Improved Infiltration Modeling for Partially Sealed Joints in Concrete Pavement Design
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2017 American Society of Civil Engineers. The primary purpose for sealing joints in rigid pavement-besides limiting incompressible material-is to prevent or reduce the amount of water infiltrating into the pavement structure. The presence of moisture in a pavement structure is a contributor to a variety of governing distress types that eventually deteriorate the integrity of a pavement structure and decreases its service life. The effectiveness of joint sealants to protect any type of concrete pavement against water infiltration has been of interest for many years. More recently, pavement or joint infiltration has been at the heart of both formal and informal studies by state agencies, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) on the effects of joint sealing funded that have pertained to the to seal or not to seal discussion that refers to the utility of sealing joints in concrete pavements. The results of these studies have been limited due to the use of infiltration models more oriented to the permeability of a pavement surface rather than the permeability of the joints. To this end an improved infiltration model is introduced in this paper and the results of a field testing program that was carried out at the Riverside Campus of Texas A&M University to calibrate and validate the model. This paper also addresses sealant effectiveness with respect to different types, degrees of bonding, and joint openings. The model can be used to improve the Ridgeway formula in terms of these factors plus the pressure head and the quality of the sealant installation on the prediction of moisture infiltration through partially sealed joints as part of a pavement design procedure.