Minnesota Department of Transportation
The effects of farm equipment on the structural behavior of flexible and rigid pavements were investigated in this study. The project quantified the difference in pavement behavior caused by heavy farm equipment as compared to a typical 5-axle, 80 kip semi-truck. This research was conducted on full scale pavement test sections designed and constructed at the Minnesota Road Research facility (MnROAD). The testing was conducted in the spring and fall seasons to capture responses when the pavement is at its weakest state and when agricultural vehicles operate at a higher frequency, respectively. The flexible pavement sections were heavily instrumented with strain gauges and earth pressure cells to measure essential pavement responses under heavy agricultural vehicles, whereas the rigid pavement sections were instrumented with strain gauges and linear variable differential transducers (LVDTs). The full scale testing data collected in this study were used to validate and calibrate analytical models used to predict relative damage to pavements. The developed procedure uses various inputs (including axle weight, tire footprint, pavement structure, material characteristics, and climatic information) to determine the critical pavement responses (strains and deflections). An analysis was performed to determine the damage caused by various types of vehicles to the roadway when there is a need to move large amounts agricultural product.
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