Research on Pavements in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)

For the last three years our group, which includes Professor Mingjiang Tao, Karen O'Sullivan and Peter Cacciatore of WPI, Bob Frank of RAP Technologies, LLC, Michael Hulen of Novotech, Inc. and Professor Sankha Bhowmick of UMASS, Dartmouth, has been working on two projects:

1. Understanding recycling to develop procedures for high percentage Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) Recycling

2. Capturing solar energy from asphalt pavements, reducing asphalt pavement temperature and and reducing the urban heat island effect of pavements.

High Percentage RAP Recycling

Please see our latest report here. We are working on understanding the effect of rejuvenators on RAP, and develop a system to recyle HMA with high percentage of RAP.

Click here for the animation on diffusion (example).

Capturing Heat Energy and Reducing Temperature of Pavements

Our basic principle is that by flowing an appropriate fluid that is cooler than the asphalt mix, we can reduce the temperature of the asphalt pavement surface, while using the heated fluid for different end applications such as heating, power generation or refrigeration. The reduced temperature of the pavement surface will lead to reduced heat emitted from the pavement, and hence a reduction of the near surface air temperature. This, in turn, can lead to savings in energy consumption of nearby buildings, and improve air quality.


The design and implementation of this system would require a detailed understanding of the heat transfer characteristics of the asphalt pavement-fluid system and how the different parameters affect the surface temperature of the system. And we are working on these topics.

Our studies have been funded by National Science Foundation (NSF) as well as Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

Please feel free to check out the two papers, and a few pictures and videos from our research.

We would appreciate your comments and advise on this research. We are seeking funding to continue our research, and any help will be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!


Rajib Mallick


Paper 1, Paper 2,


Finite Element Model of Small Sample: Finite Element Model of Slab:Laboratory Experiment: Field Experiment:


Finite Element Simulation of Small Sample:


Difference in radiated heat from asphalt pavement

Conventional pavement (without flowing water) Pavement with flowing water


Check out Professor Mallick and El-Korchi's new book on pavement engineering: Pavement Engineering: Principles and Practice


Last Modified: 10.12.09: RBM