TSA was contacted by a client that needed to know if it was acceptable to use a heavily loaded forklift on a warehouse floor. Although it was a simple question, the answer was quite complex because they didn't have any drawings for the building. Warehouse floor design is much like highway pavement design. It is a question of load amplitude and frequency; it ultimately becomes a fatigue issue because concrete fails due to repeated loading. The heavier the load, and the more frequently the load is applied, the sooner the slab will fail.
To accurately model the slab, you need to know the forklift tire pressures, slab strength, slab thickness, and soil support properties. We used our non-destructive testing capabilities, including the Windsor Pin and Rebound Hammer for strength assessment, and ground penetrating radar to determine reinforcing steel and slab depth. The findings were confirmed with limited coring of the slab.
In this case, the proposed forklift was likely to produce slab cracking because of the slab thickness, so no further analysis of the slab was performed.