The Importance of Removing Rubber from an Airport Runway

The rubber buildup on a runway can reduce the amount of friction on the surface, and it can result in the loss of braking and handling performance. This can lead to more accidents that are caused by overrunning the runway or lateral sliding. Hydroplaning can occur if the surface is wet. And while the rubber may not be visible on the surface, there may be microscopic traces that aren’t visible to the naked eye. This is why runway cleaning equipment is so important.

How Rubber Builds Up on a Runway

The aircraft’s tires aren’t spinning when it lands. And in the time that it takes for them to get going, they drag along the runway. The weight of the aircraft is also putting pressure on the tires, which can be seen by smoke that comes out from under them. This friction causes rubber to build up on the surface of the runway, which is why it needs to be removed on a regular basis.

How Rubber is Removed from a Runway

Rubber is removed from a runway by using a mixture of water, abrasives, and chemicals that are applied at a very high pressure. And there are other mechanical procedures that are followed as well. It involves the use of special runway cleaning equipment that’s meant to clear the substance from the surface. Rubber can be removed by either high pressure water or a special kind of chemical, or runway cleaning equipment can use an abrasive material that’s applied to the surface at a high speed. The rubber can also be milled from the surface at about 3-5 mm deep.

If high pressure water is used, it will flow at a pressure of 2,000-15,000 psi at up to 30 gallons a minute. But ultra-high-pressure washing can push water at up to 40,000 psi. Chemical washing will use proprietary cleaners that are brushed onto the surface and are rinsed off with low pressure water. There’s a period of time that it takes for the chemicals to react with the surface and break down the rubber, and the runway will be unusable for any kind of landing procedure (even in an emergency situation).

Quality Runway Cleaning Equipment from AeroSweep

If you want some quality runway cleaning equipment that you can use to keep them safe from incoming or outgoing aircraft, AeroSweep has some of the best equipment on the market. We pride ourselves in maintaining a high level of quality, and we have a reputation of providing quality service to our customers.

If you want to know more about what we have available, get in touch with us today!