Low design temperatures of asphalt pavements in dry-freeze regions: Predicting by means of solar radiation, transient heat transfer, and finite element method

Chun Hsing Ho, Pedro Romero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


This paper proposes three mathematical models that use solar radiation theory, transient heat transfer theory, and the finite element method to compute daily solar radiation, determine a thermal-penetration depth as a boundary condition, and eventually estimate pavement temperatures. The objective of this paper is to predict low design temperatures of asphalt pavements in dry-freeze regions. These step-by-step numerical analysis efforts provide pavement engineers and researchers with a method for prediction of low design temperatures of asphalt pavements. Daily solar radiation is calculated as input for determination of the thermal-penetration depth in a semi-infinite asphalt pavement system. Through use of the determined thermal-penetration depth as the prescribed temperature in the process of finite element analysis, the pavement temperature profile, including surface temperatures, can be better calculated. The finite element analysis results are verified with the SHRP, Canadian SHRP, and Superpave® models and are validated with three sets of temperature data exported from the Long-Term Pavement Performance program in southern Utah. Comparison results present close agreement with the three predicted models and field temperatures with reasonable accuracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-71
Number of pages12
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number2127
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

Cite this