Improving Engineering Design and Structural Performance Through the Effective Characterization of High-Performance Materials in Geotechnical Transportation Engineering

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University of Alabama Libraries

Innovations in engineering materials are useful in the construction of sustainable and resilient infrastructure for our rapidly changing world, but the effective use of alternative engineering materials often requires changes to engineering design, construction, and testing techniques. This research considers a range of materials that may be used in geotechnical transportation engineering applications: Cement Modified Recycled Base (CMRB), Cement Stabilized Aggregate Base (CSAB), All-Weather Fill (AWF), and Ultra-High-Performance Concrete (UHPC) H-piles. These materials have been selected as research subjects because they 1) make use of recycled materials and/or offer high-performance characteristics and 2) present potential challenges to traditional testing, modeling, design, and/or performance verification methods. CMRB and CSAB offer improved subgrade performance and CMRB makes use of RAP, but the methodology for modeling the resilient modulus of cement-modified materials in Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design is not currently well understood. AWF is a proposed trade name that refers to crushed stone materials that are produced by aggregate manufacturers, but which do not meet the specifications for acceptance as crushed stone fill, base, subbase, or concrete/asphalt aggregates. Such materials are expected to offer significant reductions in construction weather delays by better resisting traffic when wet compared to conventional soil fills, but it is necessary to quantify, through trafficability and drying modeling, the improved trafficability and reduction in construction delays (and the associated cost savings) that AWF can offer. Finally, H-shaped UHPC piles that can be cast with steel end caps that can be spliced can arguably be used in any application where steel H-piles can be used, and UHPC offer many performance and durability benefits. However, the steel splicing plates, steel fibers, or other characteristics of the UHPC H-piles will potentially affect the results of conventional wave-based pile integrity and capacity tests, including the commonly used Pile Driving Analyzer (PDA). This research focuses on the effects of longitudinal material heterogeneity, UHPC material properties, and section shape on dynamic field testing of UHPC piles and how this may affect wave-based field evaluations in engineering practice. Overall, the research presented in this report will inform the use of selected high-performance materials in civil engineering practice.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Foundation Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Impulse Response, Pavement, Resilient Modulus, Trafficability