Thursday, December 2, 2004

Operational Life of Airport Pavements

DOT/FAA/AR-04/46 Office of Aviation Research Washington, D.C. 20591

Operational Life of Airport Pavements

The objective of the study was to determine whether the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standards used to determine the appropriate thickness for hot mix asphalt and concrete airfield pavements are in accordance with the FAA standard for a 20-year life requirement.

FAA airport pavement design standards, Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5320-6D (1995), including changes 1, 2, and 3 (2004), and related references, including some unpublished FAA technical reports and full-scale test results, were reviewed. The effects of many parameters, directly used in the failure model and indirectly used through the pavement response model, on the pavement structural life were analyzed. A sensitivity analysis of parameters on pavement structural life was used to quantitatively evaluate the effects of the most important parameters in different airport pavement design procedures.

Some full-scale test results were used to support the findings in the analysis. Much of the airport pavement surveyed data collected from previous FAA projects, including some unpublished ones, was also reviewed. A portion of that data was used in this report for the analysis. Based on the surveyed data, it was found that the average Structural Condition Index of both hot mix asphalt and Portland cement concrete pavements in all age groups is higher than 80.

Based on the definition adopted in this report, the airport pavements designed following AC 150/5320-6D have sufficient thickness to provide a 20-year structural life.

Office of Aviation Research Washington, D.C. 20591

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