Analysis of Reflective Cracks in Airfield Pavements using a 3-D Generalized Finite Element Method

Jorge Garzon, Carlos Armando Duarte, William Buttlar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prediction and simulation of load-related reflective cracking in air field pavements require three-dimensional models in order to accurately capture the effects of gear loads on crack initiation and propagation. In this paper, we demonstrate that the Generalized Finite Element Method (GFEM) enables the analysis of reflective cracking in a three-dimensional setting while requiring significantly less user intervention in model preparation than the standard FEM. As such, it provides support for the development of mechanistic-based design procedures for airfield overlays that are resistant to reflective cracking. Two gear loading positions of a Boeing 777 aircraft are considered in this study. The numerical simulations show that reflective cracks in airfield pavements are subjected to mixed mode behavior with all three modes present. They also demonstrate that under some loading conditions, the cracks exhibit significant channeling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-477
Number of pages19
JournalRoad Materials and Pavement Design
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010


  • Extended Finite Element Method
  • Finite Element Method
  • Fracture
  • Generalized Finite Element Method
  • Reflective Cracks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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