Porous Friction Course Solves Airport Hydroplaning Problem

by Edward A. Johnson, Asst. Airport Mgr.; Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem Regional Airport Authority, Greensboro, N.C.,
Thomas D. White, Chf.; Paving Materials Research Facility, Pavements Investigation Div., Soils and Pavements Lab., U.S. Army Experimental Station, Vicksburg, Miss.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1976, Vol. 46, Issue 4, Pg. 90-92

Document Type: Feature article


Several hydroplaning incidents had occurred at the Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem Regional Airport, N.C. Hydroplaning occurs when hydrostatic pressure builds up in the field of surface water under an aircraft's tire and reduces or eliminates tire-pavement contact when the aircraft is moving too fast for the pressure to be dissipated. As recommended for airfield pavements, the porous friction course (PFC) is a coarse, gap-graded asphaltic concrete mixture with a high, 80 to 88 percentage by weight of aggregate larger than a No.8 sieve. The coarse surface texture provides surface flow plus pressure relief channels and pavement tire contact above a surface water film. Its high percentage of voids to total mix (25% to 45%) provides temporary storage for surface water and high permeability. Dispersing the added neoprene in the form of latex, the asphalt's performance is markedly improved. The overlay has been 100% successful in preventing hydroplaning accidents.

Subject Headings: Surface water | Porous media | Friction | Airports and airfields | Airport and airfield pavements | Asphalt pavements | Overland flow | Vehicle-pavement interaction

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