Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Civil Engineering

Major Professor

Manjriker Gunaratne, Ph.D.


Speed constant, Dynamic load coefficient, Measured skid number, Friction prediction, Megatexure


Pavement roughness has been found to have an effect on the coefficient of friction measured with the Locked-Wheel Skid Tester (LWT) with measured friction decreasing as the long wave roughness of the pavement increases. However, the current pavement friction standardization model adopted by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), to compute the International Friction Index (IFI), does not account for this effect. In other words, it had been previously assumed that the IFI's speed constant (SP), which defines the gradient of the pavement friction versus speed relationship, is an invariant for any pavement with a given mean profile depth (MPD), regardless of its roughness. This study was conducted to quantify the effect of pavement roughness on the IFI's speed constant. The first phase of this study consisted of theoretical modeling of the LWT using a two-degree of freedom vibration system. The model parameters were calibrated to match the measured natural frequencies of the LWT. The calibrated model was able to predict the normal load variation during actual LWT tests to a reasonable accuracy.

Furthermore, by assuming a previously developed skid number (SN) versus normal load relationship, even the friction profile of the LWT during an actual test was predicted reasonably accurately. Because the skid number (SN) versus normal load relationship had been developed previously using rigorous protocol, a new method that is more practical and convenient was prescribed in this work. This study concluded that higher pavement long-wave roughness decreases the value of the SP compared to a pavement with identical MPD but lower roughness. Finally, the magnitude of the loss of friction was found to be governed by the non-linear skid number versus normal load characteristics of a pavement.