US Army Corps of Engineers
Engineer Research and Development Center

Heavy Vehicle Simulator

Accelerated pavement wear testing

Published June 30, 2017
The Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory's Heavy Vehicle Simulator (HVS-Mark IV) is a 75 ft long, 12 ft wide, 12 ft tall custom mechanical apparatus weighing 51 tons. The HVS  is designed to simulate a large number of vehicle passes on a full scale asphalt or concrete pavement in order to safely and quickly evaluate the effects of highway traffic on a particular pavement being tested. CRREL is part of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center.

The Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory's Heavy Vehicle Simulator (HVS-Mark IV) is a 75 ft long, 12 ft wide, 12 ft tall custom mechanical apparatus weighing 51 tons. The HVS is designed to simulate a large number of vehicle passes on a full scale asphalt or concrete pavement in order to safely and quickly evaluate the effects of highway traffic on a particular pavement being tested. CRREL is part of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center.

Introduction and Mission

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory solves complex transportation problems for the nation as they relate to our Nation’s military engineering needs and our Nation’s infrastructure needs. 

CRREL uses innovative materials and construction processes to solve airfields and pavements challenges, by developing novel concrete, asphalt, composites, and insulated pavements.  CRREL improves and adapts construction methods to challenges in cold regions such as material re-supply in remote regions, frost and thaw cycles, rapid construction at sub-freezing temperatures, and other problems.  Then CRREL evaluates these new pavements and construction methods in realistic environmental conditions using full scale pavement test sections. To accomplish this work, CRREL has partnered with Rowan University CREATEs for joint research with CRREL’s Heavy Vehicle Simulator. The HVS can simulate 20 years of wear on road surfaces within months, and provides realistic evaluation of pavements by controlling air and pavement temperature from 15 to over 140 degrees Fahrenheit. With this accelerated method of testing, CRREL can accomplish its mission of solving complex transportation problems more efficiently, leading to increased life expectancy and lower life cycle cost of flexible and rigid pavements in cold regions.

Specifications  - HVS-Mark IV

  • 14,400 passes in 24 hours in uni-directional mode (load applied in one direction, then return HVS to start and repeat), 25,000 passes in 24 hours in bi-directional mode, and 20 years of equivalent traffic in only 6 months
  • Wheel load from 20 to 100 kN (4.5–22.5 kips)
  • The HVS simulates half of one axle; for example, a 9 kips (1 kip = 1000 lbs) load represents a standard truck axle load of 18 kips
  • Multiple tire types can be used, to include truck tires (with pressure from 560–690 kPa or 80–100 psi) and C-141 aircraft tires (with pressure up to 1450 kPa or 210 psi)
  • Effective testing length of traffic is 20 ft in addition to approximately 3 ft. for acceleration and deceleration at the ends of the effective test window
  • The tire traffic can be wandered to simulate real traffic. Including traffic wandering, a typical width of the traffic window is 3 ft
  • Dynatest heavy weight deflectometer (HWD) for non-destructive testing and evaluation of rigid (concrete) pavements using a peak load of 30 to 240 kN (6,500 to 54,000) lbf
  • Dynatest falling weight deflectometer (FWD) for non-destructive testing and evaluation of flexible pavements using a peak load of 7 to 120 kN (1,500 to 27,000) lbf
  • Capable of accommodating additional equipment and capabilities of the abutting Materials Evaluation Facility (MEF) for snow, ice production, lower temperatures, and other testing capabilities

Contact

ERDCinfo@usace.army.mil, 603-646-4458

Engineering Resources Branch | U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory