Optimization of the Safety and Efficiency of the Computational Design of Asphalt Pavements with a Finite Element Method

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As part of this research project two FE methods were developed: the semi-analytical finite element method SAFEM and the axisymmetric finite element method AXSFEM.

The developed FE-computational cores were first calibrated and optimized with a parametric study. The pavement responses which were determined by the computational cores were compared with the results of commercial reference programs (ABAQUS and BISAR) through a subsequent validation. Furthermore, the FE-program SAFEM was verified for accuracy based on experimental results from the test track of the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt).

Basically it can be said that the two computational cores have already met certain utilization requirements (such as a high level of accuracy of the calculation results, a numerically efficient work function and an engineer-suitable / user-friendly operation, etc.), so that a durable and possible cost-neutral application as the FE-solver in design programme for asphalt pavements is initially achieved.

Further research is needed mainly on the issues which are not satisfied until now in the cores but very important for predicting the remaining service life of asphalt pavements in the FE method. This includes, for example, the dynamic wheel loads, the rheological properties of asphalt and the improvement of assumptions for the bond condition between layers, etc. In this way, the damage-relevant stress conditions can be determined more realistically, which are used as input parameters for a reliable pavement design and an accurate prediction of remaining service life.