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IRC 58-2011_A Discussion

IRC 58-2011_A Discussion

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IRC:58-2011- A discussion
Although the IRC:58
 – 
2011 design method for concrete pavements was a major stepforward it still has many compelling issues at stake in the design aspects mainly due to somuch simplifications and assumptions in the application of versatile Mechanistic-Empiricalpavement design (MEPD) approach which otherwise has huge potential to provide anoptimize designed pavement structure. Succeeding paragraphs presents a detailed discussionon all these issues.
1.
 
Distress Prediction and Failure Criterion:1.1
In IRC:58
 – 
2011, the rigid pavements are designed to resist both bottom-up as well astop-down fatigue cracking damages. It was assumed that bottom-up fatigue crackingwill occur due to moving traffic loads during mid-day hours i.e. between 10 AM to 4PM while top-down fatigue cracking will occur due to traffic movement during nighthours between 0 AM to 6 AM. Accordingly, a transfer function was used to evaluatethe allowable number of traffic load repetitions for each type of cracking mode ormechanism i.e. bottom-up fatigue cracking and top-down fatigue cracking,
separately
.Such approach is highly questionable due to following:
“The concrete slab is assumed to start with zero initial pavement damage (or 
distress) immediately after construction stage and the damages due to eachsubsequent load application are added to the existing damage. The pavement damagedue to each load application is calculated as a function of the ratio of applied load stress to flexural strength of slab concrete. Using Miner's cumulative damage concept (1945), pavement damage against assumed distress (say, fatigue cracking) isexpressed as a damage ratio between the predicted and the allowable number of load repetitions.
 
Fatigue damage in the concrete slab is related to cracking developed in it as a result of either cracking mechanism or modes namely bottom-up fatigue crackingor top-down fatigue cracking, depending upon the magnitude and sign (tension versuscompression) of the slab stresses. Both mechanisms give rise either to transversecracks, longitudinal cracks or corner cracks at critical (longitudinal or transverse)edge in the concrete slab and consequently, resulting in fatigue cracking damage inthe concrete slab. Therefore, a coupling between these two mechanisms of fatiguecracking is usually considered to relate the measurable physical distress (fatigue
cracking damage) with pavement response by a suitable transfer function.”
As such, separate consideration of fatigue damage by both cracking mechanism leadto overestimation of the fatigue life (i.e. an increase in the number of axle repetitionsto failure) and consequently, result in unsafe design of the pavement structure and thepavement structure designed using such design procedure may exhibit prematurefailure due to fatigue cracking. Therefore, instead of using equation 2 (or equations 7and 8 given on page 20 of IRC:58-2011),
cumulative fatigue damage (CFD)
shouldbe determined as under:
,,,,
i j ki j k
 nCFD N 
 
≤ 1.0
 
(4.)
where,n
i, j, k 
= applied numbers of axle load repetitions for i
th
axle load level for each j
th
axletype and k 
th
temperature gradient during specified period.
 
N
i, j, k 
= allowable numbers of axle load repetitions for i
th
axle load level for each j
th
 axle type and k 
th
temperature gradient during specified period. j = 2 (single axle and tandem axle) for bottom-up cracking and 3 (single axle, tandemaxle and tridem axle) for top-down cracking.k = 2 (six hour mid-day period from 10 AM to 4 PM and another six hour nightperiod from 0 AM to 6 AM).The above suggested approach is on similar lines as used in MEPDG 2008. Relevantexcerpts from MEPDG, 2008 are reproduced below:
For JPCP transverse cracking, both bottom-up and top-down modes of cracking areconsidered. Under typical service conditions, the potential for either mode of cracking is present in all slabs. Any given slab may crack either from bottom-up or top-down, but not both. Therefore, the predicted bottom-up and top-down cracking are not particularlymeaningful by themselves, and combined cracking must be determined, excluding the
 possibility of both modes of cracking occurring on the same slab.”
 Accordingly, accumulated fatigue damage after considering all critical factors forJPCP transverse cracking is computed by the following general expression:
,,,,,,,,,,
i j k l m ni j k l m n
 n FD N 
 
≤ 1.0
 
(5.)where,FD =
total fatigue damage (top-down or bottom-up).
 n
i,j,k, ...
=
applied number of load applications at condition i, j, k, l, m, n.
N
i,j,k, …
=
allowable number of load applications at condition i, j, k, l, m, n.
i =
age (accounts for change in PCC modulus of rupture, layer bondcondition,deterioration of shoulder LTE).
 j =
month (accounts for change in base and effective dynamic modulus of subgradereaction).
k =
axle type (single, tandem, and tridem for bottom-up cracking; short, medium,and long wheelbase for top-down cracking).
l =
load level (incremental load for each axle type).
m =
temperature difference.
n =
traffic path.The applied number of load applications (n
i,j,k,l,m,n
) is the actual number of axle type k of load level l that passed through traffic path n under each condition (age, season, andtemperature difference). The allowable number of load applications is the number of loadcycles at which fatigue failure is expected (corresponding to 50 percent slab cracking) and isa function of the applied stress and PCC strength. The allowable number of load applicationsis determined using the following fatigue model:
1.22,,,,,,,,,,
log2.0 (6.)
ii j k l m ni j k l m n
 MR N 
 where,
N
i,j,k, ...
=
allowable number of load applications at condition i, j, k, l, m, n
MR
i
=
PCC modulus of rupture at age i, psi
σ
i,j,k, ...
=
applied stress at condition i, j, k, l, m, n
 
1.2
 
Calibration and Validation:
The (critical) pavement responses were correlated withpavement performance indicators in the form of pre-defined pavement distress modesfor a given design life by empirically derived equations known as distress models ortransfer functions derived from the performance (or distress) prediction models basedon past experiences, field observations and laboratory results that compute the numberof repetitive loading cycles to specified pavement failure. Transfer functions are theweakest part of any Mechanistic-Empirical pavement design approach. Therefore,before applying to them in any pavement designs practice, they need to be calibratedand validated to suit with local conditions in order to ensure a satisfactory agreementbetween predicted and actual distress at project site otherwise it may result under-designed or overdesigned pavement structure. This is the reason why emphaticattention were given to carry out and verify the local calibration and validation of thetransfer functions in order to reduce the gap between predicted pavement distress andin-service pavement performance
[8 and 9]
. To locally calibrate and validate the distressprediction model developed under NCHRP 1-37A in 2004, more than 50 researchstudies are either completed or in near completion stage in USA, so far. In IRC:58
 – 
2011, the transfer function is taken from Portland Cement Association) 1984 methodwithout any calibration and validation process in India. There is no published study orreports which tell us how this transfer function is sensitive to varied conditions of traffic, climate, material quality, mix designs, pavement constructions, andmaintenance practices etc. as per actual field conditions found in India? Due to thisonly, design procedure will always be questionable. It is also worthwhile to note thatthe details furnished in Appendix-III presents a comparison with the fatigue equationused in IRC:58-2011 and not a validation as called therein. In fact, the objective of validation is to demonstrate that the calibrated model of any distress mode canproduce robust and accurate predictions of pavement distress for cases other thanthose used for model calibration. Validation typically requires an additional andindependent set of in-service pavement performance data. Successful modelvalidation requires that the bias and precision statistics of the model when applied tothe validation data set are similar to those obtained from model calibration. Thepurpose of validation is to determine whether the calibrated conceptual model is areasonable representation of the real-world system, and if the desired accuracy orcorrespondence exists between the model and the real-world system.
1.3
 AASHO road test was conducted on rigidpavements consisting either PCC slab + clayeysubgrade or PCC slab + GSB + clayey subgrade.These pavement sections exhibit failure due toerosion/pumping on account of erodiblesubbase/subgrades. However, the relevance of these results as said in clause 6.4.1 is difficult toappreciate for the rigid pavements used onNational Highways in India, as shown in figure1
[1 & 2]
and keeping in view of the fact that 150mm thick DLC layer (with cement content >7%)used in India is extremely resistive to erosion.Further, use of tied concrete shoulder furtherreduces the propensity to erosion damage.Figure 1 Concrete pavement usedon National Highways in IndiaIt should be clearly specified, accordingly, in the guideline. Of course for all other cases, inwhere DLC layer was not provided, this issue may become a vital cause of pavement failure.
 
Compacted subgrade
 
Natural Subrade
 
GSB
 –
drainage+filter layer(
300 mm)
 
Concrete slab(250
 –
350 mm)
 
DLC slab (baselayer) (150 mm)
 

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