College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

CCEE Alum Ali Arabzadeh Receives Canadian Technical Asphalt Association Award

CCEE Alum Ali Arabzadeh

One of only three papers accepted with no Canadian authors, Iowa State University Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering alum Ali Arabzadeh received the 2021 Elaine Thompson Editor’s Award for ‘Best Written Presentation’ from the Canadian Technical Asphalt Association.


Typically, 60 papers are proposed for this award, and only 20 are accepted for presentation and publication. Since the association began in 1955, only three of the papers that have received this award have been accepted without a Canadian author – one of them being Arabzadeh’s paper, where he is the lead author.

CCEE Alum Ali Arabzadeh
CCEE Alum Ali Arabzadeh


“I was very happy when I found out that they chose my paper,” Arabzadeh said. “I had the opportunity at Iowa State to be exposed to hot research topics so I could draft a paper like this.”


Recipients of this award are recognized to have some of the most prestigious asphalt papers or research. Arabzadeh started writing this paper in the fall of 2020, with CCEE’s Chris Williams as his supervisor.


Arabzadeh’s paper topic is about the use of soybean oil-drived modifiers in asphalt mixtures. As asphalt ages, or in frigid weather, it can easily crack. The asphalt also ruts at high temperatures or when exposed to heavy loads or high traffic volumes. Through this research, they are trying to reverse the effects of recycled asphalt pavement and improve the mechanical performance of asphalt at low and high temperatures as well as when it is subjected to heavy loads and high traffic volumes. All these efforts would then collectively improve the behavior of asphalt and reduce the cost of asphalt materials.


As of now, Arabzadeh works as a Senior Pavement Policy and Research Engineer for Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Arabzadeh started his doctorate degree at Iowa State in 2015, where he then graduated in 2018, but feels as though he has never truly left Iowa State.


“I am thankful to ISU for giving me all of these opportunities to conduct research and teach,” he said. “This award would not be possible if I did not work in professional work environments at ISU.”