Evaluation of Finite Element Software for Pavement Stress Analysis
thesisposted on 08.06.2021, 10:55 by Huan Chen
Different approaches are usually taken when designing flexible and rigid pavement: the rigid concrete slab carries major portion of the traffic load; while for flexible pavement, external loads are distributed to the subgrade because of the relatively low modulus of elasticity of asphalt layer comparing to concrete in the case of rigid pavement. Pavement engineering has gone through major developments; the transition from Empirical Design Method to Mechanistic-Empirical Methods is becoming a near-future trend. The Mechanistic-Empirical Method has two components: (1) stress, strain and deflection are calculated based on analyzing mechanical characteristics of materials; (2) critical pavement distresses are quantitatively predicted by experimental calibrated equations. Hence, stress analysis has become an important role in pavement engineering. The most practical and widely used stress analysis method for flexible pavement is Burmister's Elastic Layered Theory; and for analyzing rigid pavement is Finite Element Method. KENSLABS and STAAD-III are both Finite Element software; KENSLABS is designed specifically for concrete pavement stress analysis, therefore it is more user-frielndly for pavement design; STAAD-III is more suitable for general plane and space structures. The project compares the use of both software for stress analysis in rigid pavement in term of simplicity and precision.