Development and Evaluation of a Portable Device for Measuring Curling and Warping in Concrete Pavements

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Steffes, Robert
Kim, Sunghwan
Yang, Shuo
Zhuang, Kailin
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Ceylan, Halil
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Gopalakrishnan, Kasthurirangan
Research Associate Professor
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Institute for Transportation
InTrans administers 14 centers and programs, and several other distinct research specialties, and a variety of technology transfer and professional education initiatives. More than 100 Iowa State University faculty and staff work at InTrans, and from 200 to 250 student assistants from several ISU departments conduct research while working closely with university faculty. InTrans began in 1983 as a technical assistance program for Iowa’s rural transportation agencies.
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Portland cement concrete (PCC) pavement undergoes repeated environmental load-related deflection resulting from temperature and moisture variations across pavement depth. This has been recognized as resulting in PCC pavement curling and warping since the mid-1920s. Slab curvature can be further magnified under repeated traffic loads and may ultimately lead to fatigue failures, including top-down and bottom-up transverse, longitudinal, and corner cracking. It is therefore significant to measure the “true” degree of curling and warping in PCC pavements, not only for quality control (QC) and quality assurance (QA) purposes, but also for better understanding of its relationship to long-term pavement performance. Although several approaches and devices—including linear variable differential transducers (LVDTs), digital indicators, and some profilers—have been proposed for measuring curling and warping, their application in the field is subject to cost, inconvenience, and complexity of operation. This research therefore explores developing an economical and simple device for measuring curling and warping in concrete pavements with accuracy comparable to or better than existing methodologies. Technical requirements were identified to establish assessment criteria for development, and field tests were conducted to modify the device to further enhancement. The finalized device is about 12 inches in height and 18 pounds in weight, and its manufacturing cost is just $320. Detailed development procedures and evaluation results for the new curling and warping measuring device are presented and discussed, with a focus on achieving reliable curling and warping measurements in a cost-effective manner.


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