HomeNewsArticle Display

AFCEC awarded patent for new runway repair technology

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s Readiness Directorate research team fills craters using K-Concrete.

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s Readiness Directorate research team fills craters using K-Concrete, Oct. 6, 2020 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. The innovative runway repair solution was developed by members of AFCEC’s Laboratory at Tyndall AFB. The solution allows rapid airfield damage repair teams to quickly repair runways using materials that can be gathered locally, such as sand and clay. (U.S. Air Force photo by Andrea Kennington)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) --

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently granted the Air Force a patent for an innovative runway repair solution developed at the Air Force Civil Engineer Center

 

The formula, developed by members of AFCEC’s laboratory at Tyndall Air Force Base, will allow Rapid Airfield Damage Repair, or RADR, teams to quickly repair runways using materials that can be gathered locally, such as sand and clay.

 

Additionally, the Air Force expects significant cost savings, said Craig Mellerski, AFCEC Requirements and Acquisition Division chief. Using locally-sourced materials for three quarters of the mixture will save the Air Force approximately $1,140 per cubic yard.

 

The road to inventing cementitious material began in 2015, Mellerski said.

 

“The Air Force needed an alternate backfill solution that can be used in remote areas to patch damaged runways allowing critical mission operations to resume quickly,” Mellerski said. 

 

The AFCEC research team set out to create an adjustable, rapid-setting concrete solution, clocking in four K-Fill field evaluations and three K-Concrete field evaluations, and testing different combinations of sand, soil, clay and gravel mixed in with fly ash and an activator solution. 

 

Eventually, they landed on a formulation they dubbed “K-Fill.” Contrary to popular belief, the K does not stand for Kara Griffith, the last remaining member of the original research team.

 

“Potassium Silicate Powder is the preferred ingredient in the activator solution,” Griffith said. “’K’ is the chemical symbol for Potassium — but I’m flattered that people think it’s named after me.”

 

While K-Fill won’t be in the field for operational use for about two more years, securing the patent is a major step toward equipping RADR teams with this mission-critical tool.

 

“Whether it’s damage from an attack or natural disaster, an out-of-commission airfield in a remote location presents a huge risk to mission and Airmen,” said Maj. Khary Davis, AFCEC Expeditionary Engineering Division chief. “You can’t get supplies if you have a blocked transportation path. Providing an option to increase the use of in-situ materials allows additional options to civil engineers and can help reduce the time to reopen airfields and logistic chains.”

 

With supplies at the ready, RADR teams can fill and set concrete in just over an hour, bringing airfields back online quickly and at a cost savings to taxpayers.

 

Five years after starting this journey with now-retired lab members, Dr. Derek Lovingood, Michael Henley and Jeffery Eichler, Griffith is grateful she was able to take the project over the finish line for her team.

 

“It means a lot to me that I was able to finish this work, and that I was able to complete the goals we had originally set out to complete when all of us were here,” Griffith said. “I’m glad I didn’t fail my team.”

 

Engage

Twitter
Less downtime means the mission moves forward faster. Airmen assigned to the 60th Logistics Readiness Squadron fro… https://t.co/Yark70RZAY
Twitter
Yes, even robodog is a very good boy. 🐕 🤖 @TeamTyndall is one of the first military bases to implement “computeri… https://t.co/H1OSccLwjg
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Focus on the things that matter & the things you can control. Anything else is a distraction at best. Have a fantasti…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: COVID-19 precautions have made in-person engagements with #Airmen challenging. However, I’m grateful for the virtual oppo…
Twitter
Preparing for tomorrow's fight, today. #InnovativeAF #ReadyAF https://t.co/sKXDUgZelP
Twitter
Pit stop⛽️ The E-3 Sentry, which is an airborne warning and control system aircraft with an integrated command and… https://t.co/Qw1bifEZf4
Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: DOD military medical professionals at @BWI_Airport & @SeaTacAirport began giving rapid #COVID19 tests to service members…
Twitter
Water survival tactics 🚤 Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialists assigned to the 375th Operations Su… https://t.co/Eu2L4SEyYD
Twitter
The 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron recently won squadron innovation funds for the purchase and use of… https://t.co/R49nXOK8Jf
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: What can I say? I like to go fast. @NASAKennedy https://t.co/oduSjtG9jc
Twitter
Staying connected is more important than ever, especially those with #invisiblewounds. Take care of yourself,… https://t.co/u0fCkNniJ1
Twitter
🇺🇸 Strengthening partnerships 🇨🇦 Members of @CONG1860 & @NORADCommand demonstrated US-Canadian readiness during O… https://t.co/UqWTd5IlTD
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Charlie was a highlight at my visit to Whiteman... Met him at the Welcome Center where he provides lots of love to our…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: No take backs, Amn Wimberly! I had a great visit with Team Whiteman that really showed me how important the AFGSC Str…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” -- General Ge…
Twitter
Modernizing readiness “We cannot afford to slow our momentum on ABMS. Our warfighters and combatant commands must… https://t.co/MDStynkZTj
Twitter
“Back then, we didn’t have drones—you had to shoot your enemy down your damn self.” - World War II Ace Clarence “Bu… https://t.co/GY75MaAzqV
Twitter
One team, one fight ⚔️ Airmen trained w/@USNavy Sailors and @USMC Marines a joint interoperability exercise to te… https://t.co/y25zVRt9jq
Twitter
A desire to serve For many, becoming a pilot in the #USAF is a dream that can be achieved through the traditional… https://t.co/dcpuorNHN2
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,309,303
Follow Us