The use of observational techniques in pavement engineering
Wynand JvdM Steyn
Research Group Leader: Transport Infrastructure Engineering Technical Specialist - Vehicle-Pavement Interaction
CSIR Built Environment, PO Box 395, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
Tel.: +27 12 841 2634, Fax: +27 12 842 7104,
The observational method is a well-known technique used in geotechnical engineering. The basis of this technique is the scientific observation of the geotechnical environment, to ensure safe and effective construction. In its traditional form, the observational method is concerned with observation of a selection of instruments and indicators to identify changes in geotechnical conditions. However, recent developments have brought forward the increased use of various photographic and imaging techniques that often provide valuable information on the condition of infrastructure, but where standard protocols for the analysis of the images have not yet been developed. These techniques include the use of infra-red band photography (thermography) for non-destructive testing, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for observation of the inside of samples, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) for characterization of the constituents of a sample and 3-dimensional photography of samples for calculation of volumes and electronic storage of samples.
In these new endeavors it is important to develop appropriate protocols to ensure that the observations that are made can be interpreted correctly and consistently, and that the information obtained can be used effectively. The ultimate objectives of using these techniques are to improve our understanding of pavement performance and to supplement other data obtained from the pavement. This should enable the provision and management of a more sustainable, cost-effective pavement network.
Based on this background, the questions below are important to ensure that the further development work can focus on appropriate issues. During the presentation some preliminary data and potential use of this data will be presented for discussion.
PRESENTER'S QUESTIONS: I would like to receive comments, suggestions, and feedback from the meeting's attendees on the following matters:
How widely are these observational techniques used in the pavement engineering area?
Share some experiences regarding the successes and failures using the various techniques.
Awareness of any other new techniques that may be used effectively in pavement engineering.
Experience on protocols for the appropriate use of these (and similar other) techniques.
PRESENTER'S STATEMENT: This work is still in progress, and has not been submitted for presentation or publication at another meeting.