The use of recycled concrete material (RCM) as pavement base material is a promising but unproven technique for road rehabilitation and construction. A telephone survey conducted to investigate the state of the practice concerning RCM usage in Utah County revealed that RCM is infrequently used in this application due primarily to a lack of practical knowledge about the engineering properties of the material. Therefore, this research was aimed at evaluating the physical properties, strength parameters, and durability characteristics of both demolition and haul-back sources of RCM available in Utah County for use as pavement base material. The study included extensive laboratory and field testing. Laboratory tests included California bearing ratio (CBR), unconfined compressive strength (UCS), stiffness, freeze-thaw cycling, moisture susceptibility, abrasion, salinity, and alkalinity evaluations. Non-destructive testing was utilized in the field to monitor seasonal variation in stiffness of an RCM pavement base layer over a 1-year period. The testing included a dynamic cone penetrometer, ground-penetrating radar, a heavy Clegg impact soil tester, a soil stiffness gauge, and a portable falling-weight deflectometer. The laboratory testing indicated that the demolition material exhibited lower strength and stiffness than the haul-back material and reduced UCS loss after freeze-thaw cycling. However, the demolition material received a moisture susceptibility rating of good in the tube suction test, while the haul-back material was rated as marginal. Both materials exhibited self-cementing effects that led to approximately 180 percent increases in UCS over a 7-day curing period. Seven-day UCS values were 1260 kPa and 1820 kPa for the demolition and haul-back materials, respectively, and corresponding CBR values were 22 and 55. The field monitoring demonstrated that the RCM base layer was susceptible to stiffness changes due primarily to changes in moisture. In its saturated state during spring testing, the site experienced CBR and stiffness losses of up to 60 percent compared to summer-time values. RCM compares well with typical pavement base materials in many respects. Given the laboratory and field data developed in this research, engineers should be able to estimate the strength and durability parameters of RCM needed for pavement design.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





alkalinity, backcalculation, durability, freeze-thaw, moisture susceptibility, pavement base material, recyled concrete, salinity, stiffness, unconfined compressive strength