Modeling hydroplaning and effects of pavement microtexture

G. P. Ong, T. F. Fwa, J. Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Hydroplaning on wet pavement occurs when a vehicle reaches a critical speed and causes a loss of contact between its tires and the pavement surface. This paper presents the development of a three-dimensional finite volume model that simulates the hydroplaning phenomenon. The theoretical considerations of the flow simulation model are described. The simulation results are in good agreement with the experimental results in the literature and with those obtained by the well-known hydroplaning equation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The tire pressure-hydroplaning speed relationship predicted by the model is found to match well the one obtained with the NASA hydroplaning equation. Analyses of the results of the present study indicate that pavement microtexture in the 0.2- to 0.5-mm range can delay hydroplaning (i.e., raise the speed at which hydroplaning occurs). The paper also shows that the NASA hydroplaning equation provides a conservative estimate of the hydroplaning speed. The analyses in the present study indicate that when the microtexture of the pavement is considered, the hydroplaning speed predicted by the proposed model deviates from the speed predicted by the smooth surface relationship represented by the NASA hydroplaning equation. The discrepancies in hydroplaning speed are about 1% for a 0.1 -mm microtexture depth and 22% for a 0.5-mm microtexture depth. The validity of the proposed model was verified by a check of the computed friction coefficient against the experimental results reported in the literature for pavement surfaces with known microtexture depths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-176
Number of pages11
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1905
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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