Conference Paper

Investigation of Crack Width Development in Continuously Reinforced Concrete Pavements

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The traffic volume on German motorways increased steadily and this trend is expected to continue in the future. To guarantee mobility in the future and reduce the national economic consequential costs, road construction with a maximum service life and a minimum of necessary maintenance are needed. Rigid road pavements with continuous reinforced concrete pavement (CRCP) are extremely durable in terms of use and maintenance. The behavior of CRCP is influenced by a number of specific characteristics such as the thickness and the quality of the concrete, the design and amount of the longitudinal and transversal reinforcement, the base layer and the environmental conditions at the time of construction and during service life. These aspects influence the crack pattern, crack distance and crack widths. Crack width initially depends on the temperature of construction (zero-stress temperature of the concrete). The ultimate shrinkage of the concrete also controls crack width over time. Thus, anything that will reduce shrinkage will be desirable for CRCP (AASHTO, 2008). Identified positive crack pattern are one important indicator of positive long-term behavior. From 1997 to today, a total of 8 sections with many variations have been built in Germany. As part of a research project, the RWTH University of Aachen and the German Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) are investigating these sections with CRCP with and without an asphalt surface course in Germany, and Poland and compare it to the Belgium standard constructions. The aim is to evaluate the different designs in the sections in terms of their behavior in service, to quantify achievable service lives, necessary maintenance and availability. To increase the service life of CRCP
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Continuously reinforced concrete pavements (CRCP) traditionally have been allowed to crack naturally. This type of passive crack control has resulted in nonuniform crack spacing, which has led to premature distress development Although the accuracy of the mean crack spacing prediction has greatly improved, punchout and spalling distresses on CRCP have been found to occur primarily at locations of small crack spacing, divided cracks, cluster cracks, and Y-cracks. The findings of previous research results on active crack control for CRCP in Texas are presented, along with the results from recent full-scale test sections constructed at the University of Illinois. The active crack control process used two systems: automated tape insertion and early entry saw cut. Active crack control was found to eliminate crack meandering, Y-cracks, divided cracks, and cluster cracking. The active crack control sections also propagated 90% of the cracks in the first month after construction, whereas the passive crack sections took 18 months to reach a similar number of cracks. Both active and passive cracks propagated only in the winter months. Crack opening measurements showed that active crack control resulted in slightly smaller movements relative to the natural crack sections. By using active crack control on CRCP, more uniform, straighter, and early-age transverse cracks result, which will increase the expected service life of CRCP.
The choice between continuously reinforced concrete pavement(CRCP) and jointed concrete pavement(JCP) for different concrete pavement applications has long been controversial. Research on these two types of pavement has been conducted continuously for decades, but existing studies have mostly focused on life cycle costs (LCCs) with numerous assumptions or have predicted life expectancy by using short-term performance results. In this study, comparing CRCP and JCP based on real performance data and actual maintenance and rehabilitation (M&R) cost data collected over 30 years from the Jungbu Expressway in Korea. To assess performance, the service life and pavement conditions of each pavement type were compared. To assess the cost, construction cost and M&R cost data collected over 30 years were compared. In terms of performance, CRCP was superior to JCP based on the 31-year service life of CRCP and the 28-year service life of JCP. In terms of pavement conditions, CRCP was also superior to JCP based on the Highway Pavement Condition Index (HPCI) and International Roughness Index (IRI). Furthermore, in terms of cost, although the construction cost of CRCP was slightly higher than that of JCP, the total cost of CRCP, including the M&R cost, was 8.5% less than that of JCP.
A state-of-the-art rigid pavement structure called the advanced reinforced concrete pavement (ARCP) was developed to overcome major shortcomings of the continuously reinforced concrete pavement (CRCP), which were the high construction cost because of a huge amount of steel bars and the performance reduction caused by undesirable crack patterns. The steel design method of ARCP was developed to eliminate unnecessary steel bars in CRCP and the crack induction strategies of ARCP were accomplished to provide even better pavement performance. The numerical analyses, laboratory experiments, and field experiments were conducted to confirm the concept of ARCP, to find the most appropriate design of ARCP, and to validate ARCP finally. Details of the efforts to develop ARCP are comprehensively presented.
Presented are recommendations for high-performance concrete paving (HPCP) practice drawn from 20 years of design and monitoring of the performance of continuously reinforced concrete (CRC) pavements in Texas. Performance indicators used were crack spacing distribution, crack width, crack randomness, delamination spalling, and vertical distribution of tensile strength. Variables studied were aggregate type, aggregate blending, placement season, placement time of day, placement above 32°C (90°F), use of crack initiators, use of skewed transverse steel, evaporation rate, percent steel reinforcement, and steel bar diameter. The variables studied are ranked in the order they affected performance, to identify which are significant and can be controlled in the design and construction phases. The focus is on the most recent experimental pavements designed and built specifically to study HPCP in Texas - 85 CRC test sections built at eight locations between 1986 and 1995 in the greater Houston area. Each project consisted of 8 to 22 experimental sections of slightly different design. These sections were closely controlled and monitored during construction, and periodic condition surveys continue to be conducted. The recommendations offered are especially useful under adverse conditions, such as hot weather placement of portland cement concrete using high thermal coefficient aggregates, or paving during periods of high surface evaporation. Critical temperatures and evaporation rates are specified; using weather stations, maturity meters, or other devices that indicate in situ temperatures and evaporation rates, dangerous conditions may be identified in time to take corrective measures and thus ensure adequate performance.
Crack width (CW) and crack spacing (CS) data from full-scale continuously reinforced concrete pavement (CRCP) test sections were collected and analyzed for this study. In order to compare CWs obtained under different temperature conditions, the CRCP CW model presented in the new mechanistic–empirical pavement design guide (MEPDG) was utilized to standardize the measurements. The MEPDG CS model was compared first to the measured data due to its direct link to CW prediction. Based on the measured material properties, pavement geometry, and climatic conditions, the predicted CS and the CS distribution matched the observations on the three main CRCP sections. Using the same inputs provided in the CS prediction, the CW model in the MEPDG significantly over predicted the measured CW. The CW model was calibrated with the measured data in order to compare CWs between sections acquired at various temperature conditions. At the standard temperature condition, the measured CW varied from 0.031 to 0.116 mm and was smaller for higher reinforcement ratios. The CW formula was modified to allow computation of CW at any slab depth. A study of CW variability in one test section showed a skewed distribution with a right tail.
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