A nonlinear spectral element model for the simulation of traffic speed deflectometer tests of asphalt pavements

Zhaojie Sun, Cor Kasbergen, Athanasios Skarpas, Karel N. van Dalen, Kumar Anupam, Sandra M.J.G. Erkens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


A non-destructive testing method suitable for network-level pavement structural evaluation is the traffic speed deflectometer (TSD) test. However, the analysis of TSD measurements still needs a proper parameter back-calculation procedure, which requires an accurate and efficient forward calculation model. As a first step to solving this issue, a nonlinear spectral element model which can simulate TSD tests of asphalt pavements is developed. The model is used to investigate the characteristics and parameter sensitivity of the response of asphalt pavements caused by the TSD loading. The results indicate that the vertical deflection curve along the direction of movement observed on the asphalt pavement surface is slightly asymmetric, and the maximum deflection appears behind the centre of the loading area. In addition, the slope curve of vertical deflection is highly sensitive to the magnitude of the applied force, the moduli of the base layer and subgrade, and the thicknesses of the asphalt layer and base layer. Furthermore, the slope curve is relatively sensitive to the glassy modulus of the asphalt layer. Because of its good predictive capability and high computational efficiency, the proposed model has the desired characteristics to be used as the computational kernel for parameter back-calculation procedures of TSD measurements.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)1186-1197
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Pavement Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022


  • Asphalt pavement
  • dynamic model
  • moving load
  • spectral element method
  • traffic speed deflectometer


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