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    Development of Runway Rubber Removal Specifications Using Friction Measurements and Surface Texture for Control

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    The phenomenon of runway touchdown zone rubber buildup is a potentially hazardous problem. Rubber buildup covers the runway surface and occludes the surface texture. This results in a reduced wet friction coefficient between the runway pavement and the aircraft tires. Methods and equipment are available for evaluating the wet friction coefficient; however, these methods are expensive and require highly trained personnel. Therefore, most airport and airbase managers rely exclusively on visual impressions of rubber buildup in lieu of quantitative friction measurements. Nonetheless, quantitative evaluation techniques are desirable for evaluating rubber buildup. A field evaluation experiment was developed to ascertain which of five selected texture measurement techniques are indicative of Mu-Meter friction values in pavement areas with rubber buildup. The five texture measurement techniques included two volumetric techniques for determining average texture depth, ASTM Test Method for Measuring Surface Macrotexture Depth Using a Sand Volumetric Technique (E 965) (sand patch) and the silicone putty test, two methods of rating the pavement microtexture, the Penn State (PTI) drag tester and the chalk wear tester, and stereophotography. This field experiment was designed to provide quantitative methods for ascertaining rubber buildup and removal requirements. Predictive models were established for estimating friction levels using texture measurements but were found to be too variable for specification implementation. Therefore, Mu-Meter friction was used in developing contract specifications for runway rubber removal.


    friction, hydroplaning, microtexture, macrotexture, runway rubber removal, specification, Mu-Meter

    Author Information:

    Lenke, LR
    Senior research engineer and research engineer, University of New Mexco, Albuquerque, NM

    Graul, RA
    Senior research engineer and research engineer, University of New Mexco, Albuquerque, NM

    Committee/Subcommittee: E17.23

    DOI: 10.1520/STP20003S