Evaluation of Ultra High Molecular Weight (UHMW) Polyethylene Panels for Aircraft Arresting Systems
ENGINEER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER VICKSBURG MS GEOTECHNICAL AND STRUCTURES LAB
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Ultra high molecular weight UHMW polyethylene panels for aircraft arresting systems have been used in the United States for approximately 15 years to provide better resistance to erosion of the pavement surface under arresting cables. When concrete or asphalt is used directly under the cables, the pavement surface becomes heavily damaged during a short period of time, requiring that the damaged area be removed and patched. A research project was awarded to the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center by the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency at Tyndall Air Force Base to inspect a number of polyethylene panels throughout the United States and Europe and to recommend ways to improve performance of the panels and the pavement materials and joint sealants adjacent to the panels. Generally, the UHMW panels have provided much-improved performance, but some changes are needed to improve the overall performance. Several problems have occurred, including warping of the panels, loss of bond between the sealant and the panels, and damage to the adjacent pavement surface when traffic passes over the joint between the panels and the pavement. Items that need improvement include reducing the amount of warping, improving the bond between the sealant and panels, and improving the performance of the asphalt and concrete mixtures adjacent to the panels.
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