Concrete Materials Investigation at LAX

Premature Deterioration of Concrete

RJ Lee Group was retained to investigate the root cause of premature deterioration of a concrete runway pavement at one of the world’s busiest airports - LAX. Designed to last for 40 years, the runway surface was experiencing multiple forms of distress after less than six years of service, including popouts, spalls, and cracking. Popouts and spalls create an increased risk of foreign object debris (FOD) damage to aircraft engines, and thus are substantially greater safety concern than for non-airfield pavements. 

RJLG concrete materials experts led an investigative team that included airfield pavement engineers and mechanical modeling experts.  We performed on-site pavement condition assessments, developed a coring and testing plan, and performed an extensive materials evaluation of over 200 concrete cores for petrographic, chemical, and physical testing. Our investigation also included a review of thousands of pages of design and construction records.  A combination of sophisticated modeling and state-of-the-art forensics was used to determine the root cause of failure, provide critical information for subsequent repair design, and improve processes for future paving projects.


A Few Images from the Project


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RJ Lee Group's concrete materials experts and our accredited, industry-leading laboratory can consult with you to determine the root cause for a broad range of concrete construction defects and durability-related distresses. Our knowledge of how concrete materials fail can help you avoid similar issues in new construction through improvements in specifications, mixture designs, and construction methods. We can provide training to aggregate and concrete producers to help navigate best practices to mitigate the risk of aggregate reactions, including alkali-silica reaction (ASR) and oxidation of pyrrhotite and other iron sulfides.

Our concrete materials experts thrive on challenging projects and are backed by the resources of the full RJ Lee Group team of expert chemists, mineralogists, materials scientists, and metallurgists.


The Top 10 Things to Tell Your Petrographer

If you want solid answers to your concrete questions, a petrographer can help. Petrographers use a combination of visual inspection, microscopy, and chemical techniques to examine concrete cores. These analyses provide a basis for understanding the condition of the material, why it failed, or the material’s remaining service life. If you are submitting concrete cores.....


Alkali-Silica Reaction - What is it?

Alkali-silica reaction (ASR) is a common cause of premature concrete deterioration, resulting in expansion and cracking of concrete elements. ASR is a chemical reaction between alkali hydroxides in the pore solution of concrete and certain siliceous (silica-bearing) rocks and minerals present in some concrete aggregates. The result is the formation of .......