Effects of Aggregate Gradation on Resilient Modulus and CBR in Unbound Granular Materials

Document Type : Research Paper


Assistant Professor, Faculty of Transportation, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran


Resilient modulus and California Bearing Ratio (CBR) in unbound granular materials are the key technical characteristics of layers in a flexible pavement design. Among the factors affecting these two parameters, the aggregate gradation is the most important. Using particle size distribution curve developed by AASHTO, together with other considerations mentioned in the related regulations have yielded desirable results in many cases. However, many roads loaded by heavy vehicles, for which all technical instructions of standard regulations were observed, have undergone deformations caused by subsidence of layers. According to the related technical documents, one hypothesis could be the proximity of aggregate gradation to the boundary areas. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the effect of changes in the scope of aggregation in the border areas on strength parameters. For this purpose, effects of aggregate grading variation on two types of aggregates, i.e. limestone and quartzite (as determined by AASHTO) were investigated using specific gravity, CBR, and resilient modulus tests. The results showed that, in the gradation boundaries determined by AASHTO, the difference between specific gravity values was insignificant. In the CBR and resilient modulus tests, however, there was a significant difference between test results in the upper and lower limits of gradation. In addition, gradation variation had a lower impact on resistance parameters in quartzite aggregate compared to limestone aggregate. Therefore, under special utilization conditions, materials with highest values of technical specifications should be used, since even materials whose technical specifications are in the standard range may not behave as expected in real world situations. 


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