Spalling in Continuously Reinforced Concrete Pavement in Texas

Pangil Choi, Lochana Poudyal, Fouzieh Rouzmehr, Moon Won

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The performance of continuously reinforced concrete pavement (CRCP) in Texas has been quite satisfactory, primarily thanks to the continuous improvements in design and construction. However, severe spalling has been a major problem, and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has sponsored several research projects since 1985 to identify solutions for this serious problem. Even though the research efforts were successful in identifying spalling mechanisms, developing a policy that TxDOT could easily implement has been a challenge. To develop a more practical solution to this problem, TxDOT initiated a research study, and the research efforts consisting of identifying CRCP projects with severe and no spalling, obtaining and conducting materials testing on concrete cores from those projects, analyzing the testing data, and performing theoretical analyses to validate the testing results. Among the material properties evaluated, the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of concrete proved to have the best correlation with spalling. Detailed analyses of mechanistic behavior of concrete conducted with an object-oriented finite element program (OOF2) and commercial finite element program verified the reasonableness of the field-testing results. All concrete cores from CRCP with severe spalling had a CTE larger than 5.5 microstrains/°F, whereas no spalling was observed in concrete with a CTE less than that value. Based on this finding, TxDOT now requires the use of coarse aggregate that will produce concrete with a CTE of less than 5.5 microstrains/°F for CRCP construction. It is expected that this implementation will reduce the spalling in CRCP substantially.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-740
Number of pages10
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


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