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Our fatigue carousel is now fully electric

The fatigue carousel is a large accelerated pavement testing facility. Located on the Nantes campus of the Gustave Eiffel University, it enables the durability of general construction solutions for pavements to be tested in reduced time.

One of the world's largest traffic simulators


Its performance (120 m long runway, loading speed of up to 100 km/h) makes it one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world.

Two months of rotation can represent up to 20 years of heavy vehicle traffic on a medium traffic roadway (T3: 150 HGVs/day). The tests can concern new pavement structures, their maintenance and reinforcement techniques, as well as any roadway element. The dimensions of the test facility allow for the construction of test sections with standard construction equipment.

It was put into service in 1984 and more than 100 structures have been tested to date, in partnership with the profession.

Its applications are numerous:

  • Evaluation of innovative pavement materials and structures (fatigue, rutting, cracking...)
  • Evaluation of construction, maintenance and reinforcement methods for pavement structures
  • Study of the aggressiveness of road loads and urban transport systems on tires
  • Influence of the hydric state on the behavior of untreated materials and soils
  • Evolution with traffic of pavement use properties (evenness, skid resistance)
  • Validation of pavement behavior and design models
  • Study of the behavior and design of roadway elements: pavements for tramway crossings, gutters, buffers and pipes, pipes under roadways, trenches, etc.
  • Tests and evaluation of pavement monitoring and instrumentation equipment


The equipment is now fully electric


During the year 2022, important works were carried out in order to replace the old motorization (market n°2022FOURNTE002). Indeed, the old motors, which dated from the origin of the carousel (more than 40 years), were hydraulic motors driven by an electro-hydraulic power station with a low efficiency. This is explained by a significant consumption, even at very low speed (feeding, sweeping, cooling of the hydraulic oil).

These motors have been replaced by electric motors (commissioning in summer 2022). The carousel, equipped with these new motors, is still in the testing phase, but the first results indicate a reduction in energy consumption in the order of 30 to 50% (depending on the speed), which is considerable.

In addition to high energy efficiency, quieter operation and low environmental impact (no more use/change of hydraulic oil and reduced maintenance costs compared to operation with hydraulic motors) are also the most notable advantages.

The replacement of the old motors by electric motors was co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Gustave Eiffel University.

Cost of the operation:€642,300