD-02-088
Date: May 2003

Evaluation of Joint and Crack Load Transfer Final Report

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This chapter presents the results of the analysis of LTE calculated from the LTPP FWD data using the procedure described in chapter 3.  This analysis included:

LTE Data Assessment

The LTTP database contains FWD deflection data for PCC pavement sections throughout the United States and Canada.  These sections vary in age, design features, and site conditions.  Therefore, it is not a surprise that the resulting LTEs vary from very low (less than 20 percent) to very high (close to or greater than 100 percent).  Figures 8 and 9 present cumulative frequency curves for mean LTE for joints in the LTPP JCP and cracks in the LTPP CRCP, respectively.  These frequency curves are based on the results of the analysis of mean values of LTE for individual cracks and joints performed for the same FWD pass from multiple drops and FWD load levels.  In the LTPP FWD load-testing program, the FWD loads are applied at both sides of the joints, so the resulting LTEs were grouped by load plate positions.

Comparison of figures 8 and 9 shows that the LTEs of joints in JCP vary over a much wider range than do the LTEs of cracks in CRCP.  Approximately 10 percent of joints exhibited LTE of less than 50 percent, whereas the vast majority of cracks had LTE greater than 85 percent.  Also, in more than 60 percent of cases, CRCP cracks exhibited LTE greater than 90 percent, whereas less than 40 percent of JCP joints had the same level of LTE.  Steel reinforcement in a properly designed CRCP keeps cracks tight, which provides a high level of LTE.

One can observe that a small fraction of joints and cracks exhibited LTE greater than 100 percent.  Although it is possible that high LTEs might be results from measurement errors, it is also possible that the ratios of deflections from the unloaded and loaded slabs measured 152 mm (6 inches) away from the joint can exceed 100 percent.  To investigate this phenomenon, an ISLAB2000 finite element model with the following parameters was developed:

Three cases of temperature loading and four void sizes (a total of nine cases) were considered.  The difference between the temperatures of the top and the bottom surfaces was equal to -13, 0, or 13 oC (8.6, 32, or 55 oF).  The void length in the longitudinal direction was equal to 0 [no void], 0.76, 1.52, and 2.29 m (0, 30, 60, 90 inches).  The void width was assumed to be equal to the PCC slab width for all cases.

For each combination of void size and temperature differential, deflections were calculated using ISLAB2000 for FWD loads of 50.0 and 0 [no FWD load] kN.  Table 4 presents the differences between these deflections for four locations at the slab centerline:

Table 4 also presents calculated true and measured LTEs determined as ratios of deflections from unloaded and loaded slabs calculated at the joint and 152 mm (6 inches) from the joint, respectively.

Table 4.  Deflections from ISLAB2000 near joints.

Void length (m (inches))

Temperature Difference (oC (oF))

Deflections at Different Distances from the Joint (mm (inches))

LTE

Loaded Slab

Unloaded Slab

152 mm (6 inches)

0 mm (0 inches)

0 mm (0 inches)

152 mm (6 inches)

True %

Computed %

0 (0)

-13 (8.6)

0.562940  

0.618033

0.618033

0.549885

100.0

  97.7

0 (0)

0 (32)

0.243180

0.266040

 0.266040

0.230429

100.0

  94.8

0 (0)

13 (55)

0.306476

0.325552

0.325552

0.290093

100.0

  94.7

0.76 (30)

-13 (8.6)

0.639851

0.705231

0.705231

0.633959

100.0

  99.1

0.76 (30)

0 (32)

0.338836

0.375437

0.375437

0.333477

100.0

  98.4

0.76 (30)

13 (55)

0.401396

0.437515

0.437515

0.397256

100.0

  99.0

1.52 (60)

-13 (8.6)

0.657174

0.728802

0.728802

0.669798

100.0

101.9

1.52 (60)

0 (32)

0.379501

0.421945

0.421945

0.383413

100.0

101.0

1.52 (60)

13 (55)

0.433349

0.474777

0.474777

0.438937

100.0

101.3

2.29 (90)

-13 (8.6)

0.545617

0.607289

0.607289

 0.566420

100.0

103.8

2.29 (90)

0 (32)

0.397053

0.442011

0.442011

0.407873

100.0

102.7

2.29 (90)

13 (55)

0.441731

0.484734

0.484734

0.452145

100.0

102.4

Analysis of table 4 shows that true LTEs are the same for all cases, whereas computed LTEs vary from 94.7 to 103.8 percent.  Computed LTE increases as void size and temperature differential increase, supporting the hypothesis that the presence of voids and slab lift-off may lead to FWD measurements corresponding to LTE higher than 100 percent. 

From these data, one can conclude that high LTE does not necessary mean measurement error; it can be explained by the fact that measurements are usually taken 152 mm (6 inches) away from the joint.  Therefore, these LTEs were retained in the analysis.

Effect of FWD Load Position

Analysis of figure 8 also shows that loading position has a significant effect on resulting LTEs of individual cracks of CRCP sections.  Indeed, less that 30 percent of cracks had mean LTEs of less than 90 percent from the FWD test with a load plate on the leave side of a crack (loading position C5).  Moreover, more than 37 percent of cracks had mean LTEs of less than 90 percent if an FWD load plate was placed on the approach side of a crack (loading position C4).

As observed in figure 9, the loading position has an even greater effect on the resulting LTEs of individual joints of JCP sections.  For example, more that 30 percent of joints had mean LTE less than 70 percent from the FWD test with a load plate on the approach side of a joint (loading position J4).  In addition, fewer than 24 percent of joints had mean LTEs less than 70 percent if an FWD load plate was placed on the leave side of a joint (loading position J5).

Figure 8. Distribution of crack LTE mean values, CRCP sections. The mean load transfer efficiency, of 70 to 110 percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The cumulative percentage of joints is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a line graph with two sites. The sites are approach test and leave tests. Both the approach and the leave slab are increasing in an S-shaped curve. The approach slab begins on the same points as the leave slab, but as the curve slopes up in a sharp incline, the approach slab is higher than the leave slab. The approach slab ends back on top of the leave slab at approximately (100, 100). The loading position has a significant effect on resulting load transfer efficiencies of individual cracks of continuously reinforced concrete pavement sections

Figure 8.  Distribution of crack LTE mean values, CRCP sections.

Figure 9. Distribution of joint LTE mean values, JCP sections. The mean load transfer efficiency, of 20 to 110 percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The cumulative percentage of joints is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a line graph with two sites. The sites are approach slab and leave slab. Both the approach and the leave slab are graphed as an S-shaped curve, where the cumulative percentage of joints increase, so does the mean load transfer efficiency increase. The leave approach slab is greater than the leave slab. The loading position has an even greater effect on the resulting load transfer efficiencies of individual joints of joint concrete pavement sections.

Figure 9.  Distribution of joint LTE mean values, JCP sections.

Because loading position has a significant effect on mean LTEs for individual cracks and joints, it is not a surprise that mean values for LTPP sections were also affected by loading position.  Figures 10 and 11 present comparisons of mean LTEs derived from data under the approach and leave tests for CRCP and JCP sections, respectively, calculated for each test section for each FWD pass.

To further investigate this effect, a Student t-test was conducted for the FWD tests conducted on each section in the same FWD pass to compare the average LTEs computed from approach and leave tests deflection data.  The data were considered to come from the same population if the null hypothesis of equal means and mean could not be rejected at the 95 percent confidence level (p-value < 0.05). 

Table 5 presents the results of this analysis.  For CRCP sections, 223 of 353 data sets (66 percent) did not exhibit a significant difference between the LTEs determined from approach and leave tests.  Twenty-one data sets (6 percent) resulted in LTEs from approach tests statistically higher than LTEs from leave tests.  Finally, 99 data sets (28 percent) resulted in LTEs from leave tests statistically higher than LTEs from approach tests. 

For JCP sections, 1893 of 2652 data sets (71 percent) did not exhibit significant differences between LTEs determined from approach and leave tests.  Only 163 data sets (6 percent) resulted in LTEs from approach tests statistically higher than LTEs from leave tests.  Finally, 596 data sets (22 percent) resulted in LTEs from leave tests statistically higher than LTEs from approach tests.

Although a significant number of data sets were identified as producing statistically different mean LTEs from approach and leave tests, in many cases the differences of mean values from those data sets were not practically significant.  To address this issue, the results of t-tests were re-evaluated and data sets with an absolute difference in LTEs from approach and leave tests less than 5 percent were assigned to be indifferent to FWD load position.  The results of this analysis are presented in table 6.  As expected, the number of FWD data sets for which mean LTEs from leave and approach test were found to be statistically and practically different are lower than the number of data sets for which these LTEs are just statistically different.  At the same time, however, the number of data sets for JCP sections for which mean LTEs from tests approach and leave are different both statistically and practically is still quite high.

Table 5. Comparison of statistical significance of LTEs from approach and leave deflection tests.

Pavement

Number of FWD Passes

Type

Total

Statistically Similar

Approach LTE is Greater

Leave LTE is Greater

CRCP

  353

 233

  21

  99

JCP

2652

1893

163

596

Table 6.  Comparison of practical difference between LTEs from approach and leave deflection tests.

Pavement

Number of FWD Passes

Type

Total

Practically Similar

Approach LTE is Greater

Leave LTE is Greater

CRCP

  353

 346

 1

   6

JCP

2652

2174

63

415

As was discussed in chapter 2, an attempt was made to explain this effect by considering the presence of voids under the leave slab.  However, that model could only provide an explanation for the cases when mean LTE from the approach test is greater than mean LTE from the leave test.  For the majority of the cases when the opposite trend was observed, no good mechanistic explanation was found.  As suggested by Byrum (2001), test sequence can affect LTE measurements significantly.  Since in the LTPP testing program the approach test is always performed prior to the leave test, aggregate interlock is better established after the approach tests are completed, which may result in higher measured LTE.  This hypothesis, however, could not be verified under this study.

Figure 10. Effect of FWD load position on mean section crack LTE for CRCP. The approach load transfer efficiency (C4), of 60 to 110 percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The leave load transfer efficiency (C5), of 60 to 110 percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a line graph increasing in a straight line at a 45-degree angle. There are scatter plots clustered between 85 to 98 percent leave and approach. The mean load transfer efficiency for continuously reinforced concrete pavement is low.

Figure 10.  Effect of FWD load position on mean section crack LTE for CRCP.

Figure 11. Effect of FWD load position on mean section LTE for JCP. The approach load transfer efficiency (J4), of 10 to 110 percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The leave load transfer efficiency (J5), of 10 to 110 percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The graph is a line graph increasing in a straight line at a 45-degree angle. There are scatter plots clustered along the entire slope. As the approach load transfer efficiency J4 increase, so does the approach load transfer efficiency J5 increase. The mean load transfer efficiency for joint concrete pavement is very high.

Figure 11.  Effect of FWD load position on mean section LTE for JCP.

Variability in Measured LTEs for Individual Cracks/Joints

The LTPP database contains up to 12 records of LTE measurements for each joint at any specific time (4 repetitive measurements at 3 different load levels).  This provides an opportunity to investigate the extent of variability in measured LTE for a single joint.  To characterize this variability, standard deviations of LTE for individual cracks/joints were computed.

Figure 12 presents a frequency histogram of standard deviations for CRCP and JCP for leave and approach tests.  Most joints showed low variability in LTE measurement with a standard deviation of less that 2 percent.  Moreover, variability in LTE for cracks was lower than for joints.  Joint LTEs determined from the leave slab test exhibited slightly higher variability than LTEs from the approach slab test.

For JCP sections, comparison of variability of joint LTE for doweled and nondoweled sections was also conducted.  It was found that doweled joints exhibited slightly lower coefficient of variation than nondoweled joints for both approach and leave tests, as can be observed from figures 13 and 14, respectively.  Therefore, one can conclude that the presence of dowels reduces the variability of load transfer. 

Figure 12. Frequency distributions of standard deviations of LTEs for individual cracks/joints from different test types. Load transfer efficiency standard deviation, of 0 to 5 percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. Percentage of joints, of 0 to 45, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a histogram that shows four sites. The four sites include approach tests for continuously reinforced concrete pavement, leave tests for continuously reinforced concrete pavement, approach tests for joint concrete pavement, and leave tests for joint concrete pavement. The highest percentage of joints (34 to 44 percent) at 1 percent load transfer deviation efficiency standard deviation decreases to percentage of joints (0 to 1 percent) at 5 percent standard deviation. Most joints showed low variability in load transfer efficiency measurement with a standard deviation of less than 2 percent. Variability for cracks was lower for joints.

Figure 12.  Frequency distributions of standard deviations of LTEs for individual cracks/joints from different test types.

Figure 13. Frequency distributions of standard deviations of LTEs for nondoweled and doweled joints, approach test. Load transfer efficiency standard deviation, of 0 to 5, percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. Percentage of joints, of 0 to 40, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a histogram with two sites. The sites are doweled and nondoweled sections. The highest point for doweled and nondoweled joints is at a percentage (34 to 37) at 1 percent standard deviation. The sites decrease to the lowest percentage of joints (0 to 1) at 5 percent standard deviation. The doweled joints exhibited slightly lower coefficient of variation than nondoweled joints for approach test. The presence of dowels reduces the variability of load transfer.

Figure 13.   Frequency distributions of standard deviations of LTEs for nondoweled and doweled joints, approach test.

Figure 14. Frequency distributions of standard deviations of LTEs for nondoweled and doweled, leave test. Load transfer efficiency standard deviation, of 0 to 5 percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. Percentage of joints, of 0 to 40, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a histogram with two sites. The sites are doweled and nondoweled joints. The highest percentage of joints is 32 to 37 at 1 percent standard deviation. The sites decease to 1 to 2 joint percentage at 5 percent standard deviation. The doweled joints exhibited slightly lower coefficient of variation than nondoweled joints for both leave test. The presence of dowels reduces the variability of load transfer.

Figure 14.  Frequency distributions of standard deviations of LTEs for nondoweled and doweled joints, leave test.

Load Level Dependency

It is generally believed that the LTE of cracks and joints does not depend on load level if the load level is sufficiently large.  However, for joints that exhibited high variability (or poor repeatability) in LTE measurements, load level dependency might be one of the reasons for such variability.  To investigate this hypothesis, an analysis of the load dependency index was performed.  The load dependency index classifies joint/crack LTE as load-dependent if the mean LTE for the lowest load level is more than 5 percent different from the mean LTE for the highest load level.

Table 7 presents the summary of load dependency indexes for all joints and cracks evaluated.  The majority of LTEs of cracks in CRCP were classified as load level independent (more than 96 percent for both leave and approach tests).  A higher percentage of LTEs of JCP joints were classified as load level dependent (decreasing or increasing with the FWD load level) (9 percent for approach slab tests and 16 percent for leave slab tests).

It is interesting to note that, for approach slab testing, the number of joints that exhibited an increase in LTE level with load level increase is almost equal to the number of joints that exhibited a decrease in LTE with an increase in load level.  Moreover, for the leave slab testing, almost all load level-dependent LTEs increased as load levels increased.

Table 7. Joint LTE load level dependence.

Test Type

Percentage of Joint with LTE Load Level Relationship

Independent

Decreasing with Load Increasing

Decreasing with Load Decreasing

Not Defined

C4 (approach)

96.8

2.0

  1.0

0.2

C5 (leave)

96.4

1.9

  1.5

0.2

J4 (approach)

90.0

5.0

  4.1

0.9

J5 (leave)

82.9

1.2

15.2

0.8

Different percentages of load level-dependent joints for leave and approach tests for the same type of pavement indicate that the same joint may exhibit load level-dependent behavior for FWD tests on one side of the joint and load level-independent behavior for another side of the joint.  Figures 15 and 16 give examples of such behavior.  The joints of section 370201 in North Carolina exhibited very low load level dependency for an approach test on November 27, 1995.  During the same FWD pass, a leave test indicated that joint LTE increased as the load level increased.

To further evaluate this phenomenon, mean LTEs were computed for each LTPP section for individual FWD passes and load levels.  Similar to what was discussed above for LTE of individual joints, load level dependency for each FWD pass was determined.  The section was identified to exhibit load level-independent behavior for a certain FWD pass and test type (leave or approach) if a student t-test finds LTEs from the lowest and highest load level statistically different and mean values for the lowest and highest load level LTEs differ by more than 5 percent.

Table 8 presents a summary of load dependency indexes for all FWD passes evaluated.  The vast majority of LTPP sections were classified as having load level-independent LTEs (99.7 and 98.9 percent of FWD passes of CRCP sections for approach and leave tests, respectively, and 97.2 percent of approach test FWD passes for JCP sections).  In addition, more than 10 percent of FWD passes of leave tests of JCP sections resulted in load level-dependent LTE (mostly LTE increasing with FWD load increasing).

Table 8. FWD pass LTE load level dependence.

Test Type

Independent, Percentage of FWD Passes

Decreased, Percentage of FWD Passes

Increased, Percentage of FWD Passes

C4 (approach)

99.7

0.0

  0.3

C5 (leave)

98.9

0.3

  0.8

J4 (approach)

97.2

1.4

  1.4

J5 (leave)

89.6

0.2

10.2

To evaluate whether load level dependency is a repeatable effect, sections with multiple FWD visits were evaluated.  For each section that exhibited load level-dependent LTE behavior on at least one FWD visit, the ratio of the visits that resulted in load level-dependent behavior to the total number of FWD visits of that section was calculated.  The averages of those ratios then were computed and found to be 0.36 and 0.52 for approach and leave tests, respectively.  Thus, if a section exhibited load level-dependent LTE for a leave test, there is only about a 50 percent chance that the next FWD visit also will find the LTE for this section load level dependent. 

Conversely, such low repeatability may be explained by variability from visit to visit in the actual LTE measurements.  LTE level may vary from one visit to another, as a result of changes in temperature conditions.  As will be discussed later in this chapter, FWD passes with higher mean LTE have lower overall variability than passes with lower mean LTE.  Therefore, an increase in LTE level from one pass to another may render the difference in LTEs from different load levels statistically insignificant. 

To eliminate this effect, the analysis of load dependency variability was repeated for FWD passes with mean LTEs of less than 80% and for FWD passes with mean LTEs of less than 70%.  The results of those analyses are summarized in table 9.  If only passes with low LTEs are considered, the repeatability of load level dependency for the leave test increases to 82%.  Therefore, it is quite likely that load level dependency is a repeatable effect for the leave test.  However, no explanation was found for why the same trend was not observed for approach tests.

Table 9.  Repeatability ratios for different LTE levels.

Test Type

Average Repeatability Ratio

All Passes

Passes with Mean LTE Lower than 80%

Passes with Mean LTE Lower than 70%

Approach (J4)

0.36

0.42

0.45

Leave (J5)

0.52

0.73

0.82


1 m = 3.28 ft

Figure 15. LTE for section 370201 on November 27, 1995, approach (J4) test. Station, of 0 to 160 meters, is graphed on the horizontal axis. Load transfer efficiency, percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a scatter plot with 3 sites. The sites are load level 2, load level 3, and load level 4. The sites are scattered between 55 to 78 percent load transfer efficiency and from 10 to 140 meters. The joints exhibited low load level dependency for approach test.

Figure 15. LTE for section 370201 on November 27, 1995, approach (J4) test.

1 m = 3.28 ft

Figure 16. LTE for section 370201 on November 27, 1995, leave (J5) test. Station, of 0 to160 meters, is graphed on the horizontal axis. Load transfer efficiency, percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a scatter plot with three sites. The sites are load level 2, load level 3 and load level 4. The sites are scattered between 61 to 80 percent load transfer efficiency and it increases in joint load transfer efficiency as the load level increases. The joints exhibited low level independence for the leave test.

Figure 16. LTE for section 370201 on November 27, 1995, leave (J5) test.

Variability in LTE Along Section Length

In this study, mean values and standard deviations of joint/crack LTEs were calculated for each FWD pass of GPS and SPS sections.  To further examine how well these mean values represent pavement section joint/crack properties, distributions of coefficients of variation of LTE for FWD visits were analyzed.  Figure 17 shows cumulative frequency distributions of the coefficient of variation of LTE for JCP and CRCP sections.  The variability in LTE is much lower for CRCP sections than for JCP sections.  The coefficient of variation in crack LTE is less than 5 percent for more than 90 percent of CRCP pavement sections.  In addition, more than 30 percent of JCP sections exhibited a coefficient of variation greater than 10 percent. 

The lower spatial variability in CRCP crack LTE can be explained by the fact that the LTE of CRCP cracks is expected to be very high (in the range of 90 to 100 percent) for pavements that are performing well.  To achieve this, low spatial variability is required.  Because joint LTE is expected to deteriorate over time, higher variability is possible for older sections.

The relationship between LTE level and LTE variability was first identified by Wu and Tayabji (2002).  They found that the LTE coefficient of variation (a ratio of the standard deviation and mean LTE) is inversely related to the mean LTE.  This hypothesis was confirmed by this study.

Figure 17. Coefficient of variation of LTE within a section. The figure is a line graph with four sites. The graph is a line graph. Coefficient of variation at particular section of 0 to 30 is graphed on the horizontal axis. Cumulative percentage of sections of 0 to 30 is graphed on the vertical axis. As the coefficient of variation at particular section increases, so does the cumulative percentage of sections increase. Figure 17 shows no appreciable difference in spatial variability from load transfer efficiency tests of approach slab and from leave slabs for joint concrete pavement and continuously reinforced concrete pavement.

Figure 17.  Coefficient of variation of LTE within a section.

Figure 18 shows the coefficients of variation as a function of mean LTE.  The coefficient of variation decreases as the mean LTE increases.  The figure also confirms the observation made by Wu and Tayabji that variability of coefficients of variation among sections with lower LTE is higher than those with a higher level of LTE.

The effect of load location on spatial variability also was investigated.  Analysis of figure 17 shows no appreciable difference in spatial variability from LTE tests of approach slabs (J4 and C4) and from leave sides (J5 and C5) for JCP and CRCP sections.  Moreover, it was found that doweled JCP sections exhibited lower spatial variability than nondoweled JCP sections for both leave and approach tests (see figures 19 and 20).

Figure 18. Coefficient of variation versus mean LTE for approach tests. The mean LTE, percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The coefficient of variation of 0 to 1 is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a scatter plot with a slope of Y equals negative 0.0054times X plus 0.5398 and a coefficient of differentiation (R square) equals 0.5185. The slope is decreasing from the highest variation (0.50 at 10 percent mean and decreases in a straight line. The scatter plots are clustered along the slope. As the mean load transfer efficiency increases, the coefficient of variation decreases.

Figure 18.  Coefficient of variation versus mean LTE for approach tests.

Figure 19. Comparison of standard deviations of section LTE for doweled and nondoweled JCP sections (approach tests). Load transfer efficiency standard deviation, of 0 to 30 percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. Percentage of variation, of 0 to 30, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a histogram with two sites. The sites are doweled and nondoweled joints. The highest percentage of passes for doweled joints is 28 at 2 percent standard deviation and the most pass for nondoweled is 21 at 2 percent. Both joint decreases in passes as the load transfer efficiency increases. Doweled joint concrete pavement sections exhibited lower spatial variability than nondoweled joint concrete sections for approach tests.

Figure 19.  Comparison of standard deviations of section LTE for doweled and nondoweled   JCP sections
(approach tests).

Figure 20. Comparison of standard deviations of section LTE for doweled and nondoweled JCP sections (leave tests). Load transfer efficiency standard deviation, of 0 to 30 percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The percentage of passes 0 to 30 is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a histogram with two sites; doweled and nondoweled joints. Both joints with the highest percentage of passes (17 to 29) at 4 percent load transfer efficiency standard deviation, and it decreases to the lowest percentage of passes (0 to 1) at 30 percent load transfer efficiency standard deviation. Doweled joint concrete pavement sections exhibited lower spatial variability than nondoweled joint concrete pavement sections for leave test.

Figure 20.  Comparison of standard deviations of section LTE for doweled and nondoweled JCP sections (leave tests).

Effects of Design Features and Site Conditions on LTE

The effects of design features and site conditions affecting LTE were investigated in this study.  The effects of the following parameters were investigated:

Type of Load Transfer Device

As expected, the type of load transfer device has a major effect on the LTE of JCP joints.  Figures 21 and 22 show comparisons of cumulative distributions of mean LTEs for each FWD pass for doweled and nondoweled sections for approach and leave tests, respectively.  Doweled joints exhibited much higher LTE than nondoweled joints.  For example, 64 and 68 percent of doweled sections exhibited mean LTE greater than 80 percent for approach and leave tests, respectively.  For nondoweled sections, the corresponding values were only 40 and 48 percent of sections.

Surprisingly, dowel diameter was not found to have a significant effect on LTE (see figures 24 and 26).  However, these results could be confounded by many factors, including pavement age, traffic level, PCC properties, and construction quality.

Figure 21. Distribution of section LTE mean value, nondoweled versus doweled, approach test (J4). The mean load transfer efficiency, percent, of 20 to 110, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The cumulative percentage of passes is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure has two sites, doweled and nondoweled joints. Both doweled and nondoweled joints sites begin at the lowest cumulative percentage of passes (0 to 3) at 20 percent mean load transfer efficiency and increase in a curved line. As nondoweled joints increase in load transfer efficiency, they have more passes than doweled joints. The figure increases gradually to the highest cumulative percentage of passes (99) at a mean load transfer efficiency of 100 percent for nondoweled and 100 cumulative passes at 110 mean for doweled. Doweled joints exhibit higher load transfer efficiency than nondoweled.

Figure 21.   Distribution of section LTE mean value, nondoweled versus doweled, approach test (J4).

Figure 22. Distribution of section LTE mean value, nondoweled versus doweled, leave test (J5). The mean load transfer efficiency, of 20 to 110 percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The cumulative percentage of passes is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure shows two sites, doweled and nondoweled joints. The figure shows comparisons of cumulative distributions of mean load transfer efficiency for falling weight deflectometer pass for doweled and nondoweled sections for leave test. The sites begin on the lowest cumulative percentage of passes (0) at 20 percent load transfer efficiency and gradually increases to the highest cumulative percentage of passes (99) at 100 percent mean load transfer efficiency for nondoweled and 100 percent cumulative passes at 110 percent mean load transfer efficiency. As nondoweled joints increase in load transfer efficiency, it has more passes than doweled joints doweled joints exhibit higher load transfer efficiency than nondoweled.

Figure 22.   Distribution of section LTE mean value, nondoweled versus doweled, leave test (J5).

Figure 23. Distribution of joint LTE mean value, nondoweled versus doweled, approach test (J4). The mean load transfer efficiency, of 20 to 110 percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The cumulative percentage of joints is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure has two sites, doweled and nondoweled joints. Both joints begin at the lowest cumulative percentage of joints (2 to 6) at 20 percent mean load transfer efficiency and gradually increases in a curved line. As nondoweled joints increase in load transfer efficiency, it has more passes than doweled joints The doweled joint ends at the highest cumulative percentage of joints (98) at 100 percent mean load transfer efficiency. The nondoweled joint ends at the highest cumulative percentage of passed (100) at 110 percent mean load transfer efficiency. Nondoweled joints exhibit higher load transfer efficiency than doweled.

Figure 23.  Distribution of joint LTE mean value, nondoweled versus doweled,   approach test (J4).

1 inch = 25.4 mm

Figure 24. Distribution of joint LTE mean value for different dowel diameters, approach test (J4). The mean load transfer efficiency, percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The cumulative percentage of joint is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure consists of three diameters; dowel diameter less than 1.25 inches, equal to 1.25 inches, and greater than 1.25 inches. All three sites begin at the lowest cumulative percentage of passes (0 to 3) at 20 percent mean load transfer efficiency. The dowel diameters increase gradually in an S-shaped curve. The dowel diameter less than 1.25 ends at the cumulative percentage of joints (99) at 100 percent mean load transfer efficiency. Dowel diameter greater than 1.25 ends at the cumulative percentage of joints (88) at 95 percent mean load transfer efficiency. The dowel diameter, equal to 1.25, ends at the highest cumulative percentage of joints (100) at 110 percent mean load transfer efficiency. Dowel diameter does not have a significant effect on load transfer efficiency.

Figure 24.  Distribution of joint LTE mean value for different dowel diameters, approach test (J4).

Figure 25. Distribution of joint LTE mean value, nondoweled versus doweled, leave test (J5). The mean load transfer efficiency, of 20 to 110 percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The cumulative percentage of joints is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure has two sites, doweled and nondoweled joints. The joints begin on the lowest cumulative percentage of joints (2 to 4) at 20 percent mean load transfer efficiency and increases gradually in an S-shaped curve. As nondoweled joints increase in load transfer efficiency, it has slightly more passes than doweled joints. The doweled joint ends at the cumulative percentage of joints (98) at 100 percent mean load transfer efficiency. Nondoweled joints end at the highest cumulative percentage of joints (99) at 110 percent mean load transfer efficiency. Nondoweled joints have a higher load transfer efficiency than doweled.

Figure 25.  Distribution of joint LTE mean value, nondoweled versus doweled, leave test (J5).

1 inch = 25.4 mm

Figure 26. Distribution of joint LTE mean value for different dowel diameters, leave test (J5). The mean load transfer efficiency, of 20 to110 percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The cumulative percentage of joints is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure has three dowel diameters; less than 1.25, equal to 1.25, and greater than 1.25. The dowel diameter begins at the lowest cumulative percentage of joints (0 to 2) at 20 percent mean load transfer efficiency and increases gradually in an S-shaped curve. The dowel diameters end at the highest cumulative percentage of joints (100) at 110 percent mean load transfer efficiency. There is no significance on load transfer efficiency.

Figure 26.  Distribution of joint LTE mean value for different dowel diameters, leave test (J5).

Effect of Base Type 

The LTPP PCC pavement sections employ many different types of materials as the base layer.  To analyze the effects of base type on joint/crack LTE determined from the FWD deflection data, these different types were combined into four groups: untreated aggregate base (AGG), asphalt-treated base (ATB), cement-treated base (CTB), and lean concrete base (LCB).  The materials used for AGG included gravel or crushed stone, limerock, and soil-aggregate mixture.  The materials used for ATB included dense-graded asphalt cement, open-graded asphalt concrete, and sand asphalt.  The materials used for CTB included cement-aggregate mixture and cement-treated subgrade soil.

LTEs of individual joints were separated according these base types.  Figures 27 and 28 show cumulative distributions of doweled joints LTEs for different base types calculated from approach and leave tests, respectively.  No significant correlation was found between LTE distribution and base type for doweled joints.

LTE distributions for nondoweled joints for different base types computed from approach and leave tests are shown in figures 29 and 30, respectively. AGG, ATB, and CTB exhibited very similar distributions of LTE.  In addition, joints in JCP sections with LCB exhibited lower LTE than joints in JCP sections with other base types.  A statistical t-test was conducted to compare the significance of the difference in LTE for pavements with LCB and other bases.  It was found that this difference was statistically significant (p-value equal to 1.e-9).

This analysis was conducted for mean joint LTE.  Some joints were tested several times a day, whereas others were tested only once per visit.  An additional analysis was conducted to compare mean section LTEs.  Only the first FWD pass from each visit was considered in this analysis.  A t-test was conducted to compare mean section LTEs for the nondoweled sections with LCB with other nondoweled JCP sections.  Table 10 presents the results of the analysis.  As in the analysis of LTEs from individual joints, mean LTE for sections with LCB is lower than mean LTE for all other sections.  A moderate level of statistical significance (p-value equal to 0.1) was found. 

This result is somewhat unexpected, as it commonly is believed that the presence of a stabilized base should improve LTE.  However, the presence of a stiff base may increase PCC slab curling and also may contribute to lower LTE.  In addition, a crack in LCB often exists directly beneath the joint in the PCC slab above, which would cause a reduction in LTE of the PCC slab and base.

Figure 27. Distribution of joint LTE mean values for different base types, doweled joints, approach test (J4). The mean load transfer efficiency, of 20 to 110 percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The cumulative percentage of joints is graphed on the vertical axis. The graph shows cumulative distributions of dowel joints load transfer efficiency for different base types calculated from approach tests. The figure has four bases; untreated aggregate base, asphalt-treated base, cement-treated base, and lean concrete base. The bases begin at the lowest cumulative percentage of joints (0 to 2) at 20 percent mean load transfer efficiency and gradually increases in an S-shaped curve. The bases end at the highest cumulative percentage of joints (100) at 110 percent mean load transfer efficiency. No significant correlation was found between load transfer efficiency distribution and base type for doweled joints

Figure 27.  Distribution of joint LTE mean values for different base types, doweled joints, approach test (J4).

Figure 28. Distribution of joint LTE mean values for different base types, doweled joints, leave test (J5). The mean load transfer efficiency, of 20 to 110 percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The cumulative percentage of joints is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure shows cumulative distributions of doweled joints load transfer efficiencies for different base types calculated from leave test. The bases consist of untreated aggregate base, asphalt-treated base, cement-treated base, and lean concrete base. The bases start at the lowest cumulative percentage of joints (0 to 1) at 20 percent mean load transfer efficiency and gradually increase in an S-shaped curve. The bases end at the highest cumulative percentage of joints (98 to 100) at 100 percent mean load transfer efficiency. No significant correlation was found between load transfer efficiency distribution and base type for doweled joints.

Figure 28. Distribution of joint LTE mean values for different base types, doweled joints, leave test (J5).

Figure 29. Distribution of joint LTE mean values for different base types, nondoweled joints, approach test (J4). The mean load transfer efficiency, of 20 to 110 percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The cumulative percentage of joints is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure shows load transfer efficiency distributions for nondoweled joints for different base types computed from approach tests. The bases are untreated aggregate base, asphalt-treated base, cement-treated base, and lean concrete base. The bases begin at the lowest cumulative percentage of joints (2 to 10) at 20 percent mean load transfer efficiency and increases gradually in an S-shaped curve. The bases end at the highest cumulative percentage of joint (99) at 110 percent mean load transfer efficiency. The differences in load transfer efficiency for pavements with the bases are statistically significant.

Figure 29.  Distribution of joint LTE mean values for different base types, nondoweled joints, approach test (J4).

Figure 30. Distribution of joint LTE for different base types, nondoweled joints, leave test (J5). The mean load transfer efficiency, of 20 to 110 percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The cumulative percentage of joint is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure shows load transfer efficiencies of distributions for nondoweled joints for different bases types computed from the leave test. The bases are untreated aggregate base, asphalt-treated base, cement-treated base, and lean cement base. The bases begin at the lowest cumulative percentage of joints (1 to 5) at 20 percent mean load transfer efficiency and increases gradually in an S-shaped curve. The base ends at the highest cumulative percentage of joints (100) at 110 percent mean load transfer efficiency. The difference is statistically significant.

Figure 30.  Distribution of joint LTE mean values for different base types, nondoweled joints, leave test (J5).

Table 10.  Results of t-test for the effects of LCB on mean section LTE.

Test

Mean LTE

p-value

Statistical

LCB

Other JCP

Significance*

Approach (J4)

57.48

62.9

0.10

Moderately significant

Leave (J5)

65.46

70.3

0.11

Moderately significant

* p-value less than or equal to 0.05 was considered significant.

Effect of Subgrade Type on LTE

LTPP rigid pavement section support conditions vary from soft, fine-graded material to rock subgrade.  Using the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' (AASHTO) soil classification, the PCC test section subgrade soils were grouped into coarse subgrade (AAHTO soil types A-1, A-2, and A-3) and fine subgrade (AASHTO soil types A-4, A-5, A-6, and A-7). 

Mean joint LTEs were compared separately for doweled and nondoweled joints.  Figures 31 and 32 show comparisons of cumulative distributions of LTE for doweled joints from approach and leave tests, respectively.  The joints of PCC sections with fine subgrade exhibited higher LTEs than sections with coarse subgrade for both approach and leave tests.  For example, in the approach test, only 30 percent of joints of the sections with fine subgrade had LTEs less than 80 percent, whereas for sections with coarse subgrade such joints account for almost 40 percent of all joints.  Although mean LTEs for fine and coarse subgrade sections were quite close (81.9 and 78.5, respectively, for approach tests, and 83.9 and 81.0, respectively, for leave tests), a statistical t-test showed that the difference between LTE for fine and coarse subgrade sections is statistically significant, as shown in table 11.

Although this observation is somewhat surprising, it can be explained mechanistically.  As was explained in chapter 2, joint LTE is governed by a nondimensional joint stiffness parameter, AGG*, defined as

The nondimensional joint stiffness parameter equals the combined joint stiffness due to dowel and aggregate load transfer divided by the subgrade K-value times the radius of relative stiffness.                                                        (21)

where:

-          AGGtot = the combined joint stiffness due to dowel and aggregate load transfer.

-          k = the subgrade k-value.

-          The radius of relative stiffness = the radius of relative stiffness. 

If two pavements have the same joint and other design features but are placed on different subgrades, they should have the same joint stiffness.  In addition, a section with a lower k-value will have lower product of k-value and the radius of relative stiffness.  Therefore, a section with a lower k-value will have higher nondimensional joint stiffness, AGG, and higher joint LTE. 

As found by Khazanovich et al. (2001), the LTPP sections with a coarse subgrade have, on average, higher k-values than the sections with fine subgrade, and this difference is statistically significant.  Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that JCP with a coarse subgrade would exhibit lower LTE, on average.

However, an analysis of the effect of subgrade type on LTE of nondoweled joints found higher LTE for sections with fine subgrade only for approach tests, as presented in figure 33.  A statistical t-test also confirmed the significance of the difference.  No difference was found for LTE calculated from the leave slab test, as demonstrated in figure 34.  A statistical t-test confirmed lack of significance (see table 11).   

Figure 31. Distribution of joint LTE mean values for different subgrade types, doweled joints, approach test (J4). The mean loaded transfer efficiency, of 10 to 110 percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The cumulative percentage of joints is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure shows comparisons of cumulative distributions of load transfer efficiency for doweled joints from the approach test. The sites include coarse-grained and fine soil types. The sites begin at the lowest cumulative percentage of joints (2 to 3) at 20 percent mean load transfer efficiency and gradually increase in an S-shaped curve. The coarse-grained soil ends at the cumulative percentage of joints (98) at 100 percent mean load transfer efficiency. The fine-grade soil ends at the highest cumulative percentage of joints (100) at 110 percent mean load transfer efficiency. The fine grade soil exhibited higher load transfer efficiencies than sections with coarse grain for the approach test.

Figure 31. Distribution of joint LTE mean values for different subgrade types, doweled joints, approach test (J4).

Figure 32. Distribution of joint LTE mean values for different subgrade types, doweled joints, leave test (J5). The mean loaded transfer efficiency, of 20 to 110 percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The cumulative percentage of joints is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure shows comparisons of cumulative distributions of load transfer efficiency for doweled joints from the leave test. The figure is a line graph with two sites. The sites include coarse grained and fine subgrades of soil. The subgrades begin on the lowest cumulative percentage of joints (0 to 2) at 20 percent mean load transfer efficiency and gradually increases in an S-shaped curve. The coarse-grained subgrade ends on the cumulative percentage of joints (98) at 100 percent mean load transfer efficiency. The fine subgrade ends at the highest cumulative percentage of joints (100) at 110 percent mean load transfer efficiency. The fine subgrade soil exhibited higher load transfer efficiency than coarse-grained for the leave test.

Figure 32. Distribution of joint LTE mean values for different subgrade types, doweled joints, leave test (J5).

Figure 33. Distribution of joint LTE mean values for different subgrade types, nondoweled joints, approach test (J4). The mean loaded transfer efficiency, of 20 to 110 percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The cumulative percentage of joints is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure shows comparisons of cumulative distributions of load transfer efficiency for nondoweled joints from the approach test. The figure is a line graph with two sites. The sites include coarse grained and fine subgrade soils. The subgrades begin on the lowest cumulative percentage of joints (4 to 8) at 20 percent mean load transfer efficiency and gradually increases in an S-shaped curve. The coarse-grained subgrade ends on the cumulative percentage of joints (98) at 100 percent mean load transfer efficiency. The fine subgrade ends at the highest cumulative percentage of joints (100) at 110 percent mean load transfer efficiency. The fine subgrade soil exhibited higher load transfer efficiency than coarse-grained for the approach test.

Figure 33. Distribution of joint LTE mean values for different subgrade types, nondoweled joints, approach test (J4).

Figure 34. Distribution of joint LTE mean values for different subgrade types, nondoweled joints, leave test (J5). The mean loaded transfer efficiency, of 20 to 110 percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The cumulative percentage of joints is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure shows comparisons of cumulative distributions of load transfer efficiency for nondoweled joints from the leave test. The sites include coarse grained and fine subgrade soils. The subgrades begin on the lowest cumulative percentage of joints (2) at 20 percent mean load transfer efficiency and gradually increases in an S-shaped curve. The coarse-grained subgrade ends on the cumulative percentage of joints (98) at 100 percent mean load transfer efficiency. The fine subgrade ends at the highest cumulative percentage of joints (100) at 110 percent mean load transfer efficiency. The fine subgrade soil exhibited higher load transfer efficiency than coarse-grained for the leave test.

Figure 34. Distribution of joint LTE mean values for different subgrade types, nondoweled joints, leave test (J5).

Table 11.  Results of t-test for the effects of subgrade type on mean section LTE.

Joint Type

Test

Mean LTE

p-value

Statistical

Fine Subgrade

Coarse Subgrade

Significance*

Doweled

approach

 78.54

81.99

0.000240

significant

Doweled

leave

 81.00

83.95

0.000001

significant

Nondoweled

approach

 65.35

67.51

0.000481

significant

Nondoweled

leave

72.82

73.25

0.427858

not significant

* p-value less than or equal to 0.05 was considered significant.

Effect of PCC Thickness on LTE

The effects of PCC thickness of cracks and joints on LTE were analyzed in this study.  To exclude the effects of multiple visits and passes, only one LTE value for each section was used in the analysis (the value that corresponds to the lowest mean LTE from all visits from both test types).  The analysis was performed separately for CRCP, doweled JCP, and nondoweled JCP.  Figures 35, 36, and 37 present the results of this analysis.  No significant correlation between PCC thickness and LTE level was observed for any pavement type.

1 mm = .039 inch

Figure 35. PCC thickness versus load transfer in CRCP sections. The portland cement concrete thickness (HPCC), of 0 to 350 millimeters, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The load transfer efficiency, percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a scatter plot and line graph to compare portland cement concrete thickness of cracks and joints on load transfer efficiency. The figure has a linear slope of Y equals 0.0148 times X plus 85.782 with a coefficient of determination (R squared) equals 0.0178. The line begins at the lowest load transfer efficiency (88) at 150 millimeters and increases in a straight line to the highest load transfer efficiency (91 percent) at 325 millimeters. The scatter plot is clustered along this line. There is no significant correlation between portland cement concrete thickness and load transfer efficiency level for continuously reinforced concrete pavement.

Figure 35. PCC thickness versus LTE in CRCP sections.

1 mm = .039 inch

Figure 36. PCC thickness versus LTE in JCP doweled sections. The portland cement concrete thickness (HPCC), of 0 to 400 millimeters, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The load transfer efficiency, percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a line graph with a linear slope of Y equals 0.0115 times X plus 68.761 and a coefficient of determination (R squared) equals 0.005. The line begins at the lowest load transfer efficiency (72 percent) at 150 millimeters and increases in a straight line to 73 percent at 325 millimeters. The scatter plots are scattered above and below the slope. There is no significant correlation between portland cement concrete thickness and load transfer efficiency level for joint concrete pavement doweled sections

Figure 36. PCC thickness versus LTE in JCP doweled sections.

1 mm = .039 inch

Figure 37. PCC thickness versus LTE in JCP nondoweled sections. The portland cement concrete thickness (HPCC), of 0 to 400 inches, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The load transfer efficiency, percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a line graph with a linear inverse slope of Y equals negative 0.0363 times X plus 61.791 and a coefficient of determination (R squared) equals 0.0022. The line begins at the highest load transfer efficiency (56 percent) at 150 inches and decreases in a straight line to 48 percent at 350 inches. The scatter plots are cluster above and below the line. There is no significant correlation between portland cement concrete thickness and load transfer efficiency level for joint concrete pavement nondoweled sections.

Figure 37.  PCC thickness versus LTE in JCP nondoweled sections.

Effect of PCC Strength on LTE

The effect of PCC compressive strength on LTE of cracks and joints was analyzed in this study.  The analysis was performed separately for CRCP, doweled JCP, and nondoweled JCP, using only the minimum LTE values from all FWD visits and test types.  Figures 38, 39, and 40 present the results.  No significant correlation was found between PCC strength and LTE level for any pavement type.  For CRCP, a slight decrease in LTE level was observed with strength increase.  This may be explained by the higher level of shrinkage usually associated with high-strength PCC mixes.  A higher level of shrinkage may increase crack opening and reduce LTE.  It should be noted, however, that the trend is not significant enough to draw any definitive conclusions.

1 psi = 6.895 kPa

Figure 38. PCC compressive strength versus LTE in CRCP sections. The figure is a scatter plot. Compressive strength, of 0 to 8000 PSI, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The load transfer efficiency, percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The plots are randomly distributed between 80 to 95 percent load transfer efficiency and between the compressive strength of 2500 to 6400 PSI. There is no significance found between portland cement concrete strength and load transfer efficiency level for continuously reinforced concrete pavement.

Figure 38.  PCC compressive strength versus LTE in CRCP sections.

1 psi = 6.895 kPa

Figure 39. PCC compressive strength versus LTE in JCP doweled sections. Compressive strength, of 0 to 9000 PSI, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The load transfer efficiency, percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a scatter plot with a cluster of dots between 28 to 95 percent load transfer efficiency and between compressive strength of 3000 to 6400 PSI. There is no significance found between portland cement concrete compressive strength and load transfer efficiency in doweled joint concrete pavement.

Figure 39. PCC compressive strength versus LTE in JCP doweled sections. 

Figure 40. PCC compressive strength versus LTE in JCP nondoweled sections. Compressive strength, of 0 to 8000 PSI, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The load transfer efficiency, percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a scatter plot with plots randomly spread out though the graph. Clusters of dots reside between 11 to 94 percent load transfer efficiency and between compressive strength of 300 to 6800 PSI. There is no significance between portland cement concrete compressive strength and load transfer efficiency in nondoweled joint concrete pavement.

1 psi = 6.895 kPa

Figure 40.  PCC compressive strength versus LTE in nondoweled sections.

Effect of Design Steel Content on LTE

The effect of the longitudinal reinforcement on LTE of cracks in CRCP sections was investigated in this study, using only the minimum LTE values from all FWD visits and test types.  Figure 41 presents the results.  No significant correlation between PCC thickness and LTE level was observed for any pavement type.

Figure 41. Steel content versus LTE in CRCP sections. Longitudinal steel, of 0.5 to 0.8 percent, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The load transfer efficiency is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a scatter plot with dots between 74 to 95 percent load transfer efficiency and proceeds across the longitudinal steel axis. There is no significant correlation between steel content and load transfer efficiency in continuously reinforced concrete pavement.

Figure 41.  Steel content versus LTE in CRCP sections.

Effect of Joint and Crack Spacing on LTE

The effects of contraction joint spacing on lowest mean LTE of JCP joints and cracks in CRCP sections were investigated in this study.  Figures 42 and 43 present plots of LTE of JCP sections versus mean joint spacing, and LTE of CRCP sections versus mean crack spacing, respectively.  No significant correlation between LTE and joint/crack spacing was observed in either case.

1 ft = .305 m

Figure 42. Mean joint spacing versus LTE in nondoweled JCP sections. Layer spacing, of 0 to 70 feet, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The load transfer efficiency, percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a scatter plot, with the majority of the plots clustered between 10 to 25 feet of layer spacing and along the load transfer efficiency in a vertical pattern. There is no significant correlation between load transfer efficiency and joint spacing.

Figure 42.  Mean joint spacing versus LTE in nondoweled JCP sections.

1 m = 3.28 ft

Figure 43. Mean crack spacing versus LTE in CRCP sections. Observed average crack spacing, of 0 to 3 meters, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The load transfer efficiency, of 0 to 110 percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a scatter plot with the points clustered in a horizontal position between load transfer efficiencies of 75 to 99 percent. There is no significant correlation between load transfer efficiency and crack spacing

Figure 43.  Mean crack spacing versus LTE in CRCP sections.

Effect of Joint Orientation on LTE

Although the practice of skewing joints has been common for many years, there exists little evidence of its benefits.  The effects of joint skewness on LTE were investigated in this study.  As can be observed from Figurefigure 44, no significant correlation between LTE and joint skewness was found.

1 ft = .305 m

Figure 44. Joint skewness versus JCP LTE. Joint skewness, of 0 to 6 feet per lane, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The load transfer efficiency, percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a line graph with a linear slope of Y equals 0.0612 times X plus 49.213 and a coefficient of determination (R squared) equals 5 times E minus 6. The line is horizontal. The figure also contains scatter plots with the bulk of the plots in a vertical pattern on joint skewness of 0 to 2 percent. There is no significant correlation between load transfer efficiency and joint skewness.

Figure 44. Joint skewness versus JCP LTE.

Effect of Climatic Factors on LTE

The effects of four climatic parameters (annual precipitation, number of annual freezing-thawing cycles, annual freezing index, and mean annual temperature) on LTE were also analyzed in this study.  The analysis was conducted separately for CRCP, doweled JCP, and nondoweled JCP.  Annual precipitation showed no appreciable effect on LTE.  Figure 45 shows a slight decrease in LTE as precipitation increases.  This effect is even less pronounced for nondoweled JCP and CRCP sections.  Analysis of the effects of temperature factors show that sections in a cold climate (Freezing Index of greater that 800 o C-day) exhibited higher LTE than sections located in a warmer climate, as can be observed from figure 46.  No appreciable effect of climatic variables on LTE of nondoweled JCP and CRCP sections was found, as can be observed from figures 47 and 48.

1 mm = .039 inch

Figure 45. Annual precipitation versus LTE of doweled JCP. The mean annual precipitation, of 0 to 1800 millimeters, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The load transfer efficiency, percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure has a linear inverse slope of Y equals negative 0.0233 times X plus 82.702 and a coefficient of determination (R squared) equals 0.1342. The line begins at the highest load transfer efficiency (80 percent) at 200 millimeters and decreases in a straight line to 63 percent at 1700 millimeters. The scatter plots are clustered above and below the line. There is a slight decrease in load transfer efficiency as mean annual precipitation increases.

Figure 45.  Annual precipitation versus LTE of doweled JCP.

°F-days = 1.8 °C-days

Figure 46. Freezing index versus LTE of doweled JCP. Freezing index, of 0 to 1600 degree Celsius per day, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The load transfer efficiency, percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a line graph with a slope of Y equals 0.0178 times X plus 65.084 and a coefficient of determination (R squared) equals 0.1342. The line begins at the lowest load transfer efficiency (65 percent) at 0 degrees and increases in a straight line to 92 percent at 1500 degrees per day. As load transfer efficiency increases, the temperature increases. Sections in a cold climate exhibited higher load transfer efficiency than sections located in a warmer climate.

Figure 46. Freezing index versus LTE of doweled JCP.

Figure 47. Annual number of freeze-thaw cycles versus LTE of nondoweled JCP. Average number of freeze-thaw cycles, of 0 to 250, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The load transfer efficiency, percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a line graph with a linear slope of Y equals negative 0.0059 times X plus 53.262 and a coefficient of determination (R square) equals 0.0001. The line begins at the highest load transfer efficiency (53) at 0 cycles and decreases gradually in a straight line to 52 percent at 220 numbers of cycles. The scatter plots are clustered throughout the graph in no discernable order. There is no appreciable effect of climate variables on load transfer efficiency on nondoweled joint concrete pavement.

Figure 47. Annual number of freeze-thaw cycles versus LTE of nondoweled JCP.

F = 1.8C + 32

Figure 48. Mean annual temperature versus LTE of CRCP. Mean annual temperature, of 0 to 25 degree Celsius, is graphed on the horizontal axis. The load transfer efficiency, percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a line graph with a linear slope of Y equals negative 0.27 times X plus 91.773 and a coefficient of determination (R squared) equals 0.0447. The line begins at 90 percent load transfer efficiency at 5 degrees and decreases gradually in a straight line. The scatter plots are clustered along the slope. There is no appreciable effect of climate variables on load transfer efficiency of nondoweled continuously reinforced concrete pavement.

Figure 48. Mean annual temperature versus LTE of CRCP.

Effect of Pavement Age on LTE

It is expected that the LTE of joints and cracks deteriorate over time.  However, the rate of deterioration depends on many parameters, such as climatic conditions, design features, traffic loading, and PCC material properties.  Figures 49, 50, and 51 show LTEs of nondoweled JCP, doweled JCP, and CRCP, respectively, versus time for approach slab testing.  No strong trends were observed.  For example, many old JCP and CRCP exhibited a high level of LTE after more than 20 years of service.  Additionally, In addition, several recently constructed JCP, both doweled and nondoweled, show a low level of LTE after only a few years of construction.  This is a phenomenon that should be investigated further investigated.  Analysis of LTEs from leave slab tests also did not identify any definitive trend.

Figure 49. Age versus LTE of nondoweled sections, approach test (J4). Age, 0 to 50 years, is graphed on the horizontal axis. Load transfer efficiency, percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a scatter plot with clusters distributed throughout the graph in no consistent order. The plots range between 12 to 99 percent load transfer efficiency and 0 to 48 years. There are no strong trends to correlate load transfer efficiency and nondoweled sections.

Figure 49. Age versus LTE of nondoweled sections, approach test (J4).

Figure 50. Age versus LTE of doweled sections, approach test (J4). Age, 0 to 45 years, is graphed on the horizontal axis. Load transfer efficiency, percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a scatter plot. The clusters are randomly placed between 10 to 100 percent load transfer efficiency and 0 to 43 years. There is no significant correlation between load transfer efficiency of doweled sections and age.

Figure 50. Age versus LTE of doweled sections, approach test (J4).

Figure 51. Age versus LTE of CRCP sections, approach test (C4). Age, 0 to 45 years, is graphed on the horizontal axis. Load transfer efficiency, percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a scatter plot with load transfer efficiency above 64 percent between 2 to 42 years. The plots are scattered on a horizontal pattern. There is no significant correlation between load transfer efficiency of doweled sections and the age.

Figure 51.  Age versus LTE of CRCP sections, approach test (C4).

Effects of LTE on Pavement Performance

In this study, the effect of LTE on JCP faulting of JCP and CRCP punchouts of CRCP was investigated.

Effect of LTE on Joint Faulting

Low LTE is one of the factors that contributes to transverse joint faulting in PCC pavements.  The maximum faulting for JCP sections was plotted versus the corresponding lowest recorded mean section LTEs, as presented for doweled and nondoweled sections, figures 52 and 53, respectively.  No strong correlation was found for doweled sections, although a few doweled sections exhibited significant faulting.  A stronger correlation was found for nondoweled sections.  Sections that exhibited average joint faulting greater than 2.5 mm (0.1 inch) have a lower percentage of sections with high LTE level greater than 80 percent than the sections with low faulting level (see figure 54).

1 mm = .039 inch

Figure 52. Faulting versus LTE of doweled JCP. Faulting, measured from negative 2 to 12 millimeters, is graphed on the horizontal axis. Load transfer efficiency, percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure has a linear inverse slope of Y equals negative 2.9416 times X plus 74.827 and a coefficient of determination (R squared) equals 0.0654. The line begins at the highest load transfer efficiency (77 percent) at negative 0.5 millimeters and decreases in a straight line to 42 percent at 11 millimeters. There are plots scattered throughout the graph with a cluster between 0 to 1 millimeter faulting and between 60 to 96 percent load transfer efficiency. There is no significant correlation between faulting and load transfer efficiency of joint concrete pavement.

Figure 52.  Faulting versus. LTE of doweled JCP.

1 mm = .039 inch

Figure 53. Faulting versus LTE of nondoweled JCP. Faulting, measured from 0 to 10 millimeters, is graphed on the horizontal axis. Load transfer efficiency, percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure has a linear inverse slope of Y equals negative 3.9855 times X plus 59.886 and a coefficient of determination (R squared) equals 0.0915. The line begins at the highest load transfer efficiency (59 percent) at 0 millimeters and decreases in a straight line to 24 percent at 9.5 millimeters. The plots are scatter between 0 to 5 millimeter faulting and along the load transfer efficiencies. There is a significant transverse correlation between low load transfer efficiency and nondoweled joint concrete pavement.

Figure 53.  Faulting versus. LTE of nondoweled JCP.

1 mm = .039 inch

Figure 54. Effect of LTE on faulting of nondoweled pavements. Maximum edge faulting, measured less than and greater than 2.5 millimeters, is graphed on the horizontal axis. Number of sections, 0 to 40, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a histogram with three bars. The bars are load transfer efficiency less than 50 percent; load transfer efficiency greater than 50 percent and less than 80 percent; and load transfer efficiency greater than 80 percent. Sections that exhibited average joint faulting greater than 2.5 millimeters have a lower percentage of sections with high load transfer level greater than 80 percent than the sections with low faulting. There is a strong correlation for nondoweled sections.

Figure 54.  Effect of LTE on faulting of nondoweled pavements.

Effect of LTE on Punchouts

The majority of the LTPP CRCP sections exhibited very good performance, with only a few developing significant punchout levels.  No significant relationship between crack LTE and number of punchouts was found in this study, as illustrated by figure 55.

Figure 55. Number of punchouts (all severity levels) versus LTE. Number of punchouts, 0 to 25, is graphed on the horizontal axis. Load transfer efficiency, percent, is graphed on the vertical axis. The figure is a scatter plot, which shows the majority of punchouts between 55 to 95 percent load transfer efficiency at zero. There is no significant correlation between load transfer efficiency and number of punchouts.

Figure 55.  Number of punchouts (all severity levels) versus LTE.

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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation and is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with field offices across the United States. is a major agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation and is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with field offices across the United States. is a major agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Provide leadership and technology for the delivery of long life pavements that meet our customers needs and are safe, cost effective, and can be effectively maintained. Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) R&T Web site portal, which provides access to or information about the Agency’s R&T program, projects, partnerships, publications, and results.
FHWA
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration