Types Pavement

4 types of Pavement with Full Details

What is pavement?

The pavement is crafted from durable materials like concrete or asphalt, creating surfaces such as roads or driveways.

Regarding structural traits, road pavements fall into these categories:

  • Flexible pavement
  • Rigid pavement
  • Semi-rigid pavements
  • Interlocking cement concrete block pavement (ICBP)

Let’s now explore the specifics of the initial pavement type.

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Flexible Pavement

Flexible pavement is distinguished by its limited flexural strength. Here are some key points:

  • The flexible pavement layer has the capacity to absorb both non-recoverable and recoverable deformations from the underlying layers, including the subgrade, up to the pavement surface.
  • The highest vertical compressive stress occurs on the pavement surface directly beneath the wheel load, matching the contact pressure exerted by the wheel.
  • Lower pavement layers experience reduced stress levels and are not directly exposed to the wearing effects of traffic loads or environmental factors. Consequently, less costly materials can be employed in these lower layers.

In flexible pavement layers, the uppermost layer needs to exhibit the utmost strength. It must withstand the most significant compressive stresses from traffic loads and endure the wear and tear caused by moving vehicles and changing weather conditions.

Moving forward, let’s examine the advantages and disadvantages of flexible pavements.

Benefits of flexible pavement:

Initial costs can be reduced by utilizing a thin bituminous surface layer.

  • Design load is typically measured in terms of CSA (Cumulative Standard Axles), ensuring standardization.
  • Functional deterioration is a consideration, but strengthening can be achieved through overlay.
  • There’s a high salvage value, contributing to long-term cost-effectiveness.
  • The pavement can be reopened to traffic within 24 hours, minimizing disruption.

Disadvantages of flexible pavements

  • Concerns include deterioration in stagnant water, necessitating regular maintenance. Patching potholes can incur high costs due to excessive thickness, and nighttime visibility is notably reduced.

Rigid pavement

Rigid pavements are distinguished by their considerable flexural strength or rigidity. Here’s a closer look:

  • Rigid pavements are typically constructed using Portland cement concrete, often known as ‘CC pavement.’
  • Construction involves high-quality plain cement concrete referred to as ‘pavement quality concrete (PQC).’
  • Pavement quality concrete (PQC) in CC pavement is generally designed to withstand flexural stresses of up to 45kg/cm2.
  • Unlike flexible pavement layers, stresses in rigid pavements are not transmitted from grain to grain to the lower layers.
  • Slab action in rigid pavements enables the distribution of wheel load cases over a broader area beneath the pavement slab.

With these details in mind, are you prepared to explore the advantages and disadvantages of rigid pavements?

Advantages of rigid pavement comprise:

  • Resistance to deterioration in stagnant water.
  • Decreased thickness demands.
  •  Extended service life of up to 30 years.
  •  Very low life-cycle expenses.
  •  Improved nighttime visibility.

Disadvantages of rigid pavement include:

  • The need for an axle load study.
  • Design requirements to accommodate a 30-year lifespan.
  • Challenges related to repairing pavements prone to cracking.
  • Risk of surfaces becoming smooth or slippery.
  • Lengthy waiting period of 28 days before opening to traffic.

Let’s conclude this section with a comparison.

Here’s a comparison between flexible and rigid pavements:

Flexible Pavement:

  • Mainly constructed using bitumen
  • Bitumen can soften in low temperatures, leading to pavement failure
  • Susceptible to potholes when water enters during rainfall
  • Bitumen can become brittle in cold temperatures, causing pavement cracking

Rigid Pavement

Often referred to as concrete pavements, these structures boast:

  • A longer lifespan and minimal maintenance requirements
  • Resilience to extreme weather conditions
  • Initial costs typically higher but prove economical in the long run

Semi-rigid or composite pavements occupy an intermediary position between Flexible and Rigid pavements. While their flexural strength is less than that of a concrete slab, they still derive support from lateral load distribution through the pavement depth, akin to flexible pavements.

When intermediate materials such as soil cement or lean cement concrete are employed in the sub-base or base course layers of pavements, they constitute semi-rigid pavement.

Composite pavements consist of both flexible pavement layers and one or more semi-rigid pavement layers.

Finally, there’s ICBP, or Interlocking cement concrete block pavement

Interlocking Concrete Block Pavement (ICBP) 

has gained significant traction globally, offering a specialized remedy for issues encountered by conventional construction methods in the face of durability challenges posed by operational and environmental constraints. Thank you for joining us on this exploration of various pavement types. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below.

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