Laboratory characterization of the load transfer-crack width relation for innovative short concrete slabs pavements

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Aggregate interlock is the dominant load transfer mechanism in non-dowelled Jointed Plain Concrete Pavements, as the innovative short concrete slabs. Although the Load Transfer Efficiency of this pavement innovation is based on that mechanism, the structural design methods do not relate the Load Transfer Efficiency by aggregate interlock with its direct cause, which is the Crack Width under the joints. The objective of the present article is to characterise in the laboratory the Load Transfer Efficiency−Crack Width relation for innovative short slabs Jointed Plain Concrete Pavements. Additionally, as an alternative to large-scale laboratory tests to study the Load Transfer Efficiency, a practical test on a reduced scale is proposed. The results confirmed that short slabs Jointed Plain Concrete Pavements with high-quality aggregates are able to provide adequate Load Transfer Efficiency (above 70%) without dowels bars. Based on the laboratory results, complemented with previous field data, a Load Transfer Efficiency−Crack Width curve is proposed and made available for structural design methods of short slabs Jointed Plain Concrete Pavements. Finally, the laboratory test on a reduced scale is useful to develop specific Load Transfer Efficiency−Crack Width relations using standard equipment available in traditional concrete laboratories.