Project 1.7 (2020)

Deterioration mechanisms and factors in unsealed roads

Unsealed roads covered up to 63% of Australia’s road network.  In many instances, these roads represent the single means of transportation for communities and industries while bridging the local economy. Due to the location and length of these roads, any means of reducing the maintenance requirements on these roads will be of significance to particular local governments. Unsealed roads are susceptible to structural and surface failures, where surface failures are identified as more distressing to road users. The development of corrugation is one of the key surface deterioration mechanisms found in unsealed roads. Shear forces created at the interface between the road surface along with vehicle oscillation form the corrugation. Corrugation is considered to be formed through material displacement due to tyre action coupled with the mass and speed of the vehicle (Heath and Robinson, 1980). The relationship between surficial shear stress and wearing course material shear strength incorporating the climatic effects is not well established for unsealed road corrugation formation. The development of a corrugation formation model based on the unsaturated shear strength of material incorporating climatic effects could provide solutions for appropriate material selection, material alteration and improvements thereby reducing the maintenance cost. 

Research Objectives

  • To undertake a review of literature on the distress mechanisms of unsealed roads
  • To undertake field data collection for identifying factors affecting the formation of corrugation
  • To incorporate the climatic effects on corrugation formation through a suitable modelling approach
  • To propose a method to determine the bearing capacity of unsealed road surface materials
  • To develop a suitable corrugation formation model that provides solutions for suitable material selection, material alterations (e.g., use of recycled materials) and material improvement for unsealed roads
Chief Investigators: 
  • Professor Jayantha Kodikara (LCI - Monash University)
Industry partners: 
Partner investigators: 
  • Dr Mike Shackleton
  • Dr James Grenfell
(ARRB Group Ltd)