American Society of Civil Engineers

Characterizing Fatigue in Pavement Materials Using a Dissipated Energy Parameter

by Jo Sias Daniel, Ph.D., P.E., (Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH) and William M. Bisirri, (M.S., EIT, Structural Engineer, DMJM+Harris, Inc., Philadelphia, PA)
Section: Advances in Testing Methods for Pavement Materials 7, pp. 1-10, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Advances in Pavement Engineering
Abstract: Fatigue is a distress that leads to failure in asphalt and portland cement concrete pavements. Finding better ways of understanding and explaining fatigue behavior in these construction materials will lead to the establishment of better design approaches to prevent fatigue failure. This paper presents a dissipated energy approach to fatigue characterization in both asphalt concrete and portland cement concrete. As a contribution to previous research on dissipated energy approaches, this paper presents a comparison of a dissipated energy approach to fatigue characterization to traditional or current fatigue approaches for these materials. Changes in the resistance of materials to applied cyclic loads over several cycles can be characterized by examining the change in dissipated energy from one cycle to the next and plotting the results as a function of the number of load cycles. This produces the dissipated energy ratio (DER) curve. The DER curves for asphalt concrete and portland cement concrete follow the same trend; a rapid decrease, followed by a plateau region for the majority of the fatigue cycles. The region of the dissipated energy curve that coincides with material failure is distinct as it shows a rapid increase of dissipated energy ratio with additional load cycles. The objective of this paper is to show the applicability of the DER approach to the fatigue behavior of concrete materials. The DER approach is compared to a viscoelastic continuum damage approach and the traditional 50% reduction in initial stiffness approach for asphalt concrete and to the Aas-Jakobsen and Hsu models for portland cement concrete. For each material, the number of cycles to failure determined from the dissipated energy approach correlates well with the number of cycles to failure predicted from existing models.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Cyclic loads
Energy dissipation