Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Civil Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering


Mehta, Yusuf

Committee Member 1

Celaya, Manuel

Committee Member 2

Yin, Huiming


nuclear density gauge, Briaud compaction device, light weight falling deflectometer, dynamic cone penetrometer


Pavements--Performance; Soil compaction


Geotechnical Engineering


Pavement performance is dependent on the compaction quality of unbound subgrade and base/subbase layers beneath flexible pavements. Pavement distresses can be linked to compaction defects within these layers. In current practice, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) utilizes the nuclear density gauge (NDG) for evaluating compaction quality based on minimum density requirements, typically 95% of the Proctor maximum dry density (MDD). However, there are concerns with using the NDG. The goal of this study was to replace the NDG with non-nuclear alternative method(s) as acceptance tools during field compaction. To achieve this, a laboratory procedure for compacting large samples was developed to facilitate testing using the Briaud compaction device (BCD), light weight falling deflectometer (LWD), and dynamic cone penetrometer (DCP) on two subgrade soils, dense graded aggregate (DGA), and recycled concrete aggregate (RCA). Each device was evaluated for their sensitivity to moisture, compaction effort, aggregate type, and time. A multiple linear regression model to predict DCP field measurements was developed and calibrated using field data to determine the minimum recommended DCP values that would ensure adequate field compaction. Using the proposed acceptance criteria, a draft specification was developed. It was concluded that the DCP is an adequate tool to replace the NDG and highly dependent on aggregate moisture content and gradation characteristics (%passing sieves No. 4 and No. 200).