Request for Proposal (RFP)
Active March 14, 2008
Requests Closed

IPRF Project 01-G-002-06-2

Airfield Pavement Concrete Mix Proportioning
Incorporating Flyash as Cementitious Material


Requests Closed


Proportioning procedures for concrete mixes are readily available in published formats.  Those procedures however are not specific to “flatwork.” Both the American Concrete Institute (ACI) and the Portland Cement Association (PCA) mix proportioning procedures incorporate “footnotes” applicable when concretes are intended to be used as pavement.  In addition, there are no protocols that give direction to a laboratory about “how much is required” when supplementary flyash materials are introduced for the specific intent of developing mix proportions intended for specific applications. Most groups that accomplish mix proportioning studies substitute flyash based upon specified percentages and / or local practices.  The correct, or optimum substitution amount, may actually be material and means of use dependent.  There are no guidelines as to how to evaluate a concrete mix for determining the correct amount of flyash that should be used for airfield concrete pavement.

This research will incorporate a literature review and an evaluation of procedures currently used to develop concrete mix proportions when flyash is utilized.  A standard laboratory technique needs to be developed for determining optimum portions of flyash when used for airfield pavement concrete.  The technique that is developed will be based upon “Best Practices.”  

A “Best Practices” document provides a summary of how it is done and how it can be improved.  “Best Practices” is not how to do it; but, it is a summary of practices, based upon empirical experience, that result in satisfactory applications of the tenants.  A “Best Practices” document clearly explains the pitfalls that can be experienced when accomplishing concrete mix proportioning that will be used for airfield pavement construction.


  • Develop a concrete proportioning procedure and document the steps of that procedure with criteria relevant to regional issues, the positives and negatives of certain decisions related to material choices and, how threshold values for mix specific elements are determined.  The procedure provides the user directions as to how to get from beginning to end.  At each step, the user is provided with checks and balances that measure progress against the desired product.  The procedure should allow the user to accomplish reasonable balance between concrete durability, workability, finish, cost and strength.
  • The specific project objective - develop a “User Guide” that will:
    • Define the protocol that should be used to establish the beneficial use quantity of flyash used as a replacement for cement.  The protocol should encourage using local materials that are suitable for the application.
    • Establish those critical elements germane to optimizing a concrete mix that incorporates flyash including workability, durability, finish, cost and strength.
    • Define the “threshold” quantity for the replacement of cement when using flyash.
    • Be a single source document that provides information to the user about the myths and benefits of using flyash, construction difficulties that using flyash can create and what to do when problems do occur.  The documentary should include information that will help the user understand and apply the tenants of using flyash.

Other products incorporated into the User Guide should be case studies that look at good approaches to incorporating flyash in concrete flatwork and those that resulted in “unexpected” problems.  The case studies are not to be marketing approaches that profess the benefits.  The case studies will clearly identify what the user needs to understand about using flyash in concrete.  The case studies should clearly demonstrate what should and what should not be incorporated into a specification for airfield pavement concrete.


The research team will accomplish sufficient investigation to be able to provide documented answers to those questions normally posed by users considering the use of flyash as a substitute or as supplementary material.  Some of the questions that should be answered include:

  • Why incorporate flyash?  The answer will not be a marketing response.  There should be a clear explanation in the User Guide that describes what “are we trying to accomplish.”  This should be tempered with the reasons for using flyash as a substitute or supplementary material.
  • What are the protocols used and the interpretations of the outcome that will be used to measure progress or success in attaining the goal(s) established for a specific concrete and the reason for using flyash?
  • How much flyash is required?  There should be simple statements as to what quantity is not enough and how you determine what is excess.  Are there generic thresholds of use of flyash as substitution for cement or as supplementary material?
  • Are there options for incorporating flyash in a concrete mix?  Can other materials or chemicals be used to attain the same goal(s)?
  • What history, and how much, is to be evaluated when trying to determine the suitability of use in the absence of laboratory results or other qualitative parameter?
  • When developing a specification for using flyash as a supplementary material, what measurable goals can be written?  How do I determine if the goals I am trying to achieve by using flyash are attainable?  Can the individual writing the specification quantify what the significant variables in chemistry and / or mineralogy that will have probable success in attaining the goal?
  • What are the typical differences in characteristics of flyash from different regions of the domestic market and / or from the different coals used in the plants that generate flyash for commercial utilization?


Other things that should be documented are:

  • A summary as to the State of the Art on measurement of durability as it relates to concrete flatwork exposed to deleterious conditions which are the result of the ambient environment.  The exposures should include ASR, anti-icing agents, and freeze-thaw.
  • What testing can be used, and under what boundary conditions, to pre-qualify materials based upon the State of the Art for durability.  Is there research being accomplished that may offer better approaches to a determination as to what might be defined as durability.
  • Can an ASTM C-33 approach be used for the acquisition of flyash?  If so what would it incorporate?  If not, why not?


Provide a “User Guide” that provides guidance to an end user.  The guide must be applicable to the industry.  A document specific to the FAA is required.

The report will be written for use by an airport owner, engineer, specification writer, contractor, and contract inspector. The document should be written, and supplemented with supporting documents, that would allow use as an education / training guide and as a criteria document that will assist the airport industry in the application of using the guide for airfield pavement construction.   

The investigator will provide the original publication(s), in two copies, in a camera ready format including artwork, graphics and photos.  In addition, all documents and supplementary items will be submitted in an electronic format compatible with off-the-shelf desktop computer publication software.  The investigator will not be responsible for the reproduction and printing of the final document(s) but will assist with minor editing requirements generated by the printing and reproduction.

The investigator will develop sub-tasks that when completed will result in completion of the project within the time and budget allowed.  It is not necessary that the proposal reflect the exact budget or the planned time.  However, any deviation from the designated resources must be justified and clearly explained in the proposal. 

The following are the minimum tasks considered necessary to successfully accomplish the project.

Task 1 – Literature Review.  Examine existing literature to determine what documents are applicable to this project.  Determine “where are the holes” in the information available that is to be used to guide the research for this project.  Produce a document that provides a summary of the literature review findings.  Identify potential case studies [minimum of three] that have been accomplished by private industry that fall within the intent of the research.

Task 2 – Document a Research Plan, Identify Laboratory Studies and Develop an Outline of the “User Guide.”  Develop an outline of the “User Guide” and specifically include in that outline those items that the research team defines as “critical issues.”  Develop a plan for doing research intended to fill the “holes” in available information. Define where information will come from and how “lessons learned” can be garnered.  Generate a laboratory investigation program that is intended to help in answering questions or documenting issues.  The laboratory investigation should confirm answers and is not to be used to “research” new theory.

Task 3 – On-Board Review.  Present the information from Task 1 and 2 to the IPRF Technical Panel.  Discussion should be specific about the proposed Case studies and the intended purpose of each.  The Technical panel will provide comments on the intent established by the issues presented.  The research team will incorporate comments of the Technical Panel in the future work, identify where change in scope requirements exist, and be responsible for the documentation of comments received.  The meeting should conclude with a definitive agreement as to what and what not to include in the “User Guide.”  The research team will not proceed to Task 4 without written approval of the IPRF.

An on-board review must be scheduled at least 30 days prior to the actual meeting.  Documents that are prepared for technical panel review must be provided at least 30 days prior to the meeting.  The location of the meeting will be coordinated with the IPRF.  The investigator is responsible for preparing the minutes of the meeting and the documenting disposition of the comments of IPRF Technical Panel members.

Task 4 – Implement the Approved Research Plan.  Validate the assumptions made during development of the outline.  Schedule visits to appropriate locations for those projects selected to be included in the report as a case study.  Perform laboratory studies identified in the research plan.  Document references intended to be included in the “User Guide.”

Task 5 – First Draft Report and Supplemental Materials.  The products of the research should be developed into a draft report and supplemental documents. The draft report will evolve as Task 4 is in progress.  Formulate plausible answers to questions, draft outlines of initial concepts or conclusions of the findings.  The research team is expected to define issues that need to be fully discussed and make recommendations on policy decisions prior to the completion of Task 4.  The intent is to allow for the Technical Panel to correct the course of the research before the resources are fully expended.  Additional research or information gathering should be required as a result of an on board review meeting.  The intent of the review meeting is to assure that the research team is on track with the initial guidance and that assumptions made are being confirmed.

An on-board review must be scheduled at least 30 days prior to the actual meeting.  Documents that are prepared for technical panel review must be provided at least 30 days prior to the meeting.  The location of the meeting will be coordinated with the IPRF.  The investigator is responsible for documenting the comments of IPRF Technical Panel members and the disposition of each comment.

Task 6 – Draft Final Report.  Make corrections to the products as required by the in progress review and submit the Draft final report to the IPRF.    Include in the report all artwork, graphical presentations, format, etc.  The document shall be in a form that for all intent is complete with the exception of final comments made by the technical panel.  

The review of the final draft report and supporting items will be a desk top review accomplished by the IPRF Technical Panel.  The panel may determine that an on-board review is required because of content of the final draft.  Written comments by the Technical Panel will be provided to the research team within 30 days of receipt of the Draft Final Report.  The investigator is responsible for documenting the comments of IPRF Technical Panel members and the disposition of each comment.

Task 7 – Final Report.  Make corrections to the final draft document and submit the final documents.  Assist the IPRF with editorial changes, minor format corrections or other editing necessary for publication of the final report.

Products Summary:

  1. The final product will be an IPRF Report that documents the research and presents the findings.  The report will be submitted as two original documents and one copy in electronic media compatible with conventional desktop publishing systems. 
  2. The summary report of the literature search, the proposed case study list and the research plan.  Submit 8 copies.  The investigator will host an on-board meeting.  Location will be determined in coordination with the IPRF. 
  3. Submit a first draft report (8 copies) for review. The review will be accomplished as an on-board meeting at a location to be determined.  The investigator will host the meeting.  Location will be determined in coordination with the IPRF.
  4. Submit the Advanced Final draft (8 copies) for review.  Comments will be returned to the research team, or the research team will be prepared to have an on-board review with the Technical Panel.

Other Considerations and specific requirements.

  1. The investigator is responsible for the preparation of quarterly reports that describe the progress of the research effort.  Reports are due in the offices of the IPRF on the last day of the fiscal year quarter.  The reports will be limited to two pages in a format specified by the IPRF.  The first page will be a word document describing the progress of the work.  The second page will provide a summary of the estimated resource expenditures versus the costs incurred to date.
  2. There will be a minimum of 3 case studies.  At least one of the case studies selected for publication should reflect the lessons learned and experiences of people involved in a project where things did not work as expected or numerous problems resulted in an unpleasant experience for at least one of the stakeholders.  All case studies will be based upon actual projects but the report will be silent as to the people or entities involved.  It is not the responsibility of the research team to determine what was good or bad with respect to a specific project.  Facts are to be collected and the findings reported without attribution.


After the technical panel completes the evaluation of proposals, each of the proposals will be rank ordered.  The organization, group, or individual that is ranked as the first and second choice for the recommendation to award may be asked to participate in a telephone interview.  The Principal Investigator, and one other person, representing the entity ranked first and second choice, will be asked to discuss the project details, goals, and objectives as a part of the interview.  The interview will occur within a 45-day window subsequent to the proposal submittal deadline. 


Persons preparing proposals are urged to review the following documents to be sure that there is a full understanding of IPRF procedures and requirements.  Proposals must be prepared in the format specified in the instruction documents.  The proposal will be submitted as one (1) original and 8 copies.
The documents required as an aide to the preparation of the proposal include:

PDF files require Acrobat Reader to view.



PROJECT DIRECTOR: Mr. Jim Lafrenz, P.E. (


PROPOSAL DUE DATE: May 9, 2008 not later than 4:00 P.M. (CST)


Proposals will be delivered to:
Innovative Pavement Research Foundation
Cooperative Programs Office, Attn:  Jim Lafrenz
201 Shawnee Street
Hiawatha, KS 66434
(785) 742-6900
Fax: (785) 742-6908

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