Airport Pavement Stiffness Monitoring and Assessment of Mechanical Stabilization using Bender Element Field Sensor

Mingu Kang, Issam I.A. Qamhia, Erol Tutumluer, Navneet Garg, Wilfredo Villafane

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The bender element (BE) field sensor is a newly developed embedded pavement instrumentation that measures shear wave velocity to estimate constructed layer moduli of unbound aggregate bases and subbases. This paper presents findings related to monitoring stiffness characteristics of airport pavement base courses instrumented with BE field sensors and tested under full-scale accelerated pavement testing during Construction Cycle 9 (CC9) of the National Airport Pavement Test Facility (NAPTF) by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The CC9 aggregate base courses were constructed following FAA’s P-209 specification for a geosynthetic experiment using a biaxial geogrid installed at the bottom of the 8-in. (203-mm) thick base in the north test section, while the control pavement in the south test section was built without a geogrid. Two BE field sensors were installed in the north and south test sections approximately 1 in. (25 mm) above the base–subbase interface. Multiple stages of aircraft gear loads, including static dual-gear, dynamic slow-roll (moving wheel), and dynamic proof-roll, were applied to the test sections. BE field sensor data collected throughout multiple loading stages were used to investigate the stiffness characteristics of the pavement base. These preliminary tests conducted at the NAPTF CC9 experiment revealed the effects of static and dynamic aircraft gear loads on the stiffness of the aggregate base layer and how confinement influenced the moduli of the geogrid-stabilized base. Further, previously observed anti-shakedown effects caused by vehicle load wander could be quantified through changing base course modulus and deformation behavior from the BE field sensor data analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTransportation Research Record
PublisherSAGE Publishing
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Aggregates
  • Aircraft/airport compatibility
  • Airfield
  • Airport pavement
  • Aviation
  • Characterization
  • Infrastructure
  • Materials
  • Moduli
  • Pavement structural testing and evaluation
  • Pavements
  • Stiffness
  • Unbound granular material

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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