Application of graded finite elements for asphalt pavements

William G. Buttlar, Glaucio H. Paulino, Seong Hyeok Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Asphalt paving layers, particularly the surface course, exhibit vertically graded material properties. This grading is caused primarily by temperature gradients and aging related stiffness gradients. Most conventional existing analysis models do not directly account for the continuous grading of properties in flexible pavement layers. As a result, conventional analysis methods may lead to inaccurate prediction of pavement responses and distress under traffic and environmental loading. In this paper, a theoretical formulation for the graded finite element method is provided followed by an implementation using the user material subroutine (UMAT) capability of the finite element software ABAQUS. Numerical examples using the UMAT are provided to illustrate the benefits of using graded elements in pavement analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-249
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Engineering Mechanics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • Asphalt pavements
  • Finite element method
  • Fractures
  • Material properties


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