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Journey of IRC 37 1.

BACKGROUND: Surface course BC Binder course DBM Granular Base course WMM or WBM Granular Sub-base course GSB Compacted subgrade Natural subgrade Figure 1 Conventional flexible pavement used in India Broadly, there are three types of pavements; flexible pavements, rigid pavements and composite pavements. In this paper, discussion is limited to flexible pavements only. In flexible pavements, wheel loads stresses are transferred by grain-to-grain contact of the aggregate through the granular structure which acts like a flexible sheet due to less flexural strength. The wheel load acting on the pavement will be distributed to a wider area, and the stresses decreases with the depth. Taking advantage of this distinct stress distribution characteristic, flexible pavement normally has many layers in which material quality deceases from top to bottom.

In India on all National Highways, a conventional flexible pavement consists usually five layers 40 mm or 50 mm thick surface or wearing course (BC), 50 to 200 mm thick binder course (DBM), 250 mm thick unbound granular base course (WMM or WBM), 200-350 mm thick granular sub-base course (GSB) and 500 mm thick compacted subgrade over natural subgrade as shown in figure 1. If combined thickness of all bituminous layers (surfacing and binder course) is about 75 mm or less, then it is termed as thin bituminous pavement while a thick bituminous pavement usually have combined thickness of all bituminous layers equal to 150 mm or more. Unlike other civil engineering structures, the structural design of a pavement structure is, practically, a complex and daunting task due to uncertainty, variability and approximations of everything associated with the design of new and rehabilitated pavements. Traffic loading is a heterogeneous mix of vehicles, axle types, and axle loads with distributions that vary with time throughout the day, from season to season, and over the pavement design life. Traffic forecasting is very difficult. Pavement materials respond to traffic loading in complex ways influenced by stress state and magnitude, temperature, moisture, time, loading rate, and other factors. Pavement construction also introduces a significant measure of variability. Pavements as a function of time and maintenance strategies exhibit significant variation in condition over its design life and therefore, performance predictions and its relation to input variables add further complications. 2. 2.1. INTRODUCTORY PHASE OF PAVEMENT DESIGN IRC:371970[3]: Before 1970, on the basis of limited and localized experiences and judgments of local highway agencies, quite diverse practices for pavement design were prevalent in India. In 1970, an empirical method, CBR method based on CBR design curves evolved by the Road Research laboratory, United Kingdom was introduced via IRC:37-1970 by IRC as a unified approach for flexible pavement design in entire country. The thickness of different layers of sub-base, base and surfacing were determined by repeated use of these design curves subject to specified minimum thicknesses for constituent layers. These design curves were applicable for single axle loads of 8200 kg and tandem axle load of 14500 kg. Beyond these values of axle loads, pavement thickness was increased appropriately.

* Superintending Engineer & Regional officer, M/o RT&H, Regional Office (C), Bengaluru (India) 560001. Email sgarg70@rediffmail.com, sgarg1970@gmail.com

2.2.

For subgrade soil, CBR value was calculated from the sample prepared at optimum moisture content corresponding to Proctor compaction and soaked in water for a period of four days prior to testing. Traffic was considered in units of heavy commercial vehicles per day (CVD) with a laden weight of 3 tonnes or more in both directions (irrespective of whether the design is for a two lane or a dual carriageway), divided into seven categories as indicated in the table 1. 0-15 Traffic classification as per IRC:371970 15 45 - 150 - 450 - 1500 45 150 450 1500 4500 A B C D E F >4500 and all expressways G

Table 1 Design Traffic volume, CVD CBR design curve, applicable 2.3.

Pavement was designed for the traffic volume expected at the end of design life (taken as 10 years), which was determined as per equation (1) and then, was used to determine the applicable CBR curve from table 1 and which in turn used to assess the total pavement thickness. AD = P (1+r)n+10 where, (1) AD = number of commercial vehicles per day (CVD) for design, P = number of commercial vehicles per day at last count, r = annual rate of increase in the number of commercial vehicles, (taken as 7.50% in case authentic data is not available), and n = number of years between the last count and the year of completion of construction.

Example 1: (a) (b) (a) Given that, subgrade CBR = 5%, and design traffic (AD) volume expected at the end of design life = 1501 CVD. Design the flexible pavement. Design flexible pavement with subgrade CBR of 5% and AD equal to 4501 CVD. For given input data, using design curve F, total pavement thickness from IRC:371970 comes out to be 475 mm. Let, sub-base, GSB = 150 mm and base course will comprise, WBM = 250 mm, provided in three layers of 100 mm of WBM Grade I + 75 mm each of WBM Grade II and WBM Grade III. 50 mm thick bound base course (like bituminous macadam, BM) with surfacing of 20 mm thick open-graded premix carpet (PC) or surface dressing will be provided. This pavement design was applicable for the design traffic volume ranging from 1501 to 4500 CVD. Provided thickness = 150+250+50*1.5=475 mm. O.K. For given input data, using design curve G, total pavement thickness from IRC:371970 comes out to be 530 mm. Let, sub-base, GSB = 200 mm and base course will comprise, WBM = 250 mm, provided in three layers of 100 mm of WBM Grade I + 75 mm each of WBM Grade II and WBM Grade III. 50 mm thick bound base course (like bituminous macadam, BM) with surfacing of 25 mm thick semi-dense carpet (SDC) will be provided. This pavement design was applicable for the design traffic volume more than 4500 CVD and all expressways. Provided thickness = 200+250+50*1.5+25*1.5=562.5 mm > 530 mm. O.K.

Solution:

(b)