Overlay Tester: A Simple Performance Test for Fatigue Cracking

It is well known that fatigue cracking is not just a material problem; it also correlates highly with pavement structure and environmental and traffic conditions. This unique characteristic highlights the importance of a simple performance test (SPT) that can be used for daily hot-mix asphalt (HMA) mixture design and also for predicting fatigue cracking. This paper investigates the use of the Texas Transportation Institute’s overlay tester (OT) as an SPT for fatigue cracking. Fatigue cracking occurs in two stages: crack initiation and crack propagation. However, as noted in this paper, crack initiation is theoretically related to crack propagation. Therefore, the OT that characterizes mainly crack propagation can be used for fatigue cracking. To validate experimentally the OT for fatigue cracking, the OT results were compared with laboratory bending beam fatigue test and field accelerated pavement fatigue test results from the FHWA’s accelerated loading facility test site. Positive results were obtained. In addition, other requirements (e.g., cost-related) for being an SPT are discussed. On the basis of all findings, the OT meets most requirements for being an SPT for fatigue cracking. Potential application of the OT to HMA mixture design also is proposed.


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  • Accession Number: 01044228
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780309104272
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Feb 8 2007 6:19PM