Recent trends in aircraft production intending to extend flight range capability have led to a significant increase in tire pressure and wheel loads. The latest generation commercial aircraft, Airbus A350-900, exerts tire pressures and single wheel load greater than any previous generation at up to 250 psi and a 73,000 lbs. load. Further increases of this magnitude may soon test the limits of standard paving materials, and ATR is actively preparing for just that.


The FAA’s HVS-A, also known as “Mark VI,” is the largest of its kind at 121 ft. long, 16 ft. wide, and 14 ft. high. Equipped with enhanced control systems, it has greater wander capability than previous generation HVS’s and is capable of applying bi-directional or unidirectional loading via a single wheel (max. load 100,000 lbs.) or dual wheel (max. load 50,000 lbs. per wheel). Full scale accelerated testing is being executed on NAPMRC’s four outdoor lanes and two indoor lanes designed and constructed to withstand aircraft loads at high temperatures and high tire pressures. 


Test Cycle-1 (TC1) at NAPMRC compared the performance (rut resistance) of Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) to conventional Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA), when subjected to high tire pressure and high temperature. During construction, the test pavements were instrumented with a number of sensors including strain gages, pressure cells, moisture sensors and thermocouples in order to monitor pavement response under trafficking and environmental conditions. TC1 testing was completed in 2018, and Test Cycle-2 is now under construction to evaluate Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement and three WMA technologies.


Contact Project Lead Dr. Navneet Garg