Better Roads

June 2014

Better Roads Digital Magazine

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RoadScience by Tom Kuennen, Contributing Editor 4 June 2014 Better Roads I ntelligent compaction – matched with more produc- tive operational control systems – is revolutionizing the commonplace world of dirt rolling. Yesterday's slow-but-steady soil compactor now communicates with satellites, logs performance, saves fuel, pollutes less and is more productive. It's all done natively, at the push of buttons or on a cab-mounted touch screen. And the clunky onboard computers and GPS receivers that were the hallmarks of earlier intelligent compaction (IC) systems have been replaced with modular systems that mini- mize costs as they permit GPS receivers to be transferred from roller to roller and even from soil to asphalt compactors. An intelligent soil compaction system will include continu- ous assessment of mechanistic soil properties (e.g., stiffness, modulus) through roller vibration monitoring, automatic feedback control of vibration amplitude and frequency, and an integrated global positioning system to provide a complete geographic information system-based record of the earthwork site, according to National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report 676, Intelligent Soil Compaction (2010). "Intelligent compaction equipment measures and records the quality of compaction during the compaction process," says John Siekmeier, senior research engineer, Minnesota Department of Transportation, at this year's Transportation Research Board (TRB) presentation. "The compactor's force changes in real time to increase compaction where needed, while preventing overcompaction. The equipment uses a global positioning system to create a map that shows the quality of compaction across the entire surface of each lift." The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has been quarterbacking research in soil and asphalt intelligent com- paction. Intelligent compaction (IC) devices offer a number of advantages for highway projects, according to FHWA, including the following: Intelligent and new technologies are revolutionizing soil compaction. Down to the Dirt Photo courtesy of Caterpillar Paving In an Altoona, Iowa, highway ramp project, Caterpillar machine drive power (MDP) technology on CS74B soil compactor found compaction discontinuities that may not have been located by accelerometer- based intelligent compaction (IC) dirt rollers. RoadScience_BR0614.indd 4 6/2/14 1:13 PM

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