Airport Safety Detail

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Evaluation of Franklin Paint® Structured Methyl Methacrylate Markings at Laurence G. Hanscom Field and Manchester-Boston Regional Airport

DOT/FAA/TC-18/20 Author: Holly Cyrus

In response to a request for research from the FAA Office of Airport Safety and Standards, Airport Engineering Division, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Aviation Research, Airport Technology Research and Development Branch (ATRD) began this research effort to determine if a new application technique for painting pavement markings would increase conspicuity over the useful life of the marking in an airport environment.

Franklin Paint® presented the FAA with information on a new paint marking called structured methyl methacrylate (SMMA).  Methyl methacrylate (MMA), paint without the structured component, is currently approved for use on runways and taxiways.  SMMA differs from traditional MMA in that it is applied using a splatter pattern.  When applied to a pavement using the splattered application technique, SMMA creates a thicker, textured surface with peaks and valleys, while still creating a visible solid marking.  Franklin Paint claims this application technique will enhance wet, nighttime retro-reflectivity by allowing water to flow off the peaks and into the valleys of the marking, thus making the paint and beads on the peaks more visible.  The manufacturer also suggested using a slightly modified paint formula, which would provide enhanced visibility when used with this unique application technique.

Previously, from 2014-2015, the ATRD team conducted a year-long research effort to evaluate the performance of SMMA against MMA at the William J. Hughes Technical Center (WJHTC) in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  The research objective for this test was to further evaluate SMMA paint in an airport environment.  The research was conducted to further evaluate whether the proposed splatter application technique, a thicker application, and a modified formula offer improvements over the currently accepted MMA application technique and formula.  A complex test plan, containing a variety of tests, enabled researchers to evaluate each element that comprise the SMMA paint markings.  Testing activities included retro-reflectivity, chromaticity (color), and photograph/video documentation from November 2015 through December 2016 at Laurence G. Hanscom Field in Bedford, Massachusetts (KBED) and Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in Manchester, New Hampshire (KMHT).

The performance of the new SMMA paint (new formulation) was acceptable on KMHT and KBED airports.  The Franklin Paint SMMA application uses 80% more paint than the standard MMA and 90% of the specified bead application rate.  The total material cost for SMMA with Type III beads is approximately 36% higher, or $0.78 more per square foot, than the standard MMA with Type III beads.  The results of this test validate the research data obtained at the WJHTC.


DOT/FAA/TC-18/20
Author: Holly Cyrus

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