Elasto-Plastic Finite Element Evaluation of Flexible Pavements Based on Shakedown Concept

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering Department, Fasa University

2 Master of Science in Geotechnical Engineering


In this paper, three-dimensional elasto-plastic finite element analysis was performed on flexible pavements under vertical repeated traffic loads to evaluate their shakedown behavior. Six different pavements with different structural number (SN) were modeled and subjected to a wide range of cyclic vehicle loads. Shakedown limits were obtained considering both failure and serviceability restraints. Results indicate that shakedown coefficient and shakedown bearing capacity increase with a rise in SN for all load types. Lower limit of shakedown bearing capacity versus SN can be regarded as a criterion for pavement design. Besides, shakedown failure-displacement factor (SFDF) was introduced as an index which is able to include both failure and serviceability criteria to compare pavements in terms of their shakedown behavior. Results suggest increase in SFDF with increasing SN, particularly for light loads. Furthermore, results indicate that increase in asphalt layer thickness always improves shakedown bearing capacity, while increase in base and subbase layer thickness is not only ineffective beyond an effective thickness but may also be damaging. In addition, the results of the present study were compared to lower bound and upper bound shakedown analysis for verification and showed reasonable agreement.


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