Knowledge CentreTechnical Resources SearchConference PapersA Cost-Effective Maintenance Treatment for Improving Airfield Pavement Friction

A Cost-Effective Maintenance Treatment for Improving Airfield Pavement Friction


Skid resistance is a key component affecting safety at an airport. Maintaining adequate skid resistance is a challenging task for a busy airport considering the intensive use of airport pavements in all weather conditions. Furthermore, the limited ability to restrict access to sections of the pavement to conduct maintenance adds further challenges in addressing pavement condition at airports around the globe.
This paper summarizes the non-destructive testing protocols used as well as the findings from a pavement investigation completed at a major North American airport hub. At the airport under study, there were documented incidents of aircraft skidding on a recently rehabilitated pavement surface. The skidding incidents occurred in close proximity to areas where standard operating procedures for gate deicing was being performed. The purpose of the pavement investigation was to examine the airport pavement’s skid resistance properties within the airport’s apron and gate areas where airplanes perform several low speed turning movements.
The non-destructive test protocols used in this project included a visual distress survey of the pavement surface and British Pendulum (BP) testing used to assess the skid resistance properties of the pavement in the affected area. Testing was performed in areas where skidding incidents were reported and other areas where no skidding incidents were reported. The BP testing was performed following ASTM E303 using water and a modified procedure using three different types of deicing agents commonly used in deicing operations at the airport during the winter season.
The objective was to determine if the skidding incidents were a result of the pavement surface or the deicing agent used at the airport. Statistical analysis was completed to objectively analyze the results of the BP testing. The results determined that the three glycol solutions used in the study contributed anywhere from 20% to 27% of the reduction in skid resistance, while the bituminous sealant used on the recently rehabilitated asphalt pavement was determined to contribute approximately 12% of the overall reduction in skid resistance. A shot blasting maintenance treatment was recommended to restore the pavement’s surface friction. This maintenance technique was determined to be the cost-effective method to restore skid resistance. Significant savings were estimated by avoiding full pavement rehabilitation and temporary operation suspension in the work zone.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Winter Maintenance
Korczak, R.
El-Hakim, M.
El-Halim, A.A.
Doyle, K.
Wagner, T.
Construction, Maintenance and operations