The Reflective Cracking in Flexible Pavements

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Abstract

Reflective cracking is a major concern for engineers facing the problem of road maintenance and rehabilitation. The problem appears due to the presence of cracks in the old pavement layers that propagate into the pavement overlay layer when traffic load passes over the cracks and due to the temperature variation. The stress concentration in the overlay just above the existing cracks is responsible for the appearance and crack propagation throughout the overlay. The analysis of the reflective cracking phenomenon is usually made by numerical modeling simulating the presence of cracks in the existing pavement and the stress concentration in the crack tip is assessed to predict either the cracking propagation rate or the expected fatigue life of the overlay. Numerical modeling to study reflective cracking is made by simulating one crack in the existing pavement and the loading is usually applied considering the shear mode of crack opening. Sometimes the simulation considers the mode I of crack opening, mainly when temperature effects are predominant.

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