Sunghwan Kim


Associate Director, PROSPER





Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering



About Sunghwan

Dr. Kim has conducted transportation infrastructure-related research for over 10 years. Throughout his multi-disciplinary research, he has actively participated in conducting controlled field evaluation and laboratory testing of three concrete pavement construction projects while successfully characterizing the complex relationships between concrete pavement curling, warping, and other early-age behavior on initial pavement smoothness.

Dr. Kim’s industrial experience extends from spending nearly four years in a construction material engineering position in a large global contract firm (Hyundai) in Korea. While at Iowa State University, Dr. Kim has been actively involved in over 30 competitively-funded research projects as a co-principal investigator and 16 funded research projects as a technical specialist. These projects were related to pavement field investigation and forensic testing, pavement performance evaluation and modeling, mechanistic-based pavement analysis and design concepts, nondestructive testing and health monitoring of transportation infrastructure systems, and smart infrastructure/engineering materials. He has also authored/co-authored over 190 technical publications and over 75 technical presentations related to pavement materials and systems.


  • PhD, Civil Engineering, Iowa State University, 2006 
  • MS, Civil Engineering, Iowa State University, 2004 
  • BS, Civil Engineering, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea, 1998 

Professional Experience

  • Assistant Research Scientist IV, Institute for Transportation, Iowa State University. 2017–present
  • Assistant Research Scientist II, Institute for Transportation, Iowa State University. 2015–2017
  • Associate Director of Program for Sustainable Pavement Engineering and Research (PROSPER), Institute for Transportation (InTrans), Iowa State University, 2013–present
  • Research Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, Iowa State University, 2013–2015
  • Civil /Civil Material Engineer, Hyundai Development Company Engineering & Construction, Seoul, South Korea, 1998–2002

Selected Research Projects

  • Development of Approaches to Quantify Superloads and Their Impacts on the Iowa Road Infrastructure System, IHRB
  • Development of a Smartphone-Based Road Performance Data Collection Tool, IHRB
  • Development of Pavement Structural Analysis Tool (PSAT) for Iowa Local Roads, IHRB
  • Investigation on Pavement ME Design Reflective Cracking, Faulting, IRI Prediction Models, Concrete Overlays Design Tool, and Performance Threshold Levels for Iowa Pavement Systems, Iowa DOT
  • Development of Iowa Pavement Analysis Technique (IPAT), IHRB
  • Self-Heating Electrically Conductive Concrete Demonstration Project, Iowa DOT/IHRB
  • Investigation into the Feasibility of Using Electrically Conductive Asphalt Cement Concrete for Heated Airport Pavements, FAA Center of Excellence (COE)
  • Evaluation of Otta Seal Surfacing for Low-volume Roads in Iowa–Phase I and Phase II,  IHRB
  • Concrete Grinding Residue: It’s effect on roadside vegetation and soil properties, Minnesota DOT

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

  • Kaya, O., Zhang, Y., Ceylan, H., Kim, S., Yang, S., Taylor, P.C., and Gopalakrishnan, K. 2019. Numerical Analysis of Longitudinal Cracking in Widened Jointed Plain Concrete Pavement Systems. International Journal of Pavement Research and Technology, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 277–287.
  • Yang, B., Zhang, Y., Ceylan, H., Kim, S., and Gopalakrishnan, K. 2018. Assessment of Soils Stabilized with Lignin-Based Byproducts. Journal of Transportation Geotechnics, 17, Part A, pp. 122–132.
  • Rezaei-Tarahomi, A., Kaya, O., Ceylan, H., Kim, S., Gopalakrishnan, K., and Brill, D. R. 2017. Development of Rapid Three-dimensional Finite-Element Based Rigid Airfield Pavement Foundation Response and Moduli Prediction Models. Transportation Geotechnics, Vol.13, pp. 81–91.
  • Jiao, Y., Young, C., Yang, S., Yavas, S., Ceylan, H., Kim, S., Gopalakrishnan, K., Taylor, P. C., and Dong. L. 2016. Wearable Graphene Sensors with Microfluidic Liquid Metal Wiring for Structural Health Monitoring and Human Body Motion Sensing. IEEE Sensors Journal, Vol. PP, No. 99, pp. 1–1.
  • Gopalakrishnan, K., Ceylan, H., Kim, S., Yang, S., and Abdualla, H. 2015. Electrically Conductive Mortar Characterization for Self-Heating Airfield Concrete Pavement Mix Design. International Journal of Pavement Research and Technology, Vol. 8, No. 5, pp. 315–324.

Other Scholarly Publications

  • Kaya, O., Garg, N., Ceylan, H., and Kim, S. 2018. Development of Artificial Neural Network Based Predictive Models for Dynamic Modulus of Airfield Pavement Asphalt Mixtures. 2018 ASCE International Conference on Transportation & Development, Pittsburgh, PA, July 15–18.
  • Shen, W., Gopalakrishnan, K., Kim, S., and Ceylan, H. 2016. Airport Apron Heated Pavement System Operations: Analysis of Energy Requirements, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Operating Costs. 2016 ASCE Geo-Chicago Conference, Chicago, Illinois, August 14–18.
  • Kim, S., H. Ceylan, D. Ma, and K. Gopalakrishnan. 2014. Calibration of Pavement ME Design and Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide Performance Prediction Models for Iowa Pavement Systems. Journal of Transportation Engineering. Vol. 140, No. 10.
  • Kim, S., H. Ceylan, and K. Gopalakrishnan. 2014. Finite Element Modelling of Environmental Effects on Rigid Pavement Deformation. Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering Journal, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 101–114.
  • Kim, S., K. Gopalakrishnan, H. Ceylan, and R. F. Steffes. 2014. Performance Evaluation of Roadway Subdrain Outlets in Iowa. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board. Vol. 2462, pp. 68–76.

Professional Affiliations, Honors, and Service

  • Participated in developing new pavement structure assessment program using FWD deflection data for Iowa DOT
  • Awards/Recognitions
    • Professional and Scientific Outstanding New Professional Award, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, 2016
    • Research Excellence Award, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, 2006

Completed Research

In-Progress Research