Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering


Sukumaran, Beena


Finite element method; Pavements, Flexible--Live loads


Mechanical Engineering


The introduction of larger and heavier aircraft with more complex wheel configurations is making the current design methods inadequate for airfield pavements. In addition, airport pavements experience significant wander. However, the effect of wander on airport pavement performance has not been evaluated. In previous studies, the stress interactions between each tire of a triple-dual-tandem (TDT) axle used on B-777 and A380 aircraft cannot be captured using a two-dimensional model. In addition, many of these studies have assumed a linear-elastic material behavior of the pavement layers.

The purpose of this study is to conduct a three-dimensional finite element analysis to quantify and evaluate the effects of wander and aircraft wheel configurations on the mechanical response of the pavement layers. The flexible pavement system that is modeled in this study is comprised of a medium and low strength subgrade. The stress-strain response of the base, subbase, and subgrade layers are simulated using an elasto-plastic model and the asphalt layer is modeled separately as a viscoelastic and elasto-plastic material. The entire pavement system is also modeled as layered linear elastic. The data collected from this study will show how flexible airport pavements are affected when wander is considered. Correlations between deformations from a single wheel and 4- and 6- wheel configurations are also studied.