Learn to use F.E. Method for stress analysis of the runways

Create slab models of rigid pavement and understand the interaction with two famous airliners' landing gears
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Instructed by Enzo Bonvino Design / Design Tools
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  • Lectures 11
  • Contents Video: 2 hours
  • Skill Level Intermediate Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
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About This Course

Published 12/2014 English

Course Description

The focus of this course is to use a Finite Element Method software, to analyze runway's behavior under static load and face different issues related to airliners and runway pavements.

After the introductive Section 1, we'll face the Section 2, during which we'll focus on two famous civil airplanes, the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 777, and an important part of them, the landing gear. Important because landing gear is the contact between airplane and pavement.

We'll understand this interaction and the pavement answer to airplane loads.

The Section 3 will focus on: aerodrome pavements, in particular runways pavements; what ICAO states about them in relation to airplane compatibility; the differences between two classical stratigraphy, the rigid pavement and the flexible one; the variables that affect the runways design.

The key purpose of Sections numbers 2 and 3 is to give us a better perspective on the interaction airplane – runway, understanding the physical behavior both of the wheels and, above all, of the pavements, also through the footprints: what are they; how we calculate their shapes and dimensions.

And all this will lead us into Section 4, last section, which is really to cap off and pull together all the issues that we looked at: the Finite Element Method.

We will not discuss the theoretical aspects of the F.E. Method. Instead, we will conduct a practical analysis, step-by-step, towards the construction of simple models of pavements, in particular the rigid concrete pavements. I also prepared some exercises to test the use of the FEM and a set of questions for Sections 2,3,4.

You are probably wondering how much mathematics is used in this course? Only basic mathematics, regardless of whether you're a student or a technician, you can easily follow this course. And even if you're not in the airport sector, you can use this course to learn Finite Element Models and use it as an approach and method for applying the FEM to any other issue.

In conclusion, we will achieve the following goals:

  1. Distinguish the runway stratigraphy and its materials.
  2. Analyze the vertical loads induced by the airplane with reference to the landing gear configurations.
  3. Learn to use a Finite Element Method software for building and analysis of the pavement's mathematical model.

What are the requirements?

  • basic mathemathics and physics
  • download a F.E.M. software, also trial version or free version

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Recognize the landing gears of the airliners
  • Understand the way in which runway deforms under airliner static load
  • Distinguish the runway stratigraphy and materials
  • Use a Finite Element Method software for building and analysis of the mathematical model of the pavements

What is the target audience?

  • Airliners enthusiasts
  • Engineering students
  • Technicians

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Overview

This introductive lecture is a course's overview. I will show you some issues that will be addressed during the study of interaction aircraft's landing gear - airfield pavement and the results that we can achieve, both physical and graphics.

Section 2: Airliners

The Airbus A380 is the airliner that has changed the airport's perspective, as it is the world's largest civil jet. In this Lecture we analyze capacity, performance, dimensions.


The Boeing 777 is one of the best-selling airliner and the largest twin engine civil jet. In this Lecture we analyze capacity, performance, dimensions.


The landing gear is the most important element of an airplane, according to the goals of our course. Landing gear tridem unites both A380 and 777. Each gear produces quite different effects on pavement, depending on: the relative position to the slab and the load discharged on the pavement.

Quiz Section 2
5 questions
Section 3: Pavements

The Aerodrome Reference Code concern the ICAO establishing process whether an airplane is able to use an aerodrome. What about A380 and 777 airport compatibility? We'll answer to these questions in this Lecture.


Lecture 6 focus on runway pavements: typologies, requirements, materials, stratigraphy, behaviour under load, differences between Asphalt pavement and Portland Cement Concrete pavement.


Lecture 7 defines the variables that affect the rigid pavement design: traffic loads, subgrade bearing capacity, airport geographic position and weather conditions. Also the pavement calculation method is a variable: Finite Element Method is the choosed method in this course to represent the pavement through the Modulus of Elasticity, the Poisson's ratio, the subgrade reaction, the compressive and the flexural strenght.


The wheel footprint is the basis to build a Finite Element model. So in this Lecture 8, we'll focus on important functions of the wheel, tire pressure, tire typologies, calculation of the footprint's width and the shapes used in the Finite Element model.

Quiz Section 3
8 questions
Section 4: Finite Element Method software

Lecture 9 introduces the Finite Element Method, the numerical method for physical stress analysis. How a pavement answers to the airplane's load? Simply we have to model the pavement into some elements called "node", "plate" and "brick" that approximate the pavement behaviour.


Lecture 10 describes a detailed path to build a model using a software that will simulate a concrete slab under static loads of A380 and 777. We'll see the steps helping us to do that.


Lecture 11 addresses considerations about extraction and analysis of the solver results. So all about post-process phase, using the "contours", understanding the physical meaning of the results.

Quiz Section 4
6 questions

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Instructor Biography

Enzo Bonvino, Civil Engineer

Hi! I'm Enzo. I'm a Civil Engineer since 2003.

I'm passionate about sharing knowledge on airports, roads and transports sector in general. My professional activity relates to laboratory tests applied to road surfaces, airports, scientific research on the behavior of civil wide-body jet, such as the calculation of the Airbus A380 takeoff spaces.

I'm co-author of some aviation books, in Italian (La pista di volo, L'età dei Jet), and some publications in English. My professional activities also concern airport studies, starting, first in 2004 at the international level, the interaction between the airport paved structures (runway, taxyway, apron), and the landing gear of the A380 Superjumbo.

I worked on analysis of the conditions of compatibility and limitation of wind turbines in relation to the boundary surfacaces of the obstacles and airport operation zones.

Thanks to the PhD program, I focus my training in the field, proposing models of demand for passenger air transport, assessing whether the performance with the DEA method, and accessibility.

Computer skills: Office, CAD, GIS, FEM, HTML, FTP

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