PCC Pavement Thickness Variation Versus Observed Pavement Distress

Principal Investigator(s):

Lev Khazanovich, Former Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering


  • Randal Barnes, Associate Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering
  • Kyle Hoegh, Former Postdoctoral Associate, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project summary:

Benefits from a potential significant correlation between distresses and slab thickness can be broadly applied in all stages of highway development from design and construction to maintenance decisions. In order to comprehensively explore this possibility, thickness data and existing distresses were related for three highway projects in Minnesota. Thickness was obtained through non-destructive ultrasonic testing, while distresses were recorded for the same location with a distress image software. Significant thickness variation was observed in both longitudinal and transverse directions. The combined results of thickness, shear wave velocity and distresses analysis revealed that an increase in shear wave velocity was coincident with a less damaged pavement area within a section. An in-depth statistical analysis confirmed this observation, showing that shear surface velocity variation was better correlated with overall pavement performance than thickness variation. Differences in cracking behavior within a section were traced back to changes in construction and design practices, showing the potential of using shear velocity analysis for pavement maintenance. A survey and analysis procedure for shear wave velocity testing of concrete pavements was proposed.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2015024
  • Start date: 07/2014
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Infrastructure