Sunghwan Kim


Associate Director, PROSPER





Research Scientist, Institute for Transportation



About Sunghwan

Dr. Kim, PE, has conducted transportation infrastructure-related research for more than 15 years as a research staff member. He received his doctorate and master’s degree from Iowa State University, with his Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)-sponsored PhD dissertation research focusing on studying the impact of curling, warping, and other early-age behavior of concrete pavement systems on concrete-pavement smoothness, and his Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT)-sponsored MS thesis research focusing on the evaluation of hot-mix asphalt moisture sensitivity using the Nottingham Asphalt Test equipment.

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 South 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, all related to paved/unpaved road systems and road construction materials. He has also authored/co-authored over 200 technical publications, including more than 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and over 75 technical presentations in the field of pavement engineering and transportation infrastructure 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

  • Associate Director of Program for Sustainable Pavement Engineering and Research (PROSPER), Institute for Transportation (InTrans), Iowa State University, 2013–present
  • Research Scientist, Institute for Transportation (InTrans), Iowa State University, Ames, 2015–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

  • Iowa Granular Road Structural Design Tool, IHRB
  • 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

  • Malakooti, A., Theh, W. S, Sadati, S. M. S., Ceylan, H., Kim, S., Mina, M., Cetin, K., and Taylor, P. C. 2020. Design and Full-Scale Implementation of the Largest Operational Electrically Conductive Concrete Heated Pavement System. Construction & Building Materials, Vol. 255.
  • 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.

Other Scholarly Publications

  • Citir, N., Ceylan, H., Kim, S., and Kaya, O. 2021. Incorporating the Effectiveness of Preservation and Rehabilitation Techniques on Flexible Pavement Service Life Predictions using Machine Learning Approach. 2021 ASCE International Airfield and Highway Pavements Conference, A Virtual Event, June 8–10.
  • 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., 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

  • Developing new pavement structure assessment program using FWD deflection data
  • Awards/Recognitions
    • Professional and Scientific Excellence Award, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, 2021
    • Jimenez Faculty/Researcher Award, FAA PEGASAS, 2020
    • Professional and Scientific Outstanding New Professional Award, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, 2016

Completed Research

In-Progress Research