Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Rajib B. Mallick, Advisor




"Asphalt pavements are made up of several layers of materials and different types of materials are being used as base courses in these pavements. The properties of these pavement layers are affected significantly by temperature, and all of the layers are made up of heterogeneous mixtures of a wide variety of materials whose thermal properties are not readily available. Therefore, laboratory experiments were carried out with samples of pavements with different base course materials to determine temperature profiles along the depth, and finite element analysis was used to backcalculate thermal properties of the materials in the different layers of the different samples. The concept of extracting heat energy from asphalt pavements was evaluated by finite element modelling and testing small and large scale asphalt pavement samples. Water flowing through copper tubes inserted within asphalt pavements samples were used as heat exchangers in the experiments. The rise in temperature of water as a result of flow through the asphalt pavement was used as the indicator of efficiency of heat capture. The results of small scale testing show that the use of aggregates with high conductivity can significantly enhance the efficiency of heat capture. The efficiency can also be improved by using a reflectivity reducing and absorptivity increasing top layer over the pavement. Tests carried out with large scale slabs show that a larger surface area results in a higher amount of heat capture, and that the depth of heat exchanger is critical Heat-Islands are formed as a result of construction that replaces vegetation with absorptive surfaces (asphalt pavement). One suggested method to reduce the emitted heat from asphalt pavement surfaces is to reduce the temperature of the surface by flowing a suitable fluid through the pavement. Laboratory experiments were carried out using hand-compacted hot mix asphalt samples with quartzite and metagranodiorite aggregates. Pipes with different surface area were used to flow water through the samples, and the processes were modeled using finite element method. The results clearly show the feasibility of the proposed method, and indicate the beneficial effects of higher thermal conductivity of aggregates and larger surface area of pipes. "


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Civil & Environmental Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





Temperature, Asphalt Pavement, Thermal Conductivity, Heat Transfer, Pavements, Asphalt, Thermal properties, Solar energy