Airport Pavement Research Program

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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.

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.
  • Variation in supply of binder performance and the impact on airport asphalt.
  • Foamed bitumen base for expedient airfield pavement upgrades.
  • The relevance of asphalt fatigue for airport pavement thickness design.
  • The cost of adopting FAA design standards for Australian airports.
  • The comparative cost of thick and full depth high modulus asphalt pavements for airports.
  • Variability of deflection survey results and their effect on airport pavements.
  • Alternates to flexural beams for airport concrete acceptance testing.
  • Airport sprayed sealing advancement for improved design and construction.

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 Airport

Industry support and representation

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

  • Pavement engineering inputs to CASA’s MOS 139 review throughout 2017.
  • Member and Secretary of the AAA PWG throughout 2017, including telecons and meetings.
  • Attended the ICAO Airport Pavement Expert Group meeting (including ACN-PCN changes discussion) in Montreal, Canada, March 2017.
  • Technical direction and support to the AAA Pavement and Lighting Forum, Sydney, May 2017.
  • AAA Webinar Airfield Pavements 101, August, 2017.
  • USC APRP presentation to the NZ Airport Association conference, September 2017.

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.

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