CICM 2015 First International Conference on Advances in Civil Infrastructure and Construction Materials MIST, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 14–15 December 2015
FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSIS OF AIRFIELD FLEXIBLE PAVEMENT
Tahmida H. Shimu ^{1} , Mohd. M. RAHMAN ^{1} , Md. Naim Hossain ^{1} , Nusrat J. Nilu ^{1} , Khondaker S. Ahmed ^{1}
^{1} Department of Civil Engineering, Military Institute of Science and Technology Mirpur Cantonment, Dhaka1216, Bangladesh Email: mehedi1341@gmail.com tahmida@ce.mist.ac.bd
Abstract. In recent days, finite element analysis is widely introduced to minimize the limitations associated with empirical methods in order to assess pavement performance (Stress, Strain, and Displacement) in an efficient manner. This re search mainly focuses on the application of finite element method (FEM) to eval uate mechanical behaviors and pavement performance of an airfield pavement under a standardized aircraft loading. For this purpose, a 2Dimensional, 3 layered aircraft pavement is modeled using finite element software ABAQUS 6.13. The layers are modeled as linear elastic layers which represent an asphalt surface, an aggregate base and a granular subgrade. Dimensions and material properties of these layers are taken from FAARFIELD, a software to design air port pavement. The aircraft wheel load is modeled as a uniform pressure load on the asphalt surface for simplicity. The objective of this study is to evaluate air field pavement performance under simplified simulation environment in ABAQUS to serve as a preliminary basis of stressstrain analysis of pavement under aircraft loading.
Keywords: Finite element analysis, airfield flexible pavement, FAARFIELD, dynamic loading.
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T. H. Shimu, M. Rahman, N. Hossain, Nusrat J. Nilu, S. M. Muniruzzaman, K. S. Ahmed
1 INTRODUCTION
Transportation system is referred to as one of the most essential infrastructures that influence the overall development of a country. The design of airfield flexi ble pavement almost resembles to traditional empirical design methods of high way pavement and from generation to generation it is modified to handle vulnerable situations. Airports are invincible part of air transportation system. Most of the airports in our country are mainly flexible pavement comprising with asphalt layer at top followed by base, subbase (optional), and subgrade [2]. This pavement experiences not only domestic aircraft landing but also international. The expansion and maintenance of international airports are quite difficult due to financial constraints and land scarcity. As a result it generates a pressure on ex isting airport and ultimately affects both national and international communica tion [15]. To cater critical cases of existing pavement, an attempt has been taken in this research for predicting pavement performance. Both 2D and 3D model ing of airfield pavement can be used to evaluate pavement performance [2]. Based on existing literature, direct/analytical solutions of design approaches become convoluted due to some complexities of the system such as heavy air craft loading, complex tire configuration, and dynamic implicit nature and direc tion of loading and accelerationdeceleration phenomenon [56]. This is why recent studies have approached numerical solutions by using finite element tech nique to study the pavement responses on an airfield. In this study, a 2D three layered pavement is modeled using finite element package Abaqus to investigate the structural performance in terms stress distribu tion in different layers of airfield flexible pavement. Since such problem can be idealized as plane stress problem, 2D model is expected to extract results close to 3D approximation considering all other challenges. Material properties are taken from FAARFIELD with an arbitrary aircraft combination. In addition, a brief study of convergence for different seed control is also conducted and finally meshing the most vital part is successively done by trial and error process with a view to achieve higher degree of accuracy.
2 METHODOLOGY
This study focuses on evaluating structural responses of airfield pavement in 2D model using finite element software ABAQUS. A convenient approach has been taken to establish a standard wheel configuration, wheel pressure, contact area to use on this software for evaluating stressstrain characteristics of flexible pave ment. Stressstrain analysis is used to predict distresses in pavement and different failure condition. Basically, ABAQUS is a finite element software widely used for stress analysis. In this software, modeling of structural systems can be executed through accom modating multifarious facilities such as boundary condition in both vertical and horizontal directions, loading as pressure or velocity and direction, surface condi
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Finite Element Analysis of Airfield Flexible Pavement
tion, fine meshing,different material properties (linear elastic,elastoplastic, hy poelasticetc.) under a computer simulated environment [2]. Finally, using the finite element technique the software generates various output variables as re quested such as plots of stress distribution and deflection along the modeled sys tems. The study of convergence of stress and deflection can also be done in this software by changing the mesh size control and comparing the variation in stress deflection contour plots.
2.1 Dimensioning and Material Properties Considered
Considering four layered flexible pavement –HMA surface course, aggregate base course, crushed aggregate subbase course and granular subgrade course, thickness of different layers are extracted from FAARFIELD for an arbitrary air craft combination (Table1). Arbitrary values are considered as inputs for annual departures of aircrafts. For these thicknesses, a 3layered 2D pavement is mod eled in ABAQUS as a standard/explicit model. To simulate an infinite subgrade layer in the bottom, this layer is ignored in the model and is replaced with a fixed support. A constant slope of 45º is considered on both sides at each layer. Assuming that all materials behave linearly within the elastic limit, moduli of elasticity of different layers are also taken from FAARFIELD for the above men tioned combination of aircraft loading (Figure 1). A constant poison’s ratio of 0.35 is considered for all the layers as suggested in FAARFIELD. Densities of these layers are taken from Advisory Circular of FAA [7] for a typical airfield pavement (Table 2).
Table 1: Aircraft combination for which thickness of different layers are extract ed from FAARFIELD
Gross Wt. 
Annual 

No. 
Name 
lbs 
Departures 
1 
A320100 
150,796 
360 
2 
B737800 
174,700 
600 
3 
B757300 
273,500 
800 
4 
B7878 (Preliminary) 
486,000 
600 
5 
B707320C 
336,000 
1,300 
6 
B737900 
174,700 
300 
7 
A310200 
315,041 
1,000 
8 
MD83 
161,000 
800 
9 
B777200 ER 
658,000 
800 
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T. H. Shimu, M. Rahman, N. Hossain, Nusrat J. Nilu, S. M. Muniruzzaman, K. S. Ahmed
Figure 1: Structure of flexible pavement
Table 2: Material properties of different pavement layers
Layer 
_{T}_{y}_{p}_{e} 
Poison's 
Density 

No. 
Ratio 
(pci) 

1 
P401/ P403 HMA Surface 0.35 
0.069444 

2 
P401/ P403 St (flex) (Stabi lized base coarse) 
_{0}_{.}_{3}_{5} 
0.070602 

3 
P209 Cr Ag (Sub base) 0.35 
^{0}^{.}^{0}^{7}^{2}^{3}^{3}^{8} 
2.2 Boundary and Surface to Surface Interaction Modeling
Boundary conditions are considered as displacement or rotational. The bounda ries on both sides of the model are restricted to move along X axis and free to move along Y axis (U1=0) and at the bottom fixed support is considered (U1=U2=UR3=0) to simulate an infinite subgrade. Surface to surface interaction is taken as Tie and internal friction among them is neglected.
2.3 Loading
In this study, a uniform pressure load is applied at the top of asphalt surface. The loading value is obtained from FAARFIELD by considering the following pa rameters of Boeing 707320C aircraft which is taken as the design aircraft for this study (Table3).
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Finite Element Analysis of Airfield Flexible Pavement
Table 3: Loading parameters
Parameters
Values considered
Aircraft Model 
B 707320C 
Gross Takeoff weight 
336000 lbs 
Tire Contact width 
14 in 
Wheel load 
39900 lbs 
Load given by FAARFIELD 
2850 lb/in. 
2.4 Element type and meshing
Fine meshing is done all through the section to obtain approximate results. Finer local seeds are considered with a direction towards load and a biased ratio of 5 (>1) where load is applied to accommodate for the higher stress and nodal dis placements at that region. Meshing details used in this study are given in Table 4.
Table 4: Meshing details.
Mesh Control 
QuadDominated 

Element Type 
StandardLinearPlane Stress 

Layer No. 
Top 
Bottom 

Number of seeds control (Edge) 
1 
160 
50 
2 
50 
55 

3 
55 
60 
Figure 2: Element meshing with bias ratio
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T. H. Shimu, M. Rahman, N. Hossain, Nusrat J. Nilu, S. M. Muniruzzaman, K. S. Ahmed
3 RESULTS AND INTERPRETATION
Finite element modeling provides stress in both directions. On the basis of ele ment type, meshing, boundary condition and surface modeling, large variations in results are obtained. Stresses found in this study are shown in Figure 3.In this case due to vertical static load, tensile strain in horizontal direction and compres sive strain in vertical direction prevail. Deflection plot found from analysis is given in Figure 4.
Figure 3 : vonMises stress contour plot
Figure 4: Maximum deflection plot
Stress at the top layer of asphalt surface course is found maximum where the load is applied as expected but there also generates a maximum stress zone at contact surface of base and subbase course. A uniform pressure bulb is seen in the stress contour plot as well as in deflection plot. Deflection gradually decreas es with the depth of pavement layer. Maximum and minimum stress and deflec tion at different layers are shown in Table 5.
Table 5 : Maximum and minimum stress and deflection at different layers
Layer 
Maximum 
Minimum stress 
Layer 
Maximum 
Minimum 
Stress 
(psi) 
Deflection 
Deflection 

(psi) 
(inch) 
(inch) 

1st 
2.741E+03 
2.339E+02 
1st 
3.694E01 
1.231E01 
2nd 
2.513E+03 
6.898E+02 
2nd 
3.079E01 
6.157E02 
3rd 
1.146E+03 
2.339E+02 
3rd 
2.771E01 
3.079E02 
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Finite Element Analysis of Airfield Flexible Pavement
A convergence study is done with varying element number at top layer. From this study, it is found that stress increases with an ascending order along with increasing number of element (Figure 4) and around at 300 no. of elements, the convergence is established and the stress value becomes saturated.
Table 6: Summary of convergence study
Element No at Top Edge
Maximum Stress, Psi
160 
2.741E+03 
200 
2.781E+03 
240 
2.937E+03 
280 
3.289E+03 
320 
3.363E+03 
Figure5: Stress variation for different no of element
4 CONCLUSION
To draw an overview of this study, a typical airfield pavement was initially de signed using FAARFIELD from where thicknesses of different layers and mate rial properties are obtained against an arbitrary aircraft combination. Basing upon these parameters, a finite element model of airfield pavement was established in ABAQUS. From stress analysis, maximum values of von misses stress were found to be 2.741E+03, 2.513E+03 and 1.146E+03 psi, respectively at top, mid dle and bottom layer contact surfaces. These stress values found from this analy sis can be further used to draw allowable stress or limit stress for mechanistic or empirical pavement design procedures. In addition, from the convergence check,
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T. H. Shimu, M. Rahman, N. Hossain, Nusrat J. Nilu, S. M. Muniruzzaman, K. S. Ahmed
a saturation condition was found at a number of element or mesh controls of 300 seeds at top edge. This parameter can be used to optimize the stressstrain analy sis of airfield pavement in further studies. A typical airfield pavement is of dy namic implicit nature as the pavement layers represent anisotropic characteristics. The wheel loading is also of nonlinear nature to apprise for accelera tion/deceleration phenomenon of aircrafts. In this study, nonlinearity is assimilated only in geometry but the layers are modeled as linear elastic with standard/explicit system. A uniform and static pressure load which is equilibrium to that of a design aircraft loading is considered to represent wheel load. For further research, a 3D dynamic implicit model along with standard tire imprint area can be carried out. Also, dynamic acceleration or velocity type load to apprise for the true representation of aircraft landing and takeoff can be con sidered. Thus, a complete finite element study on airfield pavement design ap proach can produce an economic design procedure for airport runways.
REFERENCES
[1] 
Bhalla, B.,Vankar, A. A., and Zala, L.B., “Runway Pavement Design of a proposed Airport with the use of FAARFIELD Software”, International Journal of Science and Modern Engineering (IJISME) ISSN: 23196386, Volume1, Issue6, May 2013. 
[2] 
Rahman, M.T., Mahamud ,K., and Ahsan, S., “Stress Strain characteristics of flexible pavement using Finite Element Analysis”, International Jour nal of Civil and Structural Engineering, ISSN 0976 – 4399,Volume 2, No 1, 2011. 
[3] 
Leonardi, G., “Finite Element Analysis of Airfield Flexible Pavement,” Science Letter Volume 3, University of Reggio Calabria, Italy. 
[4] 
Sukumaran, B., “Three Dimensional Finite Element Modeling Of Flexible Pavements,” Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Worldwide Airport Technology Transfer Conference, USA (2004). 
[5] Zdiri, M., Abriak, N., Neji, J., and Ouezdou, M. B., “Modelling of the Stresses and Strains Distribution in an RCC Pavement Using the Computer Code Abaqus", Electronic Journal of Structural Engineering, 9 (2009).
[6] 
Wardle, L. J., and Rodway, B., “Recent Developments In Flexible Aircraft Pavement Design Using The Layered Elastic Method,” Third Int. Conf. on Road and Airfield Pavement Technology, Beijing, April 1998. 
[7] 
Advisory Circular, U.S Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, AC No 150/53206E, (2009). 
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