Evaluation of Consolidation in Concrete Pavements

Report No: 95-TAR4

Published in 1994

About the report:

Petrographic examinations of specimens from two recently constructed concrete pavements suggested that complete consolidation of the concrete may not have been achieved. Consequently, a quantitative evaluation of the degree of consolidation in these specimens was undertaken. The pavements were of plain, jointed design with dowels for load transfer. Both projects were constructed using slip-form paving machines with spud vibrators. It was found that the entrapped void content was excessive. In both cases, the entrapped void content of the lower half of the pavement was higher than the upper half. This situation apparently occurred because the vibrators were set to ride above the preplaced dowel assemblages. In one pavement the consolidation of the upper half was adequate, but the entrapped void content of the upper half of the other pavement was also found to be excessive. The following recommendations are made: (1) During preplacement conferences and actual construction, emphasize the importance of adequate consolidation of concrete throughout the pavement, especially in the vicinity of dowel assemblages. (2) Consider alternative methods of dowel placement. Pavers with dowel bar inserters are available. (3) Investigate methods to evaluate and monitor consolidation during construction. Nuclear gauges are used for this purpose in some states although not all applications have been successful. Ultrasonic techniques show promise for this application.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • D. Stephen Lane

Last updated: December 18, 2023

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