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Mechanistic-Based Procedure for the Early Opening of Concrete Pavements

Kosar, Katelyn (2023) Mechanistic-Based Procedure for the Early Opening of Concrete Pavements. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Determining the opening time for a concrete pavement is a critical decision. Longer construction time may negatively affect the contractor and funding government agency by increasing construction cost and the travelling public by increasing the time lost to drivers due to congestion or detours. However, opening early can be detrimental to short- and long-term pavement performance. If a pavement has not had the time to reach the strength needed to carry the expected traffic load, performance issues are possible and the chance of failure or damage increases the earlier a pavement is opened.
Current criteria for opening a concrete pavement to traffic are empirically derived and often outdated with most transportation agencies using an age and strength requirement. The existing criteria do not account for time of construction, design features, early age traffic load conditions, climate conditions, edge support conditions, and other factors that affect early age pavement performance. The current methods also ignore the effect early opening has on the long-term performance. This limits the accuracy of cost-benefit decisions for the life of the pavement when considering when to open to traffic and causes conservative opening times that unnecessarily extend construction and road closure. To address these limitations, this study aimed to improve flexibility and efficiency in traffic opening criteria without compromising pavement performance.
The accurate determination and prediction of in-place concrete strength during early-age development until it achieves design strength is a crucial element of the early opening process. To achieve this, a procedure was proposed that combines nondestructive maturity and ultrasound
tomography methods to improve early-age concrete strength evaluation. This approach leverages the predictive capabilities of the maturity method along with the accuracy and efficiency of ultrasonic testing to obtain maximum information on in-situ concrete strength development during early ages. The combined nondestructive test procedure involves evaluating the shear wave velocity and using the maturity method to predict concrete strength development for a specific location and construction month, enabling users to make informed decisions on when to perform early-age procedures.
A mechanistic-based model for prediction of pavement damage due to early pavement opening was also proposed. The procedure accounts for site conditions and pavement characteristics creating a simplified but accurate model for stress estimations. Web tools were published to implement the developed procedures for easy public use. This provides users with the probability of damage occurring for an alternative opening strength beyond the conservative, generalized state criteria. Users can move forward with procedures based on the conditions of their individual project and increase their allowable construction efficiency.
The results of the recently conducted full scale and laboratory tests conducted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation as well as the University of Pittsburgh Impactful Resilient Infrastructure Science and Engineering (IRISE) public/private research consortium were used to calibrate and validate the methods developed in this study.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kosar, Katelynkmk221@pitt.edukmk221
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorKhazanovich,
Committee MemberVandenbossche,
Committee MemberAlavi,
Committee MemberRoesler,
Date: 13 June 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 22 March 2023
Approval Date: 13 June 2023
Submission Date: 11 April 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 210
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Civil and Environmental Engineering
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: concrete, pavement, nondestructive testing, ultrasonic testing, maturity
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2023 14:05
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2023 14:05


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