Characterizing the Permanent Deformation Behavior of Alaskan Granular Base Course Materials


Permanent deformation of granular base course materials under repeated vehicle load is an important characteristic that is required to be considered in pavement design. In Alaska, due to the extreme climatic condition, the granular base course materials in a pavement structure usually undergo significant permanent deformation which is typically reflected by the rutting, cracking, and eventually pothole problems on the pavement surface during spring. Over the years, research effort on the permanent deformation behavior of base materials, especially for cold regions pavements, is very limited. In this study, to investigate the permanent deformation behavior of granular base course materials in cold regions, a series of one-dimensional frost heave tests under two extreme water access conditions (i.e. limited and free water access conditions) were conducted on Alaskan granular material specimens with different fines and initial moisture contents using a one-dimensional frost heave cell. After the freezing process, the repeated load triaxial test was then performed to evaluate the permanent deformation behavior of these specimens under frozen and subsequent thawing conditions. With the results from the repeated load triaxial tests, the influences of fines and water content, temperature, temperature gradient, stress state, and water access condition during freezing on the permanent deformation behavior of the base course materials were evaluated. Also, regression was performed to predict the permanent deformation of granular materials with different fines content, water content, and temperature conditions for the granular materials under unfrozen and frozen conditions. Finally, recommendations were provided to mitigate the cold region pothole problem due to accumulated permanent deformation under repeated vehicle load.

Meeting Name

97th Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting (2018: Jan. 7-11, Washington, DC)


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Base course (Pavements); Frigid regions; Frost heaving; Granular bases; Potholes (Pavements); Rutting; Thaw; Repeated load triaxial tests; Alaska; Highways; Materials; Pavements

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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Publication Date

01 Jan 2018