An analytical and experimental assessment of flexible road ironwork support structures
- Publisher: Thomas Telford
This paper describes work undertaken to investigate the mechanical performance of road ironwork installations in highways, concentrating on the chamber construction. The principal aim was to provide the background research which would allow improved designs to be developed to reduce the incidence of failures through improvements to the structural continuity between the installation and the surrounding pavement. In doing this, recycled polymeric construction materials (Jig Brix) were studied with a view to including them in future designs and specifications. This paper concentrates on the Finite Element (FE) analysis of traditional (masonry) and flexible road ironwork structures incorporating Jig Brix. The global and local buckling capacity of the Jig Brix elements was investigated and results compared well with laboratory measurements. FE models have also been developed for full-scale traditional (masonry) and flexible installations in a surrounding flexible (asphalt) pavement structure. Predictions of response to wheel loading were compared with full-scale laboratory measurements. Good agreement was achieved with the traditional (masonry) construction but poorer agreement for the flexible construction. Predictions from the FE model indicated that the use of flexible elements significantly reduces the tensile horizontal strain on the surface of the surrounding asphaltic material which is likely to reduce the incidence of surface cracking.