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ASTM D5858-96(2008)

Standard Guide for Calculating In Situ Equivalent Elastic Moduli of Pavement Materials Using Layered Elastic Theory

Standard Guide for Calculating In Situ Equivalent Elastic Moduli of Pavement Materials Using Layered Elastic Theory D5858-96R08 ASTM|D5858-96R08|en-US Standard Guide for Calculating In Situ Equivalent Elastic Moduli of Pavement Materials Using Layered Elastic Theory Standard new BOS Vol. 04.03 Committee E17
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Significance and Use

This guide is intended to present the elements of an approach for estimating layer moduli from deflection measurements that may then be used for pavement evaluation or overlay design. To characterize the materials in the layers of a pavement structure, one fundamental input parameter measured in the laboratory and used by some overlay design procedures is the resilient modulus. Deflection analysis provides a technique that may be used to estimate the in situ equivalent layer elastic moduli of a pavement structure as opposed to measuring the resilient moduli in the laboratory of small and sometimes disturbed samples. For many overlay design procedures that are based on layered elastic theory, the resilient modulus is approximated by this equivalent layer elastic modulus, because the equivalent modulus is determined as an average value for the total layer at the in situ stress conditions of an actual pavement.

It should be emphasized that layer moduli calculated with this procedure are for a specific loading condition and for the environmental conditions at the time of testing. For these moduli to be used in pavement evaluations and overlay design, adjustments to a reference temperature, season, and design load may be required. These adjustments are not a part of this guide.

The underlying assumption used in the solution is that a representative set of layer moduli exists for the particular loading condition (magnitude and area) and temperature condition, such that the theoretical or calculated deflection basin (using quasi-static layered elastic theory and the assumed static load characteristics of the NDT device) closely approximates the measured deflection basin. In reality, depending on the tolerance allowed in the procedure and the relative number of layers compared to the number of deflection sensors, several combinations of moduli may cause the two basins to match (or be within tolerance) reasonably well. A certain degree of engineering judgement is necessary to evaluate these alternative solutions and select the most applicable combination or eliminate unreasonable solutions, or both.

There have been several studies that compared the results of various types of equipment and analysis methods; unfortunately, considerable variability has been noted. At this time, no precision estimate has been obtained from a statistically-designed series of tests with different known materials and layer thicknesses. The backcalculated results do vary significantly with the various assumptions used in analysis to emulate the actual condition as well as with the techniques used to produce and measure the deflections. Since the guide deals with a computerized analytical method, the repeatability is excellent if the input data and parameters remain the same. The bias of the procedure can not be established at this time. The identity of the true in situ modulus, based on resilient modulus testing or some other field or laboratory test, needs to be standardized before the bias of the method can be established.


1.1 This guide covers the concepts for calculating the in situ equivalent layer elastic moduli can be used for pavement evaluation, rehabilitation and overlay design. The resulting equivalent elastic moduli calculated from the deflection data are method-dependent and represent the stiffnesses of the layers under a specific nondestructive deflection testing (NDT) device at that particular test load and frequency, temperature, and other environmental and site-specific conditions. Adjustments for design load, reference temperature, and other design-related factors are not covered in this guide. The intent of this guide is not to recommend one specific method, but to outline the general approach for estimating the in situ elastic moduli of pavement layers.

1.2 This guide is applicable to flexible pavements and in some cases, rigid pavements (that is, interior slab loading), but is restricted to the use of layered elastic theory as the analysis method. It should be noted that the various available layered elastic computer modeling techniques use different assumptions and algorithms and that results may vary significantly. Other analysis procedures, such as finite element modeling, may be used, but modifications to the procedure are required.

Note 1—If other analysis methods are desired, the report listed in Footnote 3 can provide some guidance.

1.3 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard.

1.4 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.5 This guide offers an organized collection of information or a series of options and does not recommend a specific course of action. This document cannot replace education or experience and should be used in conjunction with professional judgment. Not all aspects of this guide may be applicable in all circumstances. This ASTM standard is not intended to represent or replace the standard of care by which the adequacy of a given professional service must be judged, nor should this document be applied without consideration of a project's many unique aspects. The word Standard in the title of this document means only that the document has been approved through the ASTM consensus process.

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Book of Standards Volume: 04.03
Developed by Subcommittee: E17.41
Pages: 7
DOI: 10.1520/D5858-96R08