Request for Proposal
Project 04-04
Evaluation of Stone Matrix Asphalt (SMA) for Airfield Pavements

Proposals Due December 2, 2005 at 4:00 P.M. CST

Airfield Asphalt Pavement
Technology Program (AAPTP)


Stone matrix asphalt (SMA) has been used successfully on highways and airfields in Europe for many years and has been successfully used on highways in the US for almost 15 years. However, there has been very little or no documented use on airfields in the US. This project will evaluate and document the extent of the use and performance of SMA pavements on airfields in the US and Europe. The project will also provide guidance to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on benefits and limitations of SMA use on airfields and the requirements/specifications needed to implement SMA. Existing SMA specifications for airfield use may be found in UFGS 02470 ( df/ 02740.pdf ) and AFCESA ETL-04-8 (> ).


The objectives of this project are to evaluate and document the historic performance of SMA pavements and to develop technical guidance for the FAA to implement the stone matrix asphalt (SMA) mixes on airfield in the US. This guidance must consider but not be limited to the following issues:

  1. SMA materials and mix design characteristics
    1. Selection of binder with/without polymers
    2. Construction density and mix compaction procedures and equipment
    3. Durability
    4. Selection of applicable airport pavement types of use (aircraft traffic and non-aircraft traffic areas)
    5. Application layer thickness and composition
    6. Resistance to fuel spillage
    7. Ability and procedure to groove SMA surfaces
    8. Durability
  2. Airport environmental issues
    1. Pavement temperature both high and low
    2. De-icing
    3. Maintenance procedures including snow and ice removal and periodic rubber removal
  3. Construction quality control and assurance
  4. Initial and life cycle costs
  5. Aircraft operational issues
    1. Tire pressure and total wheel loads
    2. Aircraft speed
    3. Loading repetitions and channelization
    4. Potential for foreign object damage (FOD)

The products from this applied research effort will be fully documented guidance on the procedures and processes needed to incorporate Superpave technologies into FAA/DOD standard airfield mix design practice. This will be accomplished in three phases as follows:

Phase I
This phase of the project shall consist of a review of the use and performance of SMA on airfields worldwide and a compilation of this information. The research agency is expected to identify and gather specifications, construction processes and performance data on SMA use on airfields in the US and Europe. Questionnaires and personal interviews are anticipated. These reviews shall also gather information on the advantages and disadvantages of implementation. At the end of this Phase, the research agency shall provide a comprehensive document that clearly presents data and information regarding the use and performance of SMA on airfields and evaluates the applicability to US airfields.

Phase I will consist of the following Tasks 1 thru 4:

Task 1 -- A literature review of SMA practice and performance on roadways and airfields shall be conducted and documented. As part of this effort, a clear definition of SMA for use on airfield pavements shall be established.

Task 2 -- Gather specifications and performance history on airfield pavements that have used SMA material. (See Use of Stone Mastic Asphalt on Airport Pavements for initial reference document on use of SMA on airfields). Specific, directed questionnaires may provide a substantial portion of this task but on-site interviews and inspection of 8 to10 different sites is anticipated. Material sampling of actual SMA airfield pavements is expected to be collected for possible laboratory testing.

Note: The research agency shall not accomplish this task by preparing and distributing a written survey. A survey is defined as the random distribution of a standard list of questions that seek trends for forecasting information. The use of such surveys must receive approval through the Airfield Asphalt Pavement Technology Program from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This process requires a minimum of 90 days from the date of application for the survey approval. The 90-day approval period is not included in the time designated as the performance period.

Task 3 -- Compare and contrast airfield SMA practice and performance data/information to the current FAA procedures for airfields and the needs of airfields in the US. Identify benefits and limitations of SMA use on airfields in US.

Task 4 -- Complete an interim report that compiles and presents results from Tasks 1-3 and provide a preliminary laboratory testing plan that is be accomplished as Task 5.

Phase II
This phase shall consist of limited laboratory testing program to determine SMA properties and characteristics of the existing SMA airfield pavements to establish as-constructed SMA properties. Draft specification and technical advisory to implement SMA in the US shall be developed that addresses the materials and operational issues identified in the objective portion of this RFP. In addition, an implementation and/or demonstration plan to distribute information on SMA shall be developed. The research agency shall provide the technical panel with a draft project final report and a presentation of their recommendations. The final report shall address the concerns and issues of the technical panel and contain a detailed cost estimate for Phase III.

Phase II will consist of the following Tasks 5 thru 9:

Task 5 -- Conduct laboratory testing on selected samples of existing SMA pavements to compare/contact composition and material properties with specifications and performance information collected in Task 2.

Task 6 -- Develop technical specifications and a technical advisory for SMA airfield pavements in the US.

Task 7 -- Develop implementation/demonstration plan to provide awareness of potential use of SMA on airfield pavements. Identify projects that provide the greatest likelihood and/or potential for implementation in US.

Task 8 -- Make presentation on recommendations and draft final report including laboratory test results and implement/demonstration plan to the Project Technical Panel. The research agency should submit a preliminary draft (eight (8) hard copies and one (1) electronic copy in Microsoft Word format) for review by the Project Technical Panel. Discussion technical assistance procedures and prioritization of potential trial SMA projects for Phase III will be included in this review meeting. The Project Technical Panel will provide comments within approximately one (1) month of this presentation.

Task 9 -- Finalize project report and recommendations considering the comments provided by the technical panel and prepare a detailed cost estimate for optional Phase III.

Phase III
This phase is optional and will be used to provide technical assistance on two (2) trial applications of SMA on airfield pavements within the US. The research agency will provide an outline of anticipated activities/tasks in Phase III of the proposal. Identification of the location and timeframe of potential construction projects will be discussed at the review meeting identified in Task 8. It is anticipated that the technical assistance will be required on these projects within 12-18 months after completion of the final report. If this optional phase is exercised by the AAPTP program, additional funds and subcontract agreements will be negotiated.

Phase III will consist of Task 10 and 11:

Task 10 -- Provide technical assistance (mix design and construction operations) for SMA on two (2) selected airfield SMA projects.

Task 11 -- Provide a report that documents the SMA mix designs, construction quality assurance/control and related events associated with SMA on the projects where technical assistance was provided.

Reporting Requirements

All reports will be submitted in both hard copy and electronic copy format. All written documentation will be prepared using Microsoft Word. All reports will be the property of the Federal Aviation Administration and will be supplied in a format that complies with the agency's Section 508 requirements for electronic documents. A policy statement for Section 508 can be found at, and the Section 508 website, a summary and list of standards, can be found at http://www.section5 0

Progress Reports

Quarterly progress reports (two hard copies and an electronic copy in Microsoft Word format) are required from the research agency and are to be prepared on the basis of calendar quarters. The research agency will mail the progress report directly to the AAPTP and will e-mail a copy to each of the technical review panel members. Each report will include a cover letter and the following:

  1. a clear and complete description of the work performed on each task during that quarter;
  2. an outline of the work to be accomplished during the next quarter;
  3. a description of any problem(s) encountered or anticipated that might affect the completion of the project within the time and fiscal constraints recommended;
  4. provide potential solutions to problems identified in (c) if any exist.

Final Report Format

The research agency will submit a final report that incorporates the reviewers' comments and reflects editing by a competent technical editor. The formats for the Interim and Final reports are provided under "Forms."

Contractual Information

Funds Available: $300,000

Contract Time: Phase I and II (combined) shall be completed in 24 months which includes 1 month for AAPTP review of the draft report and 3 months for final report preparation. Optional Phase III contract time to be determined but it is anticipated that Phase III will be completed 3 months after completion of technical assistance for the second trial project.

Accreditation: Any laboratory performing work on this study should be fully accredited by the AASHTO Materials Reference Laboratory or similar accreditation organization to do asphalt mix design testing and aggregate testing. Laboratories not fully accredited must provide information as to procedures or processes used to meet quality standard equivalent to accreditation.

Staff Responsibility: Monte Symons, 334-844-4964,

Proposals Due: December 2, 2005

Submit Proposals To: AAPTP, 277 Technology Parkway, Auburn, AL, 36830

Authorization to Begin Work: January 1, 2006 -- estimated

Maintained by Linda Kerr