Finite Element Analysis and Optimization of Flexible Pavement

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Atul Kumar Pandey
Deepak Mathur


This study explores the application of finite element analysis to parameter-sensitive analysis. The important performance parameters are investigated by altering the thickness and material characteristics of various layers of flexible pavement using a 2D axisymmetric analysis. Additionally, hypothetical pavement sections are examined in order to determine how sensitive the horizontal axisymmetric extension and mesh refinement are. Following validation, the generated computer programme is utilised to ascertain the impact of a single wheel load on the flexible pavement. The FEA analysis determines critical regions of pavement with maximum shear stress, maximum normal stress, total deformation, and stress intensity flexible pavement. The effect of different pavement layer thicknesses is then analyzed using the response surface method, and the numerical data is determined. The current design processes result in premature pavement breakdown or the construction of unprofitable pavement portions when the direct or indirect empirical approach is used. Applying experience, expert indentation, or a combination of both to the relationship between design inputs and pavement failure is restricted to a certain set of environmental and material variables. A good pavement design delivers the anticipated performance while taking into account the required economic factors, thus in this case it becomes necessary to discover a cost-effective option in the form of an analytical tool that can handle the specifics of the intricate pavement system. Instead of relying solely on CBR values, the use of such improved analytical tools can be advantageous for predicting the performance of pavement without actual construction or even by outperforming the costly and time-consuming laboratory or in situ tests, for various thicknesses and material properties of different component layers. In this regard, there is complete certainty in the use of the flexible finite element method (FEM) for the design of flexible pavement. The use of FEA for two-dimensional plane stress/strain and more rigorous three-dimensional finite element analysis for further extension of work is simple given that FEM is not restricted to two-dimensional axisymmetric conditions. By assuming equal stress states exist in every radial direction, axisymmetric modelling predicts pavement behaviour using a 2D mesh rotating around a symmetric axis; hence, loading is circular.

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