Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Civil Engineering


Pavement design procedures, available in the literature, do not fully take advantage of mechanistic concepts, which make them heavily rely on empirical approaches. Because of the heavy dependence on empirical procedures, the existing design methodologies do not capture the actual behavior of Portland cement concrete (PCC) pavements. However, reliance on empirical solutions can be reduced by introducing mechanistic-empirical methods, which is now adopted in the newly released mechanistic-empirical pavement design guide (MEPDG). This new design procedure incorporates a wide range of input parameters associated with the mechanics of rigid pavements. To compare the sensitivity of these various input parameters on the performance of concrete pavements, two jointed plain concrete pavement (JPCP) sites were selected in Iowa. These two sections are also part of the Long Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) program where a long history of pavement performance data exists. Data obtained from the Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) Pavement Management Information System (PMIS) and LTPP database were used to form two standard pavement sections for the comprehensive sensitivity analyses. The sensitivity analyses were conducted using the MEPDG software to study the effects of design input parameters on pavement performance of faulting, transverse cracking, and smoothness. Based on the sensitivity results, ranking of the rigid pavement input parameters were established and categorized from most sensitive to insensitive to help pavement design engineers to identify the level of importance of each input parameter. The curl/warp effective temperature difference (built-in curling and warping of the slabs) and PCC thermal properties are found to be the most sensitive input parameters. Based on the comprehensive sensitivity analyses, the idea of developing an expert system was introduced to help the pavement design engineers identify the input parameters that they can modify to satisfy the predetermined pavement performance criteria. Predicted pavement distresses using the MEPDG software for the two Iowa rigid pavement sites were compared against the measured pavement distresses obtained from the Iowa DOT's PMIS and comparison results are discussed in this study.

Copyright Owner

Alper Guclu



OCLC Number


File Format


File Size

132 pages