Performance Based Mechanistic-Empirical Approach to Assess Joint Sealant Effectiveness on Sustainability of Concrete Pavement Infrastructure



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The primary purpose of sealing joints in rigid pavement is to prevent or reduce the amount of water infiltrating into pavement structure. It is well accepted that the presence of moisture in a pavement structure is a contributor to a variety of governing distress types that eventually deteriorates the pavement structure and decreases the pavement service life. Effectiveness of joint sealants to protect jointed concrete pavement against water related distresses has been a focus of great interest recently. An experimental program was carried out on the Riverside Campus of Texas A&M University to study the effectiveness of different sealant types to limit drainage related infiltration of the joint under different joint openings and bonding conditions. Results confirmed that if joint seals are properly installed, they can be very effective in preventing moisture infiltration. Unsealed joints had significantly higher flow rates compared to joints with damaged sealants. The test results in this study have also demonstrated the effect of sealant proper installation on performance. Using experimental data the actual number of wet days was defined and analyzed.

A faulting prediction model was developed. The erosion resistance of materials, number of wet days and traffic load were precisely defined and considered in this model. The mechanistic empirical model presented in this dissertation can effectively analyze the faulting and erosion in jointed concrete pavements. The model is capable to be calibrated for local conditions as a distinct advantage over other faulting models. The model was successfully implemented and calibrated into a computerized format. Results show that the model fits well with the field data and can be implemented for design and maintenance management purposes. By using the model the effectiveness of sealant in pavement sustainability can be determined. The most valuable outcome of this study is the demonstration mechanistically of the role of joint sealing on service life of jointed concrete pavements. Sealants, by limiting water infiltration into the pavement sublayers, can greatly improve concrete pavement performance.