Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Halil Ceylan


Designing the pavement foundation for rigid airfield pavements and understanding the contribution of pavement foundation elements to overall pavement performance and pavement failure have been challenges for the rigid airfield pavement design community. While many models have been developed to best simulate pavement foundation behavior for rigid airfield pavements, many of them have focused only on the failure of the Portland Cement Concrete (PCC) layer and did not sufficiently consider the contribution of pavement foundation to the failure. The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) pavement design software, FAARFIELD, considers the maximum horizontal stress at the bottom edge of the concrete slab for the bottom-up cracking failure of a PCC layer but does not consider the critical responses for the failure of subbase and subgrade layers in rigid pavement design. Incorporating critical pavement foundation responses into pavement design procedures is of great interest. The primary objective of this research study is to investigate the feasibility of developing rapid three-dimensional finite-element (3D-FE)-based pavement foundation response and moduli prediction models for the design of both new and rehabilitated rigid airfield pavement structures. The three case studies investigated in the development of the models include: (1) rigid pavement foundation response prediction models for different wide-body aircraft loading conditions, (2) rigid pavement foundation response prediction models for Heavy/Falling Weight Deflectometer (H/FWD) loading conditions, and (3) single rigid-pavement moduli prediction model. The development procedure and results based on rapid 3D-FE based prediction models are presented in this thesis along with other significant findings and recommendations for employing the developed models in the structural design and evaluation of rigid airfield pavement systems. It was found that the developed models could successfully predict 3D-FE pavement solutions for all cases investigated in this study, could account for rigid pavement foundation-related distresses, and could be potentially integrated into FAARFIELD as surrogate forward response prediction models in the future.

Copyright Owner

Adel Rezaei Tarahomi



File Format


File Size

47 pages