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Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(5), 774;

Initiation and Propagation of Top-Down Cracking in Asphalt Pavement

Key Laboratory of Road and Traffic Engineering of the Ministry of Education, School of Transportation Engineering, Tongji University, 4800 Cao’an Road, Shanghai 201804, China
Industry and Asset Management Department, Xi’An JiaoTong University Suzhou Academy, 99 Renai Road, Dushu Lake Higher Education Area, Suzhou Industrial Park, Suzhou 215123, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 April 2018 / Revised: 25 April 2018 / Accepted: 4 May 2018 / Published: 12 May 2018
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Top-down cracking (TDC) alongside the wheel path is one of the commonly seen distress types on asphalt pavements, especially on heavy-duty asphalt pavements. It has been believed that TDC is caused by either tension stress or shear stress in the top asphalt layer(s). In this paper, new initiation and propagation mechanisms of TDC are proposed and validated through both accelerated pavement testing in the field and uniaxial repeated loading penetration tests in the laboratory at different temperatures. The test results clearly show that the uniaxial repeated loading penetration test can simulate both initiation and propagation processes of TDC very closely. Based on these test results, the mechanisms for crack initiation and propagation are further investigated with the finite element (FE) program. The FE analysis results show that under repeated loading, shear damage will occur first in the asphalt layer, then extend horizontally and consequently result in a shear-damaged layer. The damaged layer then led to higher tensile strain in the upper mixture which caused tension cracks and finally propagated upwards to the pavement surface. The whole process of TDC initiation and propagation can be described as “shear damage, then tension propagation”, which is the new mechanism proposed in this paper. View Full-Text
Keywords: asphalt pavements; top-down cracking mechanism; shear damage; tension propagation asphalt pavements; top-down cracking mechanism; shear damage; tension propagation

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Sun, L.; Wang, G.; Zhang, H.; Liu, L. Initiation and Propagation of Top-Down Cracking in Asphalt Pavement. Appl. Sci. 2018, 8, 774.

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