Quantcast Function of Base Course and Subgrade

Figure16-4.-Asphalt  pavement  cross  sections,  showing  common  and  typical  asphalt  pavement  structures. Function of Base Course and Subgrade The  base  course  and  subgrade  are  structural elements  of  the  pavement.  In  conjunction  with  the overlying  asphalt  surface,  their  purpose  is  to  distribute traffic  wheel  loads  over  the  whole  foundation  (fig. 16-4). To perform this function, you build the base course and subgrade with the necessary internal strength properties. In this respect, full-depth asphalt pavements have a special advantage over pavements with granular bases. Asphalt pavement layers have both tensile and compressive strength to resist internal stresses. For example,  figure  16-5  shows  how  wheel  load  (W) slightly deflects the pavement structure, causing both tensile and compressive stresses within the pavement. Untreated granular bases have no tensile strength; therefore, asphalt bases spread the wheel load over broader areas than untreated granular bases. The result of this is that less total pavement structure thickness is required for an asphalt base. Determining Required Pavement Thickness A significant advance in highway engineering is the realization  and  demonstration  that  structural  design  of 16-4


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