Microscale heat Island characterization of rigid pavements

Sushobhan Sen, Jeffery Roesler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rigid pavements have an impact on the urban heat island (UHI) and hence the surrounding environment and human comfort. Currently, most studies use a mesoscale approach in UHI characterization of pavements. This study proposes a microscale approach that can be incorporated into a pavement life-cycle assessment (LCA). The heat flux of various concrete pavements containing layers of varying thermal diffusivity and inertia was simulated. The surface pavement radiative forcing (RFp) was developed as a metric for use in a pavement LCA. Additionally, the heat conducted and stored in each concrete pavement system was analyzed using an average seasonal day metric to understand the temporal pavement energetics. Of the various thermal cases, only a higher albedo surface significantly changed the RFp for a fixed climate. However, a time lag was induced by the thermal inertia of the base course, which decreased the amount of heat conducted out of the pavement at night by storing heat in the base course for a longer time, effectively reducing nighttime UHI. Diurnal variations in thermal behavior can be controlled by changing the thermal properties of subsurface layers, which can be used to partially mitigate UHI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-83
Number of pages11
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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