Foundation Modeling for Jointed Rigid Pavements
Publication Name: Transportation Research Record Journal of the Transportation Research Board
Issues related to the finite element modeling of base and subgrade materials under jointed plain concrete pavements are examined. The three-dimensional finite element program EverFE, developed in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Transportation, was employed for the analyses. The relevant modeling capabilities of EverFE are detailed, including the ability to model multiple foundation layers, the incorporation of loss of contact between slab and base, and the efficient iterative solution strategies that make large three-dimensional finite element analyses possible on desktop computers. The results of parametric studies examining the effects of foundation type (layered elastic and dense liquid) and properties on the response of jointed plain concrete pavements subjected to axle and thermal loads are presented. Special attention is paid to the interactions between joint load transfer effectiveness and foundation type, and joint load transfer is shown to change significantly with different foundation models and properties. A consideration of simultaneous thermal and axle loadings indicates that the effect of foundation type and properties on critical slab stresses caused by edge loading and a positive temperature gradient is relatively small. However, the slab response is quite sensitive to foundation type for a combined negative temperature gradient and corner loading. On the basis of these results, use of an equivalent dense liquid foundation modulus in mechanistic rigid pavement analysis or design is not recommended when stiff base layers are present.