A prototype knowledge-based system for pavement analysis
Highway engineers have addressed the problem of pavement maintenance by developing remaining life assessment methods based on structural analysis of computer simulations of pavements tested in the field by non-destructive testing devices such as the Falling Weight Deflectometer (FWD). However the methodologies followed have been shown to be unable to provide accurate solutions without undue reliance on the knowledge of the expert engineer who conducts the analysis. A knowledge-based system (KBS) is proposed to "inject" engineering knowledge into the conventional techniques. It has been established on a systematic basis and seeks to cover the variety of the issues which may be encountered in such systems. In its prototype form the system consists of three parts: 1. The finite element analytical program ROSTRA-1. 2. A deductive database. 3. A back-analysis subsystem. The analytical program carries out the analysis of the pavements tested in the field. The deductive database holds the properties of a variety of paving materials and establishes the analytical model. The back-analysis subsystem seeks to perform the tasks required for the analysis of the FWD deflection bowl. To build this system, the POPLOG-Prolog computer language operated under VAX/VMS was selected to work in connection with the analytical program. An evaluation procedure was carried out to investigate the performance characteristics of the prototype system. The results indicated that the POPLOG-Prolog development environment is not the ideal tool for such an application. In addition, it appears unlikely that there is any other development tool available which is markedly more effective than that used. However it is felt that similar functions to those required by the POPLOG-Prolog environment, may be implemented using conventional programming. To permit this, a logical design of a KBS to conduct this task is presented.