Falling weight deflectometer dispersion curve method for pavement modulus calculation

Xue Wang, Hai Huang, Kun Zhang, Shihui Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The falling weight deflectometer (FWD) test is a common non-destructive testing method for evaluating the structural capacity of pavements. At present, data processing of the FWD test mainly focuses on the deflection data, while paying less attention to the deflection-time history. Because a FWD is equipped with impulse loads and geophones, which allow for the generation and capture of surface wave signal propagation, it is hypothesized that Rayleigh wave dispersion theory can be applied to calculate the modulus profile along the pavement depth by analysing the dispersive properties of the deflection signal measured during FWD tests. To test this hypothesis, we develop a new methodology for the FWD test and data analysis, referred to as the FWD dispersion curve method. We first introduce the concept of the new method, followed by an illustration of the procedure and the experimental set-up. Case studies on three concrete pavement segments are then presented to evaluate the effectiveness of the FWD dispersion curve method. Modifications to the existing FWD device are further recommended for the impact loading sources and signal collection process so that the modulus of a much shallower layer, such as the concrete slab and upper asphalt layers, can be obtained. This article is part of the theme issue 'Artificial intelligence in failure analysis of transportation infrastructure and materials'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20220167
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2254
StatePublished - Sep 4 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Mathematics
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy

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