Document Type


Publication Date



This paper presents findings from an ongoing research study at the University of Illinois focused on developing and calibrating an improved permanent deformation model for unbound aggregate materials through laboratory testing and characterization. The project scope included testing sixteen aggregate materials, commonly used in the state of North Carolina for pavement base courses, in the laboratory through monotonic and repeated load triaxial testing. This paper primarily focuses on quantifying effects of aggregate gradation on permanent deformation behavior. To accomplish this, four materials were tested at both: (1) “source gradations,” i.e. original gradations from quarry, and (2) an “engineered gradation,” i.e., standard reference gradation at which aggregate specimens were prepared for testing. Predictive rutting models were developed to consider the influences of shear strength and applied stress states on permanent deformation accumulation. Rutting model parameters obtained from testing aggregate specimen at one gradation could be used to reasonably predict the permanent deformation accumulation in another sample given the shear strength properties did not show notable differences. For specimens corresponding to significantly different amounts and/or plastic nature of fines, the permanent strain levels predicted using one set of model parameters differed significantly from those predicted using another set of model parameters developed for another gradation. Moreover, the effects of gradation on permanent strain accumulation were significantly more pronounced at the higher shear stress ratios (e.g. 0.75), compared to lower shear stress ratios; which is defined as the ratio between the shear stress applied to a specimen during repeated load triaxial testing compared to the corresponding shear strength under the same confinement.

Copyright Statement

This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. © 2017, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivatives 4.0 license. The final, definitive version of this document can be found online at Transportation Geotechnics, doi: 10.1016/j.trgeo.2017.07.002