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Publication Details

Study of LTPP Laboratory Resilient Modulus Test Data and Response Characteristics Research/Reference: useful for researchers doing further work in the pavement area as well as those developing improved testing and design procedures. Includes documents of historical value.

Primary Topic: Pavement Issues

Description: The resilient modulus of every unbound structural layer of the Long-Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) Specific Pavement and General Pavement Studies Test Sections is being measured in the laboratory using LTPP test protocol P46. A total of 2,014 resilient modulus tests have passed all quality control checks and are included in the LTPP database with a Level E data status. As of October 2000, there were 1,639 resilient modulus tests yet to be performed. In some cases, these missing tests may have been performed, but did not achieve a Level E status (did not pass all quality control checks) in the LTPP database. However, these test results have not been evaluated in detail. This report documents the first comprehensive review and evaluation of the resilient modulus test data measured on pavement materials and soils recovered from the LTPP test sections.

The resilient modulus data were reviewed in detail to identify anomalies or potential errors in the database. From this review, a total of 185 resilient modulus tests were identified with possible problems or data entry errors. These tests were reported to FHWA for further review and/or retesting. The resilient modulus test data were found generally to be in excellent condition with less than 10 percent of the tests exhibiting potential anomalies or discrepancies in the data.

The resilient modulus test data were then studied for the effect of test variables, such as the test and sampling procedures, on the resulting resilient moduli. These data were analyzed by material code for the base and subbase aggregate layers and by soil type for the subgrade. Sampling technique (auger versus test pit) was found to have the most effect on the crushed stone aggregate and uncrushed gravel base materials. For the subgrade soils, sampling technique (Shelby tubes versus auger samples) had the most effect on the clay soils. Sampling technique was found to have little to no effect on the sand base/subbase materials and sand soils.

The resilient modulus data were further investigated to evaluate relationships between resilient modulus and the physical properties of the unbound materials and soils. Using nonlinear regression optimization techniques, equations for each base and soil type were developed to calculate the resilient modulus at a specific stress state from physical properties of the base materials and soils. The primary result from these studies is that the resilient modulus can be reasonably predicted from the physical properties included in the LTPP database, but there is a bias present in the calculated values. Thus, until additional test results become available to improve or confirm these relationships, it is recommended that at least some laboratory tests be performed to measure the resilient modulus for unbound pavement materials and soils.

FHWA Publication Number: FHWA-RD-02-051

Publication Year: 2002

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Updated: 04/11/2022
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