By: Matthew W. Singel, PE
Intelligent compaction (IC) refers to the continuous, real-time monitoring of a roller’s effectiveness in achieving a specified density, stiffness, etc. This continuous feedback approach to pavement construction has tremendous implications in the realm of quality assurance....
As IC makes its way from state-of-the-art to state-of-the-practice, all parties will likely benefit from its implementation. The owner will be assured of more uniform compaction, not detectable using conventional equipment that tests in random locations as determined by the testing laboratory field personnel. Every contractor will agree that it is cheapest to build a project properly the first time as “rework” gets expensive, quickly, and drastically reduces production rates. Roller operators can use IC’s real-time feedback to understand when and where adequate density has been achieved, eliminating the complications associated with over and under compaction.
When constructing cement-stabilized bases and roller-compacted concrete pavements, managing one’s working time is integral to achieving the anticipated strength, stiffness, etc., as determined by the associated mixture designs. IC technology will likely improve productivity of placement contractors while maintaining a predictable level of quality assurance in the finished product.
Intelligent compaction equipment is an available option on new compaction rollers and as a retrofit package for existing vibratory rollers. I do caution that professionals should not simply specify IC without understanding how to do so properly for their applications.
More information on intelligent compaction can be found at the Federal Highway Administration websites:
The Cementx Pavement Blog seeks to make pavement owners, engineers and contractors smarter about selecting, designing, constructing and maintaining pavements. New blog postings began February 1, 2017; however, we carried over pavement-related blog postings from our older blog, the "Texas Cement and Concrete Blog," which ran until December 2016.