Pavement Deicing Using Hydronic Heat Exchange Loops in The Base Layer: Experimental and Modeling Feasibility Study

Extreme weather conditions play a vital factor in the deterioration of the national transportation infrastructure including pavements. Freezing and thawing of the pavement sections is one of the most critical processes resulting from these extreme weather conditions. In addition to negatively impacting the structural integrity of the pavement layers, frozen pavement surfaces increase highway risks and decrease mobility of people, goods, and first responders. It is, thus, recognized that reducing and potentially eliminating pavement freezing is crucial to increase the resiliency level of the national infrastructure and reduce highway risks. This report presents a feasibility study investigating the use of a hydronic heat exchange loops installed in the aggregate base layer to de-ice pavement surfaces. The concept of using similar heat exchange loops was previously investigated and the thermal effectiveness was confirmed for loops installed in the surface layer, either asphalt or concrete. However, construction difficulties and performance challenges resulted from the installation of these loops in the surface layers including compaction difficulties, concentrated stresses and strains, and pavement surface cracks. Therefore, this study considered relocating the heat exchange loops in the base layer, beneath the surface layer, to avoid such construction and performance challenges. This study consisted of experimental and modeling components. First, the thermal performance of the proposed technique was validated experimentally. In this experimental work, a pavement section provided with heat exchange loops in the aggregate base layer was constructed inside a freeze chamber where the ambient air temperature was precisely controlled. Two experiments were performed: the first one considered low ambient air temperature without snow or ice on the pavement surface, while the second had initial icy pavement surface. Heated fluid was circulated inside the loops in the two experiments with temperature measurements recorded at various locations within the pavement section and at the surface. The results of this experimental program confirm that burying the heat exchangers in the base layer provides enough heat to the pavement surface that keeps it ice free, despite the significant downward-propagating heat losses.

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    State University of New York, Stony Brook

    Stony Brook, NY  United States  11794

    University Transportation Research Center

    City College of New York
    Marshak Hall, Suite 910, 160 Convent Avenue
    New York, NY  United States  10031

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Abdelaziz, Sherif
    • Longtin, Jon
    • Yin, Huiming
    • Orr, David
    • Abraham, Soji P
    • He, Xin
  • Publication Date: 2018-4


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 89p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01712420
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Contract Numbers: 49198-30-27
  • Created Date: Jul 9 2019 8:22AM