On the dependence of acoustic performance on pavement characteristics

Acoustic-based mix design is still far from achieving a clear and accepted rationale. The three main dominions (generation, absorption, propagation) which affect pavement acoustic performance involve a number of acoustic parameters. Their relationship with pavement properties is scarcely or insufficiently known. In more detail, the parameters that define the acoustic coupling between the two phases that comprise a porous material are: porosity, resistivity, tortuosity, and viscous and thermal factors. Consequently, the spectrum of a pavement absorption coefficient depends, in particular, on tortuosity, whose relationship with hot mix asphalt (HMA) bulk properties is still an issue. Given that, the study described in this paper aimed at: (i) assessing the effect of the tortuosity on the absorption coefficient of a pavement layer; (ii) assessing the dependence of tortuosity on mix design parameters and/or mix properties; (iii) deriving a straightforward algorithm to estimate the effect of tortuosity-related properties on the absorption coefficient. Based on the above issues, an experimental plan was designed and carried out in order to study these relationships and set out a tentative theoretical and practical framework. The relationships between acoustic and traditional bulk properties of pavement mixtures were analysed. Acoustic models and hydraulic analogies were considered and, based on them, relationships were formalised and submitted to experimental validations. A simple relationship to derive tortuosity from nominal maximum aggregate size and thickness was derived. This relationship was used to derive the frequency of the first peak of the absorption spectrum, based on HMA properties. Nominal maximum aggregate size and lift thickness emerged as key factors in patterning peak frequency. Future research will address a number of issues among which the following can be listed: synergetic assessment of the influence of HMA properties on the absorption coefficient over the entire spectrum, synergetic consideration of generation and absorption factors. Practical benefits and outcomes are expected for both practitioners and researchers.


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  • Accession Number: 01530829
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 17 2014 3:16PM