Airport pavements are constructed of concrete slabs resting on a prepared subbase of granular material or directly on a granular subgrade. The primary function the pavement is to provide adequate support for the loads imposed by airplanes and to produce a firm, stable and smooth all-weather surface that is free of debris or other particles that may be blown or ingested by the aircraft’s engine. The pavement must be designed to withstand the imposed loads, which are transmitted through the slabs to the underlying subgrade, while preventing subsoil failure. In concrete pavements, the concentrated wheel loads of an airplane are spread over a large area keeping the pressure transmitted to the subgrade low and thus preventing abrupt changes that may affect the degree of the support it provides. Additionally, a concrete pavement retains its surface texture to provide the traction needed between the tire and the pavement, thus minimizing the potential for aircraft skidding and hydroplaning.
Full Depth Reclamation (FDR) is most commonly used to rebuild structurally failed asphalt pavements that have exhibited fatigue cracking and/or rutting. The use of FDR for reclaiming airport pavement has been limited in the past since no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) specification previously supported its use in airfield pavements. Nowadays, many states have successfully adapted this technology by implementing necessary modifications to the current FDR standards approved by the FAA. At the Cement Council of Texas, we believe that FDR is a feasible, cost effective pavement rehabilitation option that should be considered when determining the appropriate repair methods for airfield pavement projects.
Click on the links below for additional resources:
- We recommend checking your airport pavement design with the Rigid Pavement Analysis System (RPAS), developed by The University of Texas at El Paso and available to the Cement Council of Texas for your needs upon request.
- Standard Specifications for Construction of Airports; FAA; 12/21/2018.
- Shelbyville Municipal Airport Rehabilitates Runway with Full-Depth Reclamation with Cement; Southeast Cement Association; 2020
- Roadway Method Reaps Benefits for Lone Star Runway by Jim Faber; Airport Improvement Magazine; Jan.-Feb. 2009
- Federal Aviation Administration