Influence of climate change on pavement design and materials in Canada

Swarna, Surya Teja (2021) Influence of climate change on pavement design and materials in Canada. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Anthropogenic climate change is having and will continue to have adverse effects on Canadian weather. Trends over the last 50 years elevate the rapid increase in number of the extreme event, the variations in temperature and precipitation, etc. The severe climatic variations in Canada are in line with global climate changes occurring due to increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. Under the current CO₂ emission scenarios, scientists predict that climate trends will further intensify in the near future. It is well known that asphalt pavements are highly sensitive to climate factors. Hence, reviewing both pavement design and materials while accounting climate change is a vital step that can help decelerate pavement deterioration. This study aims to quantify the impact of climate change on pavement performance, including revising pavement design and materials. To achieve this, the temperature and precipitation data were extracted from ten statistically downscaled climate change models, which were gathered from the pacific Canada Climate database. Also, the pavement materials, traffic, and structural data were collected from the Long-term Pavement Performance (LTPP) database. All these data were used in the Pavement Mechanistic-Empirical (ME) software to determine the pavement performance for both baseline and future climate. Various adaptation strategies such as upgrading asphalt binder grade, increasing the thickness of asphalt concrete layer, increasing the base layer thickness, and using stabilized base layers were analyzed to mitigate the climate change impact and to extend the service life of the pavement. All of these adaptation strategies are based on climate change data and its effect on pavement performance. It is also evident that selecting a climate-appropriate asphalt binder is essential in ensuring the longevity of pavement surfaces. As the selection methodology depends on the pavement's temperature, several models can predict pavement temperatures based on recorded ambient air temperatures and other related factors. A commonality between the most predominant pavement temperature models is the geographical limitations to their application. As a result, widely used models such as the Long-Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) and Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) do not return accurate values for more Northern temperatures such as those observed in Canada. Thus, a new pavement temperature model was developed for Canadian climatic conditions to determine the appropriate asphalt binder grade for future climate. In addition, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) were also carried out for all the alternatives to determine the CO₂ contributions to Canadian environment and changes in life cycle cost of Canadian pavement surfaces.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 15688
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Keywords: pavement design, climate change, asphalt binder, climate change adaptation, life cycle assessment, life cycle cost analysis
Department(s): Engineering and Applied Science, Faculty of
Date: October 2021
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Pavements--Design and construction--Canada; Climatic changes--Effect of human beings on--Canada; Life cycle costing--Canada

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