Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Committee Member

Moses Karakouzian

Second Committee Member

Mohamed Kaseko

Third Committee Member

Douglas Rigby

Fourth Committee Member

Ashok Singh

Number of Pages



Through the review of Pavement Condition Index (PCI) surveys completed at Air Force installations scattered across the continental United States, pavement engineers at the Air Force Civil Engineer Center propose that the predominant factor contributing to pavement distress development is climate. They suggest that within each pavement distress type (i.e. alligator cracking, rutting, spalling, etc.) a geographic pattern exists that is strongly correlated to the conventional climate zones within the US. Knowledge of these geographic patterns would equip pavement engineers and asset managers with a powerful tool to develop purposeful maintenance strategies specific to each distress type.

The following approach was used to evaluate the hypothesis that climate is the predominant pavement distress contributor. First the AF Roll-up Database, housing over 50,000 lines of pavement distress data, was distilled using an original process designed to combine like distresses while accounting for age and size of the pavement upon which the distress occurs. The process effectively reduced the 50,000 lines of distress data to a format that could be used to perform krig analysis. Krig analysis was performed upon the distilled pavement distress data to develop a pavement behavior model for asphalt cement (AC) and portland cement concrete (PCC) runways. Regression analysis and further krig analysis were conducted for each distress type within the presented pavement models to identify if the distress behavior varies between the zones of the models. The combined regression and krig analysis provided insight into the overall pavement behavior for AC and PCC runways and illustrated which zone was more susceptible to specific pavement distresses.

The investigation showed that some distresses display a strong geographic pattern while others are more widespread. The model created in this research to assess the geographic patterns embedded within the distress data and the krig analysis used to uncover these patterns are both based on a derivation of the PCI deduct value, which contains within it all five pavement deterioration factors (climate, maintenance strategy, traffic load, construction history and pavement structure). This research shows that there is a relationship between pavement distress and climate; however, an investigation of patterns within the other four pavement deterioration factors must be conducted before the conclusion can be made that it is the predominant factor. The data consolidation process and pavement behavior models presented here provide a framework to conduct the additional analysis.


Airfield; Airports; Climate; Distress; Pavement; Pavements – Maintenance and repair; Propagation; Runways (Aeronautics); United States. Air Force


Civil Engineering | Geotechnical Engineering

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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