Difference Between Flexible Pavement and Rigid Pavement

The designing of pavement is one of the challenging tasks in Transportation Engineering. Rigid pavement and Flexible pavement are the two types of road pavement design methods. The pavement surface should be durable and it can withstand the load acting from the wheel tyres.

The functional requirement of Highway pavements are

  1. Flexible pavement and Rigid pavement have good riding quality
  2. It should be less slippery
  3. It should be firm
  4. It should have sufficient friction without affecting the power of the vehicle.

Difference between Rigid Pavement and Flexible Pavement

1.Flexible Pavement

  • Load transfer is from grain to grain to the lower layers
  • The design greatly depends upon the subgrade strength
  • IRC 37-2012 code is used for designing flexible pavement 
  • The stability of flexible pavement depends upon aggregate interlock, particle friction and cohesionFlexible pavement
  • Flexible pavement shows the deflection of subgrade at the surface of the pavement.
  • Design life is 15 years.

2.Rigid Pavement

    • Rigid pavement has a good flexural strength which serves as the major factor of design.
    • Rigid pavement has a concrete layer at the top, the base course and soil subgrade are under it.
    • Rigid pavement can distribute the load over a wide area because of its high flexural strength.



  • Load transfer is done by slab action.
  • The total thickness of the pavement is lesser than flexible pavement.
  • IRC: 58-2011 is used for designing of Rigid pavement.
  • Design life is 30 years


These are the difference between flexible and rigid pavement.

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2 thoughts on “Difference Between Flexible Pavement and Rigid Pavement

    • April 5, 2018 at 1:36 PM

      For road transportation.we need to make a road either in flexible pavement or rigid pavement.


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