Fatigue Endurance Limit for Highway and Airport Pavements

Samuel H. Carpenter, Khalid A. Ghuzlan, Shihui Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


The existence of a fatigue endurance limit has been postulated for a considerable time. With the increasing emphasis on extended-life hot-mix asphalt pavement, or perpetual pavement, verification of the existence of this endurance limit, a strain below which none or very little fatigue damage develops, has become a substantial consideration in the design of these new multilayered full-depth pavements. Fatigue data are presented that were collected on a surface mix and a binder mixture tested for an extended period from 5 million to 48 million load repetitions at strain levels down to 70 microstrain. The fatigue results are analyzed in the traditional manner and using the dissipated energy ratio. This analysis shows that there is a difference in the data at normal strain levels recommended for fatigue testing and at the low strain levels. This difference cannot substantiate an endurance limit using traditional analysis procedures, but the dissipated energy approach clearly shows a distinct change in material behavior at low flexural strain levels, which supports the fact that at low strain levels the damage accumulated from each load cycle is disproportionately less than what is predicted from extrapolations of fatigue testing at normal strain levels. This reduced damage may be attributed to the healing process. The conclusion of this study is that laboratory testing can verify the existence of a fatigue endurance limit in the range of 90 to 70 microstrain below which the fatigue life of the mixture is significantly extended relative to normal design considerations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-138
Number of pages8
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1832
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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