Development and results of the Swedish road deflection tester

Sammanfattning: A project to construct a high-speed road deflection tester was initiated in the 1991. A mid-sized truck was used as a carrier for the first prototype. The results were promising and it was decided to build a full-size truck system. The new vehicle, based on a Scania R143 ML, was completed in 1997. The Road Deflection Tester (RDT) is equipped with two arrays of twenty noncontact laser sensors that collects transversal surface profiles at normal traffic speeds. One profile, placed between the wheel axles, constitutes an unloaded case. The other profile, just behind the rear axle of the vehicle, constitutes the loaded case. By subtracting the front cross profile from the corresponding rear one, the "deflection profile" is assessed. The deflection is assumed to vary with the stiffness of the road. In order to produce a large load on the rear wheels the engine was mounted in the back of the vehicle, slightly behind the rear axle. In testing mode the rear axle force is approximately 112 kN, and the front axle force is about 30 kN. An incremental wheel pulse transducer, two force transducers and two accelerometers, an optical speedometer and a gyroscope are also mounted on the RDT. The first test programme was carried out in 1998. Due to the careful choice of test sections, data from these sections still produce the best results. A smaller test programme was carried out in 2001, and a larger one in 2002 when the RDT was taken to England and France for demonstration. Promising results, both on an aggregated scale and for individual test sections, have been obtained. The RDT compares favourably with the Falling Weight Deflectometer. Short histories of road construction and road research give some historical and cultural background to the more recent developments. A more comprehensive history of rolling deflectographs presents all devices found in the literature from the start in the mid-fifties when the California Traveling Deflectograph and Lacroix Deflectograph were constructed, to the latest laser based High-Speed Deflectograph. Many references are given for further reading. The data acquisition hardware on the RDT system consist of sensors, signal converters, signal processing cards, an industrial computer for data communication, and an ordinary PC for operating the equipment and data storage. The software used to evaluate the data is written entirely in Matlab. Many levels of pre-processing make evaluation relatively fast, and the modularised design makes it easy to implement new evaluation algorithms in a clean and efficient way. A literature survey on the deformations of solids under static and moving load is presented in Appendix A. The static case started with Boussinesq in 1885, was much developed in the sixties, but since the eighties only a very limited amount of new results have been published. The moving load case, on the other hand, is still an field of active research and development.