The Pavement Fatigue Carrousel

Located in Nantes, France, the pavement fatigue carrousel stresses road designs and materials while making one hell of a cacophony, as the equivalent of a megawatt wind turbine spins WOT at ground level.

The fatigue carrousel of Ifsttar is a road traffic simulator designed to study the behavior of real scale pavements under accelerated heavy traffic. In operation since 1984, the carrousel has been used for more than one hundred pavement tests, performed in collaboration with the road industry. The fatigue carrousel has a diameter of 40 m and 4 loading arms which can each carry loads up to thirteen tons, at speeds reaching 100 km/h. Two months of testing can represent up to 20 years of heavy traffic undergone by a moderate traffic pavement (T3 : 150 heavy truck/day). The experiments may concern evaluation of new pavement structures, pavement maintenance and reinforcement techniques, as well as evaluation of various types of road equipment. The dimensions of the carousel allow to use standard roadwork equipment for pavement construction.

Photo: IFSTTAR | The pavement fatigue carrousel