Iterative Framework for Performance and Environmental Impacts of Airfields

Izak M. Said, Imad L Al-Qadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The main goal of a durable and sustainable airfield is to withstand repeated aircraft traffic loading while minimizing the environmental impact. The objective of this study is to develop a design-life cycle assessment (LCA) framework considering a balanced evaluation of structural adequacy, minimizing emission, and optimizing total energy demand. To achieve this objective, three steps are introduced: an evaluation of the structural adequacy of the design using the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pavement design software FAA rigid and flexible iterative elastic layered design; a preliminary performance check using field instrumentation responses; and a LCA of airfield sections using both deterministic and probabilistic approaches. In addition to presenting the design-LCA methodology, this paper offers a comparative evaluation that covers two perpetual designs (LFP1-N and LFP4-N) and one conventional section (LFC5-N). These pavement sections were built and tested at the National Airport Pavement Test Facility as part of construction cycle 7, funded by the FAA. Responses collected from instrumentation were used to compute field-based coverages to failure. Moreover, life cycle inventories from secondary sources were used to quantify the greenhouse gas emissions and energy demand associated with the construction of these sections. Results show inconsistencies between the field-predicted and theoretically predicted performance. This suggests the need for the additional calibration of the currently used performance models. Moreover, this study shows that under a specific asphalt concrete (AC) thickness limit, conventional AC may be more eco-friendly than a perpetual design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-187
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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