Two-scale 3D analysis of reflective cracks in airfield pavements

Jorge Garzon, Dae Jin Kim, C. Armando Duarte, William G. Buttlar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prediction and simulation of load-related reflective cracking in airfield pavements require 3D models in order to accurately capture the effects of gear loads on crack initiation and propagation. Furthermore, the size relations between aircraft landing gear, pavement area and reflective cracks make this a multi-scale problem. This paper presents a generalized finite element method (GFEM) based on the solution of interdependent global and local problems. The macro-scale component of the solution is approximated by a finite element global model, while the fine-scale is addressed by a local model. This allows accurate modeling of cracks in airfield pavements that are orders of magnitude larger than the critical zones in which the initiation of reflective cracking occurs. Two 3D pavement models are created for this study. The first model is subjected to the gear loading of a Boeing 777 aircraft. This example demonstrates the accuracy of solving a multi-scale pavement problem with a GFEM enriched with local problem solutions. The second problem studies the effect of the size of the local domain on the accuracy of the GFEM solution. The numerical simulations show that 3D multi-scale problems such as reflective cracks in airfield pavements, can be efficiently solved by a GFEM based on interdependent global and local problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1350045
JournalInternational Journal of Computational Methods
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Generalized finite element method
  • extended finite element method
  • high-order approximations
  • multi-scale problem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Computational Mathematics


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