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Research to Identify Advanced Asphalt Technology to Address Shear Distresses on Airside Facilities


Taking in to account the widespread application of asphalt pavements for airside infrastructure
and the very high shear forces at airport pavements, it is critical that these forces and their affect
are carefully considered during the design and construction phase of asphalt materials. This
paper describes an ongoing research on shear distresses at airside facilities focused on
identifying the primary factors in the pavement design and construction phases that affect the
development of these distresses in the asphalt layers in airport pavements and how to address
Distresses related to application of high shear forces is one of major concerns associated with
airfield pavements and has been observed at airports of varying sizes and in varying climates.
The recent few examples are Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Edmonton
International Airport, Halifax International Airport and Quebec International Airport. These
particular distressed areas may pose a significant safety hazard and are a challenge for airport
operators as well as a continuous economic burden to both airport operators as well as airlines.
Due to the complexity of the issue, the current pavement technology does not address it
efficiently but rather focuses on short term repairs of the problems areas.
In spite of best practices in pavement structural design and construction being followed,
distresses that are consistent with existence of very high horizontal and shear forces frequently
occur at certain, critical locations on airside pavements (stop bars, sharp turns, rapid exits). These
distresses appear to be occurring in spite of the pavement and asphalt mix being structurally
adequate to accommodate vertical loads. The research goal is to identify the flexible pavement
failure mechanism at high shear areas and through laboratory testing and finite element
modelling to identify asphalt mix and other material adjustments that can be made to achieve
pavements with sufficient shear resistance. The behaviour of the asphalt materials is being
modeled using finite element methodology to evaluate its response to applied shear stresses. The
model is then used to evaluate the effect of asphalt mix and materials characteristics on the shear
resistance of airfield asphalt mixtures. Finally, a test or tests is being identified that can be used
to evaluate the suitability of candidate asphalt mixtures based on their resistance to development
of shear distress.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Innovation in Pavement Materials and Surfacing Technology
Rizvi, R.
Tighe, S.L.
Uzarowski, L.