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Current Projects

Feasibility of Cold Central Plant Recycling (CCPR) Asphalt Mixtures for Airports

With the Administration setting the goal that the United States will be carbon neutral by 2050, all industries are being asked to consider how they can contribute to making this goal reality. Recently, Cold Central Plant Recycling (CCPR) has been used by some agencies to reduce energy demands and research has suggested that CCPR mixtures can perform well on highways; however, little research has been conducted to show the feasibility for this type of mixture on airfields. The objective of this project is to assess the feasibility and potential benefits of using CCPR asphalt mixtures at all categories of airports.

Principal Investigator: David Jones, PhD, (University of California, Davis)

Panel: Richard Willis (Co-Chair), Jennifer Ganley (Co-Chair), Injun Song, Will Rogers, David Allain, Scott Quire, Mark Stahl, Wayne Seiler, Jason Wielinski, Nivedya Mk, Priyanka Sarker

Timeline: September 1, 2022 – August 31, 2025

Funding: $500,000


Mitigation of Plastic Flow and Delamination at High-Speed Exits

While high-speed exit taxiways are critical, for decades they have been the source of pavement distress due to the significant stresses placed on flexible pavements as heavy aircraft are turning at high speeds. This project focuses on understanding the mechanisms causing the failures at high-speed exits and finding solutions to prevent them through either construction or materials specifications.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Hao Wang, PhD (Rutgers University)

Panel: Richard Willis (Co-Chair), Navneet Garg (Co-Chair), Jeremiah Stache, David Lee, Ron Corun, Hao Yin, Michael Elwardany, Alex Apeagyei

Timeline: August 15, 2022 – August 14, 2024

Funding: $500,000


Improving Performance of Longitudinal Joints in Airfield Asphalt Pavements

Two of the biggest observed performance issues on airport asphalt pavements are cracking and raveling at longitudinal joints often related to insufficient density of the asphalt mixture in the joints. This project focuses on best practices currently used to maintain longitudinal joint performance and an evaluation of new technologies that could also extend joint life.

Principal Investigator: Randy West, PhD, PE (National Center for Asphalt Technology at Auburn University)

Panel: Ray Brown (Co-Chair), Wesley Mittlestead (Co-Chair), Brett Williams, Jeremy Robinson, Jon Young, Deb Schwerman, Harry Bush, James Anderson, Tim Martin, Chris Unzicker

Timeline: July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2024 (Phase 1)

Funding: $200,000 (Phase 1)


Balanced Mix Design: Evaluation of Rutting Tests for Airfield Pavements

This Balanced Mix Design project will focus on harmonizing the rutting requirements in the current FAA specifications.

Principal Investigator: Elie Y. Hajj, PhD (University of Nevada at Reno)

Panel: Brett Williams (Co-Chair), Navneet Garg (Co-Chair), Sadie Casillas, Chuck Mills, Brandon Brever, Alfredo Castro, Tim Peffer, Kelly Senger

Timeline: July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2024

Funding: $500,000


Balanced Mix Design: Evaluation of Cracking Tests for Airfield Pavements

This Balanced Mix Design project explores which cracking tests should be considered for airfield evaluation.

Principal Investigator: Imad Al-Qadi, PhD, PE (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Panel: Brett Williams (Co-Chair), Navneet Garg (Co-Chair), Sadie Casillas, Chuck Mills, Brandon Brever, Alfredo Castro, Tim Peffer, Kelly Senger

Timeline: August 15, 2022 – August 14, 2025

Funding: $1,000,000


Asphalt Mixtures Paving Handbook Revision

In 2000, the Transportation Research Board updated the Hot-Mix Asphalt Paving Handbook. In the decades since its publication, new technology has become available that can aid in ensuring high quality asphalt pavements are constructed for highways or airfields. The book revision will include the latest technologies and best practices for highway and airfield paving. 

Principal Investigator: Mark Buncher, PhD, PE (Asphalt Institute)

Panel: Ray Brown (Co-Chair), Harold Honey (Co-Chair), Jesse Doyle, Dave Gent, Mike Skinner, Todd Mansell, Jim Scherocman, Dennis Hunt, Richard Duvall

Timeline: July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2024

Funding: $200,000



While there have been past studies to evaluate the number of Superpave Gyratory Compactor (SGC) gyrations needed for laboratory compaction to produce mixtures with similar voids to the Marshall compactor, some questions remain around the correct compaction level with the SGC. The previous work will aid in this project's objective to determine the number of gyrations needed to compact mixtures to produce the same volumetrics as that produced with the Marshall hammer. The research team will then develop a test plan to modify/validate the number of gyrations based on testing with plant produced mixtures, followed by the phase 2 work to carry out the field study.

Principal Investigator: Randy West, PhD, PE (National Center for Asphalt Technology at Auburn University)

Panel: Ray Brown (Co-Chair), Hillary Maull (Co-Chair), Victor Garcia, John Crane, Andrew Brooks, Ron Corun, Michael Elwardany

Timeline: January 1, 2023 – December 31, 2025

Funding: $75,000 (Phase 1), $225,000 (Phase 2)


The advancement of mix design methodologies and performance testing in recent years presents opportunities to develop less restrictive gradation requirements while providing equal (or better) mixture performance when compared with mixtures designed under the current P-401 specifications. The objective of this project is to recommend gradation range requirements, including critical sieves and allowable ranges, that provide more flexibility for design mixture aggregate gradations without creating adverse effects on mixture performance.

Principal Investigator: Nam Tran (Auburn University)

Panel: Brett Williams (Co-Chair), Kristen Morris (Co-Chair), Matthew Hoyle, Brian Wood, Jeremy Barron, Jim Scherocman, Hadi Rashidi

Timeline: April 1, 2023 – March 31, 2025

Funding: $1,000,000



Extreme weather events and climate strongly influence pavement performance and, without consideration during the design and planning of projects, can lead to disruptions during the pavement's service life. This project will develop a framework and recommended standards for improving the resilience of airfield asphalt pavements to extreme weather events and changing climatic conditions.

Principal Investigator: Ben Bowers (Auburn University)

Panel: Joseph Shacat (Co-Chair), Cindy Hirsch (Co-Chair), Jeremy Robinson, Michael Elwardany, Hao Yin, Heather Dylla, Mary Robbins

Timeline: April 1, 2024 – October 1, 2025

Funding: $1,250,000

Asphalt Airfields Video Series

Objective: Develop a series of videos to pair with the paving handbook for technology transfer

Principal Investigator: Jennifer McCabe (Applied Research Associates)

Timeline: Finalizing

Budget: $500,000

Use of RAP In P-401 Mixtures

Objective: To assess the impact of using RAP in airfield asphalt mixtures and understand the potential impact for carbon reduction

Principal Investigator: Adam Hand (University of Nevada at Reno)

Timeline: October 1, 2025 – March 1, 2025 (Phase 1)

Total Budget: $1,250,000