Research Outcomes and Future Needs for Australian Rigid Airport Pavements
Greg White1 & Sean Jamieson2
1 Director, Airport Pavement Research, PhD, MEng, MTech, BE(Civil), CPEng, University of the Sunshine Coast 2 PhD Candidate, MSc(Eng), BE(Civil), CPEng, University of the Sunshine Coast
Since the time that the Australian airports were privatised and the smaller airport gifted to the regional and city Councils in the 1990s, there has been no organised or structured research into airport pavement technology and practice in Australia, until the Airport Pavement Research Program was established at the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2016. Since it’s established, the research program has considered whole of life cycle comparisons of structurally equivalent rigid and flexible airport pavements, the sensitivity of rigid pavement thickness to various input parameters, the potential to adopt alternates to flexural beams for concrete acceptance testing, and the potential for continuously reinforced concrete pavements for aircraft parking aprons. Current research includes alternate jointing systems for use in rigid airport pavement construction and the current practice of over-designing rigid airport pavements due to the inter-mixing of traditional Australian specifications with pavement thickness determination methods adopted from the USA. This paper outlines the need for structured airport pavement research and technology upkeep, summarises the rigid airport pavement research conducted as part of the program to date, and considers rigid airport pavement research needs for the future. Future research needs include more sustainable concrete mixture for embodied carbon reduction in airport pavement infrastructure and the development of a best-practice specification for the construction of rigid airport pavements in Australia.
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