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Energy and Buildings 102 (2015) 187–196

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Cooling asphalt pavement by a highly oriented heat conduction

Du Yinfei, Wang Shengyue ∗ , Zhang Jian
School of Transportation, Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, PR China

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: In this paper, a highly oriented heat conduction structure of asphalt pavement, with a combination of
Received 30 March 2015 low thermal conductivity layer and three-layered gradient heat conduction structure, was proposed to
Received in revised form 11 May 2015 reduce pavement temperature and decrease nighttime heat release into the atmosphere in summer.
Accepted 12 May 2015
The structure was formed by modifying contrast asphalt pavement by adding different dosages of low
Available online 21 May 2015
thermal conductivity powders to each layer. Also, it made full use of principles of thermal insulation
and gradient heat conduction, and extended the scope of thermal gradient in asphalt layers. The results
showed that, compared with contrast structure, the highest temperature of upper surface of bottom
Cool pavement
Gradient thermal conductivity
layer, which was used to represent the average temperature of middle and bottom layers, reduced by
High orientation 2.3 ◦ C (simulation result) and 2.4 ◦ C (test road result). The average temperatures of middle and bottom
Pavement temperature layers reduced by 1.6 ◦ C (at 2:30 pm) and 1.5 ◦ C (at 6:00 pm), respectively, which were validated by test
Heat budget road results. Calculations of simulation result displayed that the structure released less 12.1% of heat to
the atmosphere during nighttime than contrast structure. According to the results summarized above,
it is concluded that the structure has a continuous cooling capacity, and is expected to reduce high
temperature rutting of asphalt pavement and help to reduce high air temperature at night.
© 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction [11], thermochromic asphalt [21,22], phase-change material [23],

permeable pavement [24,25] and asphalt solar collector [26,27].
Asphalt pavement has a high absorption of solar radiation, often All these cooling technologies achieved ideal practical effects. For
leading to a high temperature on the surface of asphalt pavement example, solar reflective coating could reduce the surface tempera-
and triggering a series of distresses such as rutting [1,2]. High tem- ture by 12 ◦ C [10]. However, the technology based on the principle
perature on road surface is one of the important reasons for forming of light reflection usually brings new difficulties which are hard
urban heat island effect [3–5], which usually causes huge energy to overcome so far. These include driver’s dazzling caused by the
consumption in big cities in summer [6,7]. In addition, strong and strong reflected light [10]. In addition, because of the high rough-
continuous thermal radiation from road surface not only reduces ness of asphalt pavement, the heat reflection belongs to a typical
the comfort level of urban residents, also easily induces diseases diffuse. So most of the reflected heat will be re-absorbed by the
such as cardiovascular [8,9]. To mitigate this problem, paving cool objects on both sides of road, causing secondary heat pollution [28].
asphalt pavements [10,11] and controlling the heat conduction in For permeable pavement, its abundant pores are easy to be blocked
asphalt pavements [12] can be used. High temperature rutting, [29]; it is also prone to raveling, which requires an excellent vis-
which can be reduced by establishing a gradient thermal con- cosity of asphalt [30]. For methods such as paving energy collector
ductivity in asphalt layers [13,14], can result in hydroplaning and pavement, since the inner stress distribution of the pavement is
nonuniform tire-pavement contact stresses, further aggravating significantly changed [31], rutting is easier to happen and expand.
pavement distresses and driving safety [15]. Establishing a gradient heat conduction channel in asphalt pave-
In the past decades, many techniques have been applied to ment has proved to be an efficient strategy for cooling hot asphalt
cool asphalt pavement in summer, such as solar reflective coating pavements in summer [13,14,32]. In general, asphalt pavements
[16–18], retro reflective films [19,20], colored thin layer asphalt are composed of three asphalt layers. The structures in Refs. [13,14]
were only composed of two layers of gradient heat conduction in
middle and bottom layers, in addition to a low thermal conductiv-
∗ Corresponding author. Tel.: +86 025 83790551. ity layer in top layer. Though the structure in Ref. [32] was designed
E-mail address: (W. Shengyue). by establishing three layers of gradient heat conduction, in practice
0378-7788/© 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
188 D. Yinfei et al. / Energy and Buildings 102 (2015) 187–196

Fig. 1. Test specimens.

it was found that, due to a high setting of thermal conductivity of of limestone. The gradation of Superpave 13 mixture is shown in
top layer, too much solar radiant heat was permitted to enter pave- Table 1.
ment, which was not only easy to cause rutting but also inclined In this paper, the thermal properties of asphalt mixture were
to release more accumulated heat to the surrounding air in the changed by adding graphite or floating beads. As the dosage of pow-
night. Thus, the heat conduction structure with high thermal con- der can significantly affect the volume index and performances of
ductivity of top layer reported in Ref. [32] does not apply to those asphalt mixture [39], the maximum dosages of floating beads and
cities which prefer to have cool asphalt pavements at night, such graphite were both less than 15% of asphalt volume.
as London (United Kingdom), a typical city with nighttime urban
heat island effect. According to Refs. [33–36], the urban heat island
intensity of London at night is 5–8 ◦ C higher than that during the 2.2. Determination of thermal properties of asphalt mixture
day. Obviously, more heat release will exacerbate the thermal pol-
lution in these cities at night. To avoid too much solar radiation The thermal properties of the specimens prepared by asphalt
heat entering the pavement in the day and forming a release peak mixtures with different proportions of powders added (Fig. 1) were
in the night, we put forward a highly oriented heat conduction measured by using a thermal conductivity tester (DRM-II, made in
structure with a combination of low thermal conductivity layer and China). In the test, three specimens were classified as one group,
three-layered gradient heat conduction structure. Here the highly and the sizes of the specimens of each group were 20 × 20 × 6 cm,
oriented heat conduction structure was designed on the base of a 20 × 20 × 2 cm and 20 × 20 × 6 cm. Before the test, the instrument
three-layered contrast asphalt pavement. heated the specimens in order to achieve a transient temperature
distribution inside. Based on the principle of unsteady state, the
thermal properties of the specimens were achieved automatically,
2. Materials and methods as shown in Table 2.

2.1. Materials
2.3. Model establishment
The thermal properties of asphalt mixture are mainly influenced
by its void content [37]. So only a type of asphalt mixture, Super- A two-dimensional heat-transfer model of asphalt pavement
pave 13, was used to design heat conduction structures. The asphalt was established by using the finite element software ABAQUS.
mixture specimens were prepared with void content of 4.0% [38]. Model parameters, including boundary conditions and thickness
SBS modified asphalt was used and the asphalt content was 5.2%. of each layer of the pavement, are shown in Fig. 2. The upper
The coarse aggregate was basalt and the mineral filler was made boundary conditions of the pavement are shown in Table 3, in

Table 1
Aggregate gradation for Superpave 13 mixture.

Sieve sizes (mm) 16.0 13.2 9.5 4.75 2.36 1.18 0.6 0.3 0.15 0.075
Passing (% by weight) 100 93.1 68.1 42.4 28.7 22.3 13.7 9.3 8.7 6.3

Table 2
Test results of thermal properties of asphalt mixture.

Filler type Percentage by volume (%) Density (g/cm3 ) Thermal conductivity (W/m ◦ C) Heat capacity (J/(kg ◦ C))

0 1.0618 1485.49
5 0.7504 1507.30
Floating beads 2.45
10 0.6916 1526.54
15 0.6529 1541.73

0 1.0618 1485.49
5 1.1143 1322.07
Graphite 2.45
10 1.1802 1257.30
15 1.2207 1229.03
D. Yinfei et al. / Energy and Buildings 102 (2015) 187–196 189

Reflected solar Heat Effective Table 3

radiation convection radiation Parameters for temperature field calculation.
Incident solar
radiation Solar radiation absorptivity 0.9
Convection coefficient [W/(m2 ◦ C)] 20
Initial temperature [◦ C] 25
Top layer 4 cm
Maximum air temperature Tmax [◦ C] 35
Middle layer 6 cm Minimum air temperature Tmin [◦ C] 20
Bottom layer 8 cm

Thermally Base layer 40 cm Thermally Table 4

insulated insulated Thermal properties for model calculation.

Structure layer Density Thermal Heat capacity

Subbase layer 20 cm
(g/cm3 ) conductivity (J/kg ◦ C)
(W/m ◦ C)

Subgrade 5m Base layer 2.2 1.56 911.7

Subbase layer 2.1 1.43 942.9
Subgrade 1.8 1.56 1040.0

Thermally insulated
10 m where T1 = daily mean air temperature (◦ C), T1 = (Tmax + Tmin )/2;
T2 = daily air temperature amplitude (◦ C), T2 = (Tmax − Tmin )/2;
Fig. 2. Pavement structure diagrame used for heat transfer calculation. t0 = initial phase (h), t0 = 9 h; ω = angular frequency (rad),
ω = 2␲/24 rad.Besides the data in Table 2, the thermal properties
needed in the model calculation are listed in Table 4.
which the calculation equations of solar radiation (Eq. (1)) and air
temperature (Eq. (2)) are from the results reported in Ref. [40].
⎧ c
3. Design procedure of the gradient heat conduction

⎪ 0 0 ≤ t < 12 − structure

⎪ 2

c c The main purpose of the gradient heat conduction structure to
q(t) = q0 cos mw(t − 12) 12 − ≤ t ≤ 12 + (1)

⎪ 2 2 be designed here is to reduce pavement temperature and decrease

⎪ c
⎩0 12 + < t ≤ 24 the nighttime heat release from asphalt pavement to its surround-
2 ing air in summer. As rutting is highly related to high pavement
where q0 = maximum radiation in a day (J/m2 ), q0 = 0.131mQ, temperature [41,42], and usually occurs in middle and bottom lay-
m = 12/c; Q = total amount of solar radiation (J/m2 ), ers [43], the upper surface’s temperature of bottom layer was used
Q = 20.1 × 106 J/m2 ; c = effective number of hours of solar radiation to represent the temperatures of middle and bottom layers. And its
(h), c = 10 h; ω = angular frequency (rad), ω = 2␲/24 rad. maximum value (SMTB), combined with the total nighttime heat
release (TNHR), was applied to design the structure. The design
Ta = T1 + T2 [0.96 sin(ω(t − t0 )) + 0.14 sin(2ω(t − t0 ))] (2) procedure can be found in the flow chart (Fig. 3).

Proportion design
Measurement of thermal properties of asphalt mixture
of asphalt mixture

Establishment of heat transfer model

Determination of powder type in top layer

Total nighttime
heat release Determination of powder type and
Design dosage in middle layer

Upper surface's Determination of powder

maximum temperature dosage in top layer
of bottom layer

Determination of powder type and

dosage in bottom layer

Determination of the structure

Fig. 3. Flow chart of the structure design.

190 D. Yinfei et al. / Energy and Buildings 102 (2015) 187–196

Fig. 4. Comparison diagram of design indexes in Group one.

Fig. 5. Comparison diagram of design indexes in Group two.

3.1. Determination of the type of powder to be added in top layer Fig. 4 showed that number #2 had a minimum of night-
time heat release, indicating that the mixture with floating
In order to determine the powder type to be added in top layer beads was the most promising used to prevent heat release
and compare the designed structure with the gradient heat conduc- into the atmosphere. Besides this, number #2 also had the low-
tion structure reported in Ref. [32], four structures were designed est upper surface’s temperature of bottom layer. So, to reduce
and included in Group one, as shown in Table 5. In this table, num- the absorption of solar radiation, and avoid heat accumulating
ber #0 was the contrast structure (CS), and the powder-adding ratio and releasing again during nighttime, choosing floating beads
of number #3 was determined with that of the structure reported instead of graphite as the additive of top layer was the most
in Ref. [32]. reasonable.

Table 5 3.2. Determination of the powder dosage in middle layer

Heat conduction structures in Group one.

Structure Top layer Middle layer Bottom layer In order to expand the selection scope of the thermal con-
number ductivity of middle layer, 15% floating beads and 15% graphite
#0 0% 0% 0% were added in top and bottom layers respectively. Based on the
#1 0% +10% graphite +15% graphite thermal properties determined previously, five gradient heat con-
#2 +5% floating beads +10% graphite +15% graphite duction structures, named number #4–#8 as shown in Table 6,
#3 +5% graphite +10% graphite +15% graphite
were designed to study the impact of the thermal conductivity of
D. Yinfei et al. / Energy and Buildings 102 (2015) 187–196 191

Fig. 6. Comparison diagram of design indexes in Group three.

Fig. 7. Comparison diagram of design indexes for all structures.

middle layer on the heat transfer characteristic of all the designed effect of the thermal conductivity of middle layer on the TNHR was
structures. not obvious, but the thermal conductivity of top layer had a great
Fig. 5 showed that the TNHR and SMTB of number #4–#8 dis- influence on the TNHR. The SMTB increased with the increase of the
played smaller values than those of the CS. But the TNHR differences thermal conductivity of middle layer, and the trend of the increase
between them (#4–#8) were very small. This suggests that the of the SMTB declined gradually. The reason is that the increase of the
thermal conductivity of middle layer accelerated the heat conduc-
tion from top layer to bottom layer, resulting in a heat accumulation
Table 6 in middle layer and then a temperature increase in this layer. Based
Heat conduction structures in Group two. on the analyses of Fig. 5 and Table 6, the optimum dosage of floating
Structure Top layer Middle layer Bottom layer
beads in middle layer was set to be 10%.

#0 0% 0% 0%
3.3. Determination of the powder dosage in top layer
#4 +15% floating beads +10% floating beads +15% graphite
#5 +15% floating beads +5% floating beads +15% graphite
#6 +15% floating beads 0% +15% graphite Since the floating beads content in middle layer has been set to
#7 +15% floating beads +5% graphite +15% graphite be 10%, in order to form a gradient heat conduction structure, the
#8 +15% floating beads +10% graphite +15% graphite content of floating beads in top layer were set to be 15%.
192 D. Yinfei et al. / Energy and Buildings 102 (2015) 187–196

Fig. 8. Calculated temperature results at depth of (a) 4 cm, (b) 10 cm and (c) 18 cm.

Fig. 9. Comparison diagram of heat budget.

D. Yinfei et al. / Energy and Buildings 102 (2015) 187–196 193

Fig. 10. Pavement temperature measurement: (a) temperature probe arrangement; (b) automatic temperature recording instrument: (1) temperature recorder; (2) OHCS;
(3) CS; (4) time.

3.4. Determination of the powder dosage in bottom layer minimum values. So, no matter from cost saving or heat conduction
effect, it should be the ideal structure in Group three.
After setting the powder dosages in top and middle layers,
another four heat conduction structures was designed as shown 3.5. Determination of the heat conduction structure
in Table 7.
From Fig. 6, the curves of the SMTB and TNHR had similar To facilitate comparisons, the TNHR and SMTB of all the designed
trends. It can be concluded that, due to the small effect of the ther- structures are shown in Fig. 7.
mal conductivity of bottom layer on the solar absorption and heat According to Fig. 7, both curves showed different changing
conduction of pavement, the differences of the TNHR and SMTB trends, indicating that the two indexes were influenced by the syn-
between gradient heat conduction structures were very small. ergy of the thermal conductivities of three layers. And this also
In contrast, the TNHR and SMTB of number #10 both displayed suggests that it is necessary to design heat conduction structures to

Fig. 11. Field temperature results at depth of (a) 4 cm, (b) 10 cm and (c) 18 cm.
194 D. Yinfei et al. / Energy and Buildings 102 (2015) 187–196

Fig. 12. Comparison diagram of average temperature differences of middle and bottom layers.

be used for different purposes. Although different heat conduction From Fig. 9 it can be found that the heat budget of the CS and
structures may have different potential applications, to prevent hot GHCS differed very small. Beside this, the OHCS absorbed less heat
air above the road surface caused by heat release of asphalt pave- during the day and also released less heat at night than the CS and
ment at night, a highly oriented heat conduction structure with 15% GHCS. As a result, for the OHCS, the lowest heat accumulation and
(top) + 10% (middle) + 0% (bottom) of floating beads in each layer, release to air made it to be a cool pavement at night. Our calculation
named OHCS, will be more reasonable. suggested that in the day the OHCS absorbed less 2.53 × 104 J/m2 of
solar radiation and released less 2.42 × 104 J/m2 of heat in the night
than the CS, which accounted for 9.3% and 12.1% of those of the CS
4. Results and discussion
4.1. Simulation results and discussion

4.1.1. Comparison of temperature field 4.2. Field validation of temperature field

The temperature fields of the CS, the structure reported in Ref.
[32] (GHCS) and OHCS within 24 h on the pavement surface, and at In order to verify the practical effect of the optimizing struc-
the depth of 4 cm, 10 cm and 18 cm are shown in Fig. 8. ture OHCS, a test road was paved. Temperature probes were
In Fig. 8 it showed that the temperature differences between pre-embedded at the depth of 4 cm, 10 cm and 18 cm respectively
the three structures increased with depth, and the OHCS always while the test road was paved, as shown in Fig. 10(a). Temperatures
displayed the lowest temperature at each depth. The maximum were then automatically measured by using a temperature recor-
temperature differences between the OHCS and CS were 1.1 ◦ C (at ding instrument every 30 min as shown in Fig. 10(b). Since it is very
1:00 pm), 2.3 ◦ C (at 4:00 pm), and 1.3 ◦ C (at 7:00 pm), respectively. difficult to directly measure the heat budget of the OHCS test road,
The maximum difference of the SMTB such as 2.3 ◦ C, suggested the net heat exchange between the test road and the atmosphere
that the OHCS was the most promising structure to reduce rutting, was given by a calculation method and shown in Fig. 9. For factors
according to the results reported in Refs. [44,45]. such as wind and solar radiation, it is very difficult to control. So,
in order to better explain the real effects of the designed OHCS, the
two factors were not considered in this discussion, and only the
4.1.2. Comparison of heat budget
temperatures within the pavement were evaluated by measuring
The heat absorptions and releases, i.e., heat budgets, of the CS,
its temperature field, as shown in Fig. 11.
GHCS and OHCS within 24 h were compared, as shown in Fig. 9.
Comparing the field measuring data of Fig. 11 with the numeri-
cal simulation result of Fig. 8, it can be found that they had a similar
Table 7 changing trend of temperature. The maximum temperature differ-
Heat conduction structures in Group three. ences between the OHCS and CS were 1.6 ◦ C at the depth of 4 cm
(at 2:30 pm), 2.4 ◦ C at the depth of 10 cm (at 6:30 pm) and 0.8 ◦ C at
Structure Top layer Middle layer Bottom layer
number the depth of 18 cm (at 5:00 pm).
The mean value of temperatures at the depth of 4 cm and 10 cm
#0 0% 0% 0%
#9 +15% floating beads +10% floating beads +5% floating beads
was identified as the average temperature of middle layer. Simi-
#10 +15% floating beads +10% floating beads 0% larly, the mean value of temperatures at the depth of 10 cm and
#11 +15% floating beads +10% floating beads +5% graphite 18 cm was identified as the average temperature of bottom layer.
#12 +15% floating beads +10% floating beads +10% graphite The calculated average temperature differences between the CS and
#4 +15% floating beads +10% floating beads +15% graphite
OHCS are shown in Fig. 12.
D. Yinfei et al. / Energy and Buildings 102 (2015) 187–196 195

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