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International Journal of Geophysics
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 989136, 11 pages
Research Article

Ground Penetrating Radar Assessment of Flexible Road Pavement Degradation

1Dipartimento di Architettura e Urbanistica, Università di L'Aquila, Via Campo di Pile, Zona industriale di Pile, 67100 Aquila, Italy
2Dipartimento di Ingegneria delle Strutture, delle Acque e del Terreno, Università di L'Aquila, Nucleo Industriale di Bazzano, Monticchio 67100 Aquila, Italy

Received 7 July 2010; Revised 27 October 2010; Accepted 8 February 2011

Academic Editor: Mrinal Sen

Copyright © 2011 Sandro Colagrande et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


GPR investigations were used to study degraded road pavements built in cutting sections. Road integrity was assessed via quantitative analysis of power curves. 1600 MHz and 600 MHz radar sections were collected in 40 damaged and undamaged road pavement sites. The collected data were processed as follows: (i) linearisation with regression analysis of power curves; (ii) assessment of absorption angle α′ which is directly proportional to absorption coefficient α (this was obtained by setting the e.m. propagation velocity to 10 cm/ns); (iii) comparison of absorption coefficients in both damaged and undamaged zones with respect to road pavement degradation. If the absorption coefficients of damaged and undamaged road sections have nearly the same value, then the likely cause of degradation is the fatigue or the thermal shrinkage; if they are not, then road degradation is due to the different compactness of the soil caused by vehicular traffic load. In a considerable number of sites, the statistical comparison of damaged and undamaged zones through the absorption coefficient analysis shows that surface observations of road pavements are quite consistent with power curve analyses.