Research Reports

Moisture Effects on PVD and DCP Measurements

Principal Investigator:

Joel Swenson, Bojan Guzina, Joseph F Labuz, Andrew Drescher

June 2006

Report no. MnDOT 2006-26

Projects: Moisture Effects on DCP and PVD Measurements - Phase II

Topics: Pavement design for cold climates

This study deals with the experimental investigation of the effects of moisture and density on the elastic moduli and strength of four subgrade soils generally representing the range of road conditions in Minnesota. The testing approach involved i) reduced-scale simulation of field compaction, ii) field-type testing on prismatic soil volumes, and iii) element testing on cylindrical soil specimens. The field-type testing included: i) the GeoGauge, ii) the PRIMA 100 device, iii) the modified light weight deflectometer (LWD) device, iv) the portable vibratory deflectometer (PVD) and v) the Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP). To compare the Young's modulus values stemming from the field-type and laboratory experiments, cylindrical specimens were extracted from the prismatic soil volumes and tested for the resilient modulus (Mr), small-strain Young's modulus using bender elements.

The results reveal that both moisture and density have a measurable effect on the elastic modulus and strength of all four soils. On the element testing side, the small strain estimates from the bender element tests were in good agreement with the resilient modulus values. In the context of field testing, there was significant scatter of the estimated Young's moduli depending upon the particular testing device.

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