Mohammadtaher Ghalandari

Academic Assistant

Structural and Thermal Analysis of Heat Exchanging Asphalt Layers (HEAL)

This aim of this research project is to investigate the structural and thermal behavior of the heavy loaded asphalt pavements containing a heat exchanging asphalt layer (HEAL).

Heat Exchange Asphalt Layers (HEAL)

HEAL is a heat exchanging system containing a closed circuit of pipes with flowing water, in an asphalt layer environment (heat flow asphalt – water). This pipe system is connected with a heat exchanger configuration to heat storage, e.g. a borehole. The correct use of a HEAL system will lead to a smaller temperature gradient in the pavement which is expected to increase the structural service life of the pavement as well. Different material properties such as rutting behavior, cold cracking, and healing need to be examined before this effect on the lifetime of the road can be determined.

Furthermore, the complete structural road design for heavy loads with and without HEAL present will be studied. Potential benefits for road safety, environmental aspects and additional costs have to be estimated in order to include all different aspects in a feasibility study or even small-scale LCA for a case study in the Antwerp harbor.


A brief summary of the proposed work packages is discussed below

1. Monitoring of a large scale prototype

A prototype of approx. 25m² has been installed in Campus Groenenborger at the University of Antwerp, including all necessary technical installations and sensors. This prototype is equipped with a  heat storage borehole in order to store the heat extracted from the HEAL during summer and to function as a heat source to keep the asphalt surface ice-free during winter. During the experimental phase, monitoring will be carried out several data sets, e.g. asphalt, water and borehole temperatures, and the weather parameters. These measurement results will be used as input to validate an already existing thermal finite element model and comparison will be made with other published results in the literature.

2. Development and validation of thermal and structural finite element model

This work package includes the development and validation of structural and thermal finite element (FE) models, in order to investigate the type and impact of parameters of a HEAL system on different aspects of the mechanical and thermal behavior. The influence of structural design parameters such as pipe embedment depth, pipe spacing and thermal behavior of the materials will be studied. Besides, the impact of external heavy loading on pavements such as pavements in the harbor or an airfield runway is included in the study.

3. Structural design of heavy loaded roads with and without HEAL

In this work package, the actual loads on heavy loaded roads from the port of Antwerp will be adapted using provided available data. The results of the analysis will lead to an estimate for the lifetime of a heavy loaded road with and without HEAL present, using different damage models.

4. Feasibility study or small-scale LCA for a case study in the Antwerp harbor


Taher Ghalandari Campus Groenenborger
Groenenborgerlaan, 171
2020 Antwerp
Tel. 032651649