A reciprocating rolling-wheel load mechanism is used to test rigid and flexible pavements. The wheel assembly travels at 5 mph while testing in one or both directions, and with optional random lateral wheel wander of up to ±10 inches. The 38-foot-wide pit permits testing at several locations across the full-scale pavement facility. Large sliding doors at both ends of the building allow the entrance of standard paving equipment to place the pavement as it would normally be constructed in the field. Experience gained on the Ohio SHRP Test Pavement and other pavements around Ohio will facilitate the instrumentation of test pavements to monitor environmental conditions and response within the pavement structure resulting from environmental changes and dynamic loading.
The APLF offers considerable flexibility in testing pavements. Not only can different pavement, base, and subgrade materials be tested and compared under known conditions, but the heavy-duty loading mechanism permits the evaluation of various tire configurations and load levels on performance. Environmental changes can be superimposed to determine the effect of temperature gradients in flexible pavement, and the effect of temperature and humidity gradients on curing, curling and warping, joint load transfer, and dowel bar performance in rigid pavement.
Projects utilizing the APLF include studies of ultrathin concrete, verification of three-dimensional pavement models, dowel bars, materials, and other aspects of flexible and rigid pavement structures.