Advanced Materials

ATR conducts research on materials to identify their suitability for use on our nation’s airfields, aiming to enhance the pavement thickness design process and improve pavement life predictions by providing realistic material properties.  

The research will lead to the following outcomes:

  • The use of state specification materials at non-primary airports.
  • Quantification of material properties.
  • The development of performance-related specifications and use in FAA pavement design software.
  • An increase in the use of environmentally friendly materials.
  • An increase in the utilization of locally available materials.
  • Enhancing pavement thickness designs.
  • The creation of more resilient airport pavements infrastructure.

These advancements will result in savings by reducing initial construction costs, reducing maintenance and repair expenses, minimizing user-delay costs, preserving airport development funds, reducing runway downtime, and enhancing ride quality and safety.

The table below lists some of these materials, along with the associated benefits and properties used to characterize them. Material properties will be determined through laboratory tests, and then performance models will be developed and verified using laboratory and full-scale tests conducted at NAPTF and NAPMRC.



Material Properties 

Polymer-Modified Asphalt/ Binders 

  • Enhancing performance across a wide range of pavement temperatures 
  • Increased resistance to thermal cracking in low-temperature conditions 
  • Improved resistance to rutting in high –temperature conditions 
  • Dynamic modulus 
  • Fatigue strength 
  • Rut resistance 
  • Static creep 
  • Indirect tensile strength 

Warm Mixed Asphalt (WMA) 

  • Environmentally friendly materials 
  • Reduction in emissions (Materials employed at airports in the U.S. and Europe but lacking performance data) 
  • Dynamic modulus 
  • Fatigue strength 
  • Rut resistance 
  • Static creep 
  • Indirect tensile strength 

Geosynthetics, Geogrids, and Geotextiles 

  • Enables utilization of locally available marginal materials 
  • Potentially a cost effective, efficient method for enhancing pavement strength 
  • Introduces a proven, emerging technology that the construction industry is widely embracing 
  • Shear strength of unbound materials with and without the use of geosynthetics, geogrids, and geotextiles 
  • Assessment of deflection response using heavy weight deflectometer (HWD) 

Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP) as base/subbase material 

  • Environmentally friendly materials 
  • Employing RAP in the base/sub-base course facilitates the utilization of current, substantial stockpiles of material
  • Generate performance data under aircraft loading  
  • A cost-effective option 
  • Resilient modulus 
  • Shear strength 
  • Assessment of deflection response using HWD

Advanced Composite Materials (ACM), Fiber Reinforced Cementitious Matrix (FRCM) 


  • Environmentally friendly 
  • Enables the utilization of materials available locally 
  • Flexural strength 
  • Compressive strength 
  • Durability