Concept for mechanistic-based performance model for flexible pavements

Michael Mamlouk, Magdy Y. Mikhail

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


A concept for a mechanistic-based performance model for flexible pavement was developed that considers the interaction between vehicles and pavement. A dynamic vehicle model was used to estimate the dynamic wheel force, and a three-dimensional finite element nonlinear dynamic pavement model was used to determine the dynamic pavement response. The effect of pavement roughness on vehicle bouncing and the effect of vehicle bouncing on the progression of pavement roughness were investigated under different roughness levels, suspension types, and layer thicknesses. The increase in roughness after each load repetition can be calculated using basic material properties from which the pavement service life can be estimated. The number of equivalent 80-kN single axle load repetitions to failure was estimated under different conditions without the need for empirical observations. It was found that the number of load repetitions to go from one level of present serviceability index (PSI) to the next largely decreases as the PSI level decreases. The air bag suspension results in the longest pavement life, while the walking beam suspension results in the shortest pavement life. The total number of load repetitions to reach failure for thick pavement sections is 14 percent higher than that for medium-thick sections, and 63 percent greater than that for thin sections. The reverse of this analysis can be used to design the pavement section so that it would sustain a certain number of load repetitions before failure using a mechanistic procedure. The proposed concept for a mechanistic-based performance model developed in this study can be refined to increase the mechanistic portion of the model, reduce empirical involvement, and improve computational procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-158
Number of pages10
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1629
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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