The Heavy Weight Deflectometer (HWD) is a reliable and efficient solution for pavement evaluation. This proven technology offers accurate, non-destructive assessment of a pavement’s structural capacity and integrity. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the capabilities of HWD, its benefits over traditional methods, and how our state-of-the-art HWD machine continues to enhance pavement evaluation across various applications, including highways and airport runways.

Understanding HWD Technology:

Heavy Weight Deflectometers operate on the principle of applying a high-intensity impulse load to the pavement surface and measuring the resulting deflections. This load simulates the effect of moving vehicles or aircraft on the pavement. The deflection data gathered by the HWD can be used to assess the pavement’s structural capacity, identify weaknesses, and determine the need for maintenance or rehabilitation.

Key Benefits of HWD Testing:

Non-destructive evaluation: HWD testing allows for the assessment of pavement layers without causing damage to the pavement structure, unlike traditional methods like coring or excavation.

Rapid data collection: HWD testing enables the evaluation of large pavement sections within a short period, reducing evaluation time and minimizing traffic disruptions.

Accurate assessment of pavement condition: HWD testing provides reliable and precise information on the structural capacity and load-bearing ability of the pavement, helping identify areas of weakness and potential failure.

Layer-specific evaluation: By analyzing deflection data from HWD testing, engineers can assess the performance of individual pavement layers, crucial for identifying the cause of distress and planning appropriate maintenance or rehabilitation strategies.

Cost-effective pavement management: HWD testing allows for early detection of pavement issues and helps optimize maintenance and rehabilitation schedules, leading to significant cost savings by reducing the need for more extensive and expensive repairs or reconstruction.

Versatility: HWD testing can be used on various pavement types, including asphalt, concrete, and composite pavements, and for different applications, such as highways, local roads, and airport pavements.

Improved pavement design: HWD testing data can be used to calibrate and validate pavement design models, resulting in more accurate and cost-effective pavement designs that better meet performance expectations.

Load transfer evaluation: HWD testing can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of load transfer at joints and cracks in rigid pavements, crucial for understanding the pavement’s overall performance and durability.

Void detection: HWD testing can be used to detect voids under concrete slabs and evaluate the need for slab stabilization.

Network-level assessment: HWD testing can be used as part of a comprehensive pavement management system to evaluate the structural capacity of an entire network of roads, facilitating more informed decision-making and resource allocation for pavement maintenance and rehabilitation.

New FAA Requirements:

Per FAA’s Advisory Circular 150/5335-5D, Airport Operators are required to report airport pavement strength following the new standardized ACR-PCR method for all paved runways, taxiways, and aprons by September 30, 2024. HWD testing is the only non-destructive method that can be used to calculate the Pavement Condition Rating (PCR) of runways, taxiways, and aprons. PCR is a numerical value that expresses the load-carrying capacity of a pavement for unrestricted operations, providing valuable insights into the performance of airport pavements.

With our HWD, QES can support customers with conducting the ACR-PCR analysis in compliance with FAA requirements.

Our HWD Machine: A Versatile Solution for Pavement Evaluation:

Our Dynatest 8082 Heavy Weight Deflectometer continues to deliver exceptional results in diverse pavement evaluation applications. This versatile HWD machine can apply loads ranging from 6,500 pounds for standard roadway applications to an impressive 77,000 pounds, ideal for evaluating the structural capacity of airport pavements designed to accommodate large aircraft, such as the Boeing 747/777 and the Airbus A380.

With our HWD machine and two additional Falling Weight Deflectometer (FWD) machines, QES has conducted pavement structural evaluations and PCR determination for multiple Commercial and General Aviation airports such as Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, NV, Oakland International Airport in Oakland, CA, Cleveland International Airport in Cleveland, OH, Salinas Municipal Airport in Salinas, CA, Siskiyou County Airport in Montague, CA, and Fresno International Airport, in Fresno, CA, among others.


The Heavy Weight Deflectometer is a valuable tool in pavement evaluation, offering a fast, accurate, and non-destructive solution for assessing pavement structural capacity. With our state-of-the-art Dynatest 8082 HWD machine, we’re committed to providing top-notch results for our clients, ensuring the long-term performance and safety of their pavement assets. To learn more about our HWD capabilities and how they can benefit your pavement evaluation needs, get in touch with our team of experts today.

Heavy Weight Deflectometer (HWD) - QES Pavements