Practical experience with asphalt reinforcing polymer grid and composite airfields
A conventional method for rehabilitation of damaged airfields is the installation of new asphalt layers.
Due to external forces from planes and naturally temperature variations, existing cracks or joints
rapidly propagate out of the old pavement into the new asphalt overlay. In order to delay this
phenomenon, known as reflective cracking, polymer reinforcement grid and composite have shown
outstanding results. The reinforcement grid adopts the peak stresses at the crack tip, distributes them
over a larger area and thus retards the crack propagation. The composite enables additionally a stressrelieving
system and a moisture barrier, eliminating or delaying the damage caused by possible water
intrusion. Through basic theory and practical experiences this paper will demonstrate the success and
extended pavement life that can be achieved by using asphalt reinforcement systems in airfield
applications. Special attention is given to the performance on site and the key factors associated with
the effectiveness of the reinforcing material, e.g. the loss of tensile strength due to the paving
procedure, the importance of the bond-strength, and the importance of using alkali-resistant materials
when in direct contact with concrete. The increased pavement life achieved by the use of this
technology not only prevents excessive disruption to traffic flow and local business, but it also
demonstrates strong economic benefits.
Reflective cracking can occur in cracked pavements rehabilitated with a simple asphalt overlay. To
delay the development of reflective cracks, an asphalt reinforcement grid can be placed before the
new asphalt wearing course. In order to choose the proper product for a road rehabilitation,
construction conditions and material characteristics must be chosen taking into account.
The presented case studies have showed that the use of an asphalt reinforcement in pavement
rehabilitation can be advantageous. Based on the observed performance, it is possible to conclude that
the asphalt reinforcement is an effective treatment against reflective cracking in asphalt overlays,
resulting in an extension of the service life of a rehabilitated pavement.