Airport Pressure Washing

Airfield rubber removal, or runway rubber removal, is the use of high pressure waterabrasiveschemicals and/or other mechanical means to remove the rubber from tires that builds up on airport runways. In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) specifies friction levels for safe operation of planes and measures friction coefficients for the evaluation of appropriate friction levels. When a plane lands, the tires are not spinning. The time it takes for the tires to get up to speed is referred to as “spin up time” (Speidel, 2002). During this time the tires are effectively dragging on the runway as well as being put under pressure by the weight of the airplane. This can be seen in the slight puff of smoke that comes from a landing aircraft’s tires as they first touch the runway surface. The friction built up causes the rubber to polymerize and harden to the runway surface.The buildup of rubber affects the level of friction of the runway, most noticeably as a reduction in braking and ground handling performance. This can lead to incidents such as runway overrun or a lateral slide off the runway.