Cyclic Plate Testing of Reinforced Airport Pavements – Phase II: Geosynthetics
Although geosynthetics have been used in highway pavement applications for years, knowledge regarding the use of geosynthetics in airfield pavements is limited. This study evaluated the effect of incorporating geosynthetics in pavement structures subjected to heavy aircraft loadings. Representative flexible pavement structures were constructed in a laboratory-scale testing facility and subjected to simulated aircraft load via a 12-in.-diameter plate. A total of seven representative airfield pavement structures were evaluated, four of which included geosynthetic reinforcement at the subgrade/subbase material interface. Each pavement structure was instrumented with earth pressure cells (EPCs) to measure layer response. Permanent deformation data were collected, and traffic benefit ratios (TBRs) were calculated to determine relative improvement when compared to an unreinforced pavement structure. Tested using medium-scale cyclic plate loading, it was observed that inclusion of some geosynthetics in airfield pavements displayed a performance benefit evidenced by increased cycles-to-failure and a TBR greater than one when compared to a similar unreinforced pavement. Results suggest that placing a geosynthetic deeper in a relatively thick airfield pavement may reduce the potential performance benefit.
Authors: William J. Robinson and Gregory J. Norwood