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 25 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.


  • 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 II, Institute for Transportation (InTrans), Iowa State University. 2015 – present 
  • 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
  • Research Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, Iowa State University, 2007–2012
  • Civil /Civil Material Engineer, Hyundai Development Company Engineering & Construction, Seoul, South Korea, 1998–2002 

Selected Research Projects

  • Self-Heating Electrically Conductive Concrete Demonstration Project, Iowa DOT/IHRB 
  • Development of Nanostructured Superhydrophobic Coatings and Conductive Concrete to Achieve Ice- and Snow-Free Airport Pavement, FAA COE
  • Prevention of Longitudinal Cracking in Iowa Widened Concrete Pavement, IHRB
  • Investigation of AASHTOWare Pavement ME Design/Darwin-ME Performance Prediction Models for Iowa Pavement Analysis and Design, Iowa DOT
  • Evaluation of Otta Seal Surfacing for Low-volume Roads in Iowa, IHRB
  • Impact of Curling and Warping on Concrete Pavement, IHRB
  • Evaluating Roadway Subsurface Drainage Practices – Phase I and Phase II, IHRB 

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

  • 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. Volume 8, Issue 2, pp. 101–114.
  • Kim, S., K. Gopalakrishnan, and H. Ceylan. 2011. A Simplified Approach for Predicting Early-Age Concrete Pavement Deformation. Journal of Civil Engineering and Management. Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 27–35.
  • Kim, S., K. Gopalakrishnan, and H. Ceylan. 2011. Structural Characterization of Iowa’s Rubblized PCC Pavements. Journal of Transportation Engineering. Vol. 138, No. 4, pp. 406–413.
  • Kim, S., K. Gopalakrishnan, H. Ceylan, and K. Wang. 2010. Early-Age Response of Concrete Pavements to Temperature and Moisture Variations. The Baltic Journal of Road and Bridge Engineering. Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 132–138.  

Other Scholarly Publications

  • Abdualla, H., H. Ceylan, S. Kim, K. Gopalakrishnan, P. C. Taylor, and Y. Turkan.  2016. System Requirements for Electrically Conductive Concrete Heated Pavements. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board. No. 2569, pp. 70–79. 
  • 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. Volume 2462, pp. 68–76. 
  • Kim, S., H. Ceylan, and K. Gopalakrishnan. 2008. Smoothness Variations of Early-Age Jointed Plain Concrete Pavements. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering. Vol. 35, No. 12, pp. 1388–1398. 
  • Kim, S., K. Gopalakrishnan, and H. Ceylan. 2011. Unbound Material Characterization with Nottingham Asphalt Tester (NAT). Proceedings of the ICE – Construction Materials, Vol.165, Issue 6, pp. 355–365. 
  • Kim, S. 2006. Early Age Behavior of Jointed Plain Concrete Pavements Subjected to Environmental Loads. Ph.D. dissertation. Iowa State University, Ames, IA.

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