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The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is implementing a strategy for full-scale accelerated pavement testing (APT). The Texas mobile load simulator (TxMLS) is being designed and manufactured as part of this strategy. Two 1:10 scale MLS models are also being used to conduct laboratory tests to enhance the design, understanding, and use of the machine.
The expected dynamic behavior of the MLS was investigated using computer simulation. This greatly enhanced the understanding of the vehicle pavement interaction as well as the structural response of the MLS. The feasibility of the structural system was confirmed, and the need for a continuous ramp and transition zones at the junction of the circular and straight sections was demonstrated. The simulation was also used as a means of reducing unwanted dynamic effects and finding the optimal solution for the electric drive. Variable frequency drive (VFD)-induction motors were selected.
The full-scale prototype is expected to be completed by the summer of 1993. Tests with the model-MLS on pavements demonstrated that it could be used to conduct selective studies of wheel/pavement interaction to enhance the future use of the full-scale MLS. The first tests have focused on rutting of asphaltic concrete. The effects of accelerated aging of asphaltic concrete by heat is expected to be important in the future use of APT.
accelerated pavement testing, vehicle simulation, mobile load simulator (MLS), model pavements, rutting, creep test
Research fellowprofessor, Center for Transportation Research, University of TexasUniversity of Stellenbosch, Austin,