A highway pavement structure consists of a concrete pavement surface over a base/subbase layer placed above the natural or stabilized soil or subgrade. In concrete pavements, wheel loads are distributed over a wide area of subgrade due to the concrete layer’s rigidity and high modulus of elasticity. While the current pavement design method involves determining the appropriate concrete thickness to distribute all types of imposed stresses (i.e. wheel load stresses) to a safe value on the subgrade so that its baring capacity is not exceeded, we promote a more wholistic approach by optimizing each pavement layer to provide the performance needed to meet both structural and environmental conditions. 

​Highway concrete pavements are mainly known to provide a smooth surface, which leads to skid prevention and provides ride comfort, and for their long life and low maintenance cost. The most common types of rigid pavements are jointed concrete pavement (JCP) and continuously reinforced concrete pavement (CRCP). JCP uses contraction joints for the prevention of random crack development and dowel bars or aggregate interlocks are normally used for load transfer across joints. CRCP offers the benefit of eliminating joint distresses by incorporating continuous longitudinal reinforcement with no transverse expansions or contraction joints except at bridges or pavement transitions. Other types of concrete pavements include jointed reinforced concrete pavement (JRCP) and pre-stressed and post-stressed concrete pavement (PCP). ​

In the current design procedures for concrete pavements, the contribution of the foundation layers is defined as the strength of the foundation and it is quantified as the modulus of subgrade reaction or k-value. The use of a k-value results in a design procedure that is inadequate to determine the impact that certain foundation types (treated or untreated) have on the rigid pavement system. Researchers from The University of Texas at El Paso developed RPAS, a finite element modeling tool, for the analysis of rigid pavements subjected to traffic and environmental loading conditions. Currently, RPAS is the only analysis tool that models the supporting layers (base/subbase and subgrade) using 3-D solid elements and is capable of identifying critical (maximum) responses at any depth of the foundation. Moreover, the analysis tool has been verified and validated using field data obtained from the MnROAD and NAPFT test facilities. 

RPAS is available to the Cement Council of Texas for your needs upon request.

CCT Mission

The mission of the CCT is to assist, promote and educate on the use of cement and concrete to drive sustainable and resilient solutions for long-life infrastructure.