Airport Pavement Research Program - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Airport Pavement Research Program

The Airport Pavement Research Program (APRP) was established in 2017 to address the long-term lack of research and development in Australian airport pavement technology and practice upkeep. The APRP will initially extend over five years and is supported by the Australian Airports Association (in conjunction with the Department of Defence), Sunshine Coast Council (owners of Sunshine Coast Airport) and Perth Airport.

In 2018, the USC Airport Pavement Research Program (APRP) has focused on completion of set-up activities and commencing the research priorities agreed in late 2017, as well as student and staff recruitment.

Research agenda

The research agenda has been developed in conjunction with the Australian Airports Association’s Pavement Working Group and is ratified by the supporting organisations. The research priorities will be reviewed annually. Current priorities include:

  • Whole of life cost comparison of rigid and flexible aircraft pavement structures.
  • Comparing layered elastic and finite element calculated aircraft pavement responses.
  • Trialling different products for grooved airport asphalt surface preservation.
  • Falling weight deflectometer testing for aircraft pavement strength rating.
  • Alternates to bituminous binders for airport asphalt surfacing.
  • Advanced asphalt test methods for improved characterisation of performance properties.
  • Correlations between flexural strength and other properties for airfield concrete mix acceptance.
  • Stone mastic asphalt for ungrooved runway surfacing.
  • Development of performance-based asphalt requirements for runway surfaces.

Additional information relating to these current projects is available on the Research projects page.

Future research opportunities include:

  • Developing instrumentation standards for intelligent airport pavement structures.
  • Potential for reusing moisture damaged asphalt in new pavement construction.

  • Recycling in rigid and flexible airport pavement materials.
  • Non-bituminous asphalt rejuvenation products for asphalt preservation.

  • Understanding the impact of laboratory reheating of asphalt samples prior to testing.

  • Characterising an airport asphalt mixture by dynamic modulus for better pavement analysis and design.

  • Alternates to flexural beams for airport concrete acceptance testing.

Research partners

The University of the Sunshine Coast gratefully appreciates the support provided by:

  • Australian Airports Association
  • Perth Airport
  • Australian Government - Department of Defence
  • Sunshine Coast Regional Council/Sunshine Coast Airport

Industry support and representation

In additional to APRP research and projects, USC APRP staff and students also supported and represented the Australian airport industry through a range of initiatives during 2018, including:

  • Pavement engineering inputs to CASA’s MOS 139 review throughout 2018.
  • Member and Secretary of the AAA PWG throughout 2018, including telecons and meetings.
  • Attended the ICAO Airport Pavement Expert Group meeting (including ACN-PCN changes discussion) in Montreal, Canada, April 2018.
  • AAA Webinar Sprayed Sealing for Airports, March, 2018.
  • Coordination and chair of the AAA Pavement Technology Workshop, Brisbane, May 2018.
  • AAA Webinar Thickness and ACN-PCN, July, 2018.
  • Development of a standardised specification for Airport Sprayed Sealing, supported by AAPA and AAA.

Research outputs and publications

All APRP outcomes will be publicly and openly available for the benefit of the whole airport industry. This includes a catalogue of outputs by topic and research outputs sorted by research theme.