Experimental and Numerical Investigations on an Organic Phase Change Material Incorporated Cool Concrete Pavement

B.R. Anupam1, *, Umesh C. Sahoo1, Prasenjit Rath2
1 Research Scholar, School of Infrastructure, Indian Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar, India
2 School of Mechanical Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar, India

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© 2022 Anupam et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Research Scholar, School of infrastructure, Indian Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar, India E-mail:



Traditionally, cool pavements have been designed as reflective, evaporative, etc. Though the reflective pavements reduce the pavement surface temperature significantly, they increase glare, the thermal burden on pedestrian traffic, and the temperature of nearby buildings. In the case of evaporative pavements, the absence of water, reduced thermal inertia and solar reflection result in a higher pavement temperature. As a result, there has been a pressing need to investigate new low-side-effect cool pavement options.


The study aims to analyze the effect of phase change material (PCM) incorporation on the thermal performance of concrete pavements and to develop a total enthalpy-based numerical heat transfer model for such cool pavements.

Materials and Methods:

A paraffin-based organic PCM with a melting point of 42 to 45 °C was used in this work, and expanded clay aggregate (ECA) was used as an encapsulation medium. Concrete slabs without and with the incorporation of PCM-impregnated ECAs were cast, and thermocouples were implanted in the concrete to monitor the pavement temperature continuously. A total enthalpy-based numerical heat transfer model was developed to predict the thermal performance of such cool concrete pavements.


The PCM incorporation reduced 2.24 °C in the annual average pavement surface temperature with a maximum reduction of 4.12 °C.


PCM incorporation effectively reduces pavement surface temperature during the daytime and makes the pavements cooler. Increasing the encapsulating medium's porosity and the concrete slab's thermal conductivity enhances the cooling potential. However, the thermal characteristics of the encapsulating material may be neglected as their impact is less on the cooling potential.

Keywords: Cool pavements, Numerical model, Pavement temperature, Phase change materials, Heat transfer model, ECA.