Masters Thesis Defense for Edward Blanchard

Masters Thesis Defense Announcement

Master of Construction and Facilities Management

Name: Edward Blanchard

Date: Friday, April 15, 2016 at 9:00 am

Location: Smith 322

Thesis Committee Chair: Dr. Tara Cavalline



Title: Determination and Evaluation of Inputs for Portland Cement Concrete Pavement to Support Local Calibration of MEPDG for North Carolina



The Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) is a state-of-the-practice tool that is used for the analysis and design of pavements, using mechanical and statistical models that have been developed over the past several decades for the prediction of pavement deteriorations, and is currently available as the AASHTOWare Pavement ME software.  AASHTO states that local calibration is necessary for optimal performance of MEPDG.  The goals of this research study were to develop a catalog of inputs for Portland cement concrete (PCC) to be utilized in MEPDG pavement design and analysis and to gain an understanding of the impact of these new concrete inputs on design and predicted performance for North Carolina pavements.

Eighteen different concrete mixtures produced using a variety of materials local to North Carolina were batched and tested to provide data to support development of a catalog of new, locally appropriate PCC inputs.  To facilitate analysis of the impact of the new PCC inputs, selected typical pavement designs for different types of North Carolina roadways were re-analyzed in using the AASHTOWare Pavement ME software, utilizing the new PCC inputs in place of the PCC inputs previously used (typically defaults).  It was consistently found that the predicted performances of pavement sections re-analyzed using the new suggested input values found through laboratory testing of concrete with locally available materials outperform those sections as designed using the input values for PCC currently utilized by NCDOT.  Additionally, it was determined that use of the new PCC input values may also result in the design of slightly thinner concrete pavements in the future.  Thinner pavements will reduce the amount of materials used in pavement construction, resulting in lower costs and environmental impact of concrete pavement.

A sensitivity analysis was also conducted to compare the relative sensitivity of distress measures to changes in inputs.  Findings of the sensitivity analysis using the proposed North Carolina PCC inputs were similar to those of sensitivity analyses performed by other researchers.

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