Parametric analysis of runway stone lofting mechanisms

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The influence of various factors affecting the severity of runway debris lofting mechanisms was investigated by performing numerical simulations and drop-weight impact experiments to assess the likelihood of a stone impact. Geometrical characterisation of stones collected from airfields led to a generic model of a tyre rolling over stones of various shape with different overlaps, orientations, and densities. In numerical simulations of a 0.4 m diameter aircraft tyre rolling at 70 m/s, a 10 mm diameter spherical stone was lofted at a maximum vertical speed of 35 m/s. For equivalent mass prolate spheroid stones, the loft speeds were 11-34% lower depending on the stone orientation. Objects with flat surfaces exhibited different lofting mechanisms and lower angular velocities. The conditions most conducive to stone lofting were very stiff, small diameter, sharp cornered tyres rolling on ground with a high friction coefficient over spherical stones such that just under half the stone diameter was covered by the tyre. The stone loft speed was approximately proportional to the square root of the tyre tread stiffness. Finally, tyre tread grooves could throw stones upwards at the tyre-ground separation speed, which was 17 m/s for the conditions mentioned earlier. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.




Nguyen, S. N., Greenhalgh, E. S., Olsson, R., Iannucci, L., & Curtis, P. T. (2010). Parametric analysis of runway stone lofting mechanisms. International Journal of Impact Engineering, 37(5), 502–514.

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