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High modulus bitumens to extend the durability of the surface applied in the repair of runways at the Madrid Adolfo Suárez-Barajas Airport

Between September and November 2015, repair work was performed on various runways of the Madrid Adolfo Suárez-Barajas Airport, specifically those identified as A18, A19, A20, M18, M19 and M20, corresponding to surface rehabilitation actions and in which Repsol has participated as supplier of the different binders used.
 
The repair work project, awarded to the company Vías y Construcciones and executed by Eiffage Infraestructuras, consisted of the removal and replacement of the surface on different layers of bituminous mixture for a thickness of 15.7 in (40 cm), with a total action surface of 92,500 ft2 (8,600 m2).
 
Given the unique nature of airport infrastructure in terms of the difficulty of performing construction work due to the air traffic activity, the structure of the surface of the bituminous packet in its design was designed to include the application of mixtures capable of providing two required aspects: durability and safety.
 
Achieving greater durability will make it possible to prolong the efficiency of rehabilitation, limiting the interventions to maintenance operations of the wearing course. Therefore, in order to achieve this characteristic we must opt for the application of high-modulus mixtures using bitumens with a low penetration value to promote the mixture and enhance the capacity to achieve high-modulus rigidity. Repsol's technology has made it possible to design low-penetration bitumens, both conventional and modified by polymers and, above all, in this last year, also providing a certain degree of flexibility and improving its traction and fatigue behavior and properties.
Regarding safety, in terms of the capacity to improve sliding resistance, bituminous mixtures are required that provide texture to the surface through a discontinuous granulometric composition. To this end, in this project Repsol opted for the use of SMA-type mixtures, which not only provide the necessary granular discontinuity, but also ensure good contact of the mineral skeleton between the coarse aggregates, which is completed by the use of bitumens modified by polymers and fibers, which allows a high binder content and also contributes to the durability of the mixture.    
 
In order to achieve good adherence between layers in the different mixtures, coats of thermo-adhesive emulsion manufactured from low-penetration bitumens and reduced breakage times were applied. 
 
The actions were executed both during the day and at night, fulfilling the requirements of the airport entity and adopting the necessary safety measures to protect the employees.