Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Civil Engineering


Civil & Environmental Engineering


Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering


Sukumaran, Beena


Finite element method; Pavements, Flexible--Analysis


Civil and Environmental Engineering


This study investigates the potential of using finite element modeling for analyzing the performance of flexible pavement. The study is deemed necessary because of the complexity of the landing gears and heavy loads imposed by heavier and bigger aircraft, like the Boeing 747-400, Airbus A380 and Boeing 777.

The development of the finite element model required a finite element mesh design study and two verification studies conducted to show that the material properties and material models used in the study gave a good representation of the individual soil and also the response of the pavement structure.

The dynamic analysis which modeled the aircraft landing gear determined that pavements with less than 30 inches of pavement structure over the subgrade will result in high levels of stress on the subgrade and adding additional subbase has diminishing returns in improving the pavement performance. The elastic response of the pavement does not supply a good representation of the permanent behavior. When moving wheel loads with wander was considered greater stresses and strains were seen in the subgrade and the field of influence increased.

The results from this study will aid in the design procedures used when designing flexible airport pavements and help in developing a process for validation of finite element models.