Former NCAT Associate Director Receives AAPT Honor
Prithvi (Ken) Kandhal receives his Wall of Honor plaque from NCAT Director Randy West during the NCAT 25th Anniversary Celebration in August 2011.
Prithvi (Ken) Kandhal, associate director emeritus of NCAT, recently received honorary membership in the Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists (AAPT). This honor comes after 40 years of work in the AAPT and the field of asphalt pavement design and construction.
NCAT Director Emeritus Ray Brown, who nominated Kandhal for the award, says Kandhal’s involvement and leadership in the AAPT “helped advance AAPT’s reputation to the preemiment organization it is today.”
Kandhal also contributed a great deal to NCAT during his time as assistant director and, later, associate director. He is one of the key authors of the NCAT textbook Hot Mix Asphalt Materials, Mix Design, and Construction, and he was a primary instructor and course designer for the internationally renowned NCAT Professor Training Course.
In 1998, he launched Asphalt Technology News, NCAT’s biannual newsletter, and continued to produce the publication until his retirement. Today, the newsletter is one of the center’s main outlets for disseminating NCAT research and other relevant news, as well as a forum for highway agencies to share specifications, suggestions and questions related to asphalt pavements.
Kandhal’s significant research and outreach contributions during his 13 years at NCAT earned him the title of associate director emeritus upon his retirement. He is also part of the NCAT Wall of Honor, established in 2011 as part of the center’s 25th anniversary celebration.
The India native’s interest in asphalt pavements began in his home country, where he was introduced to asphalt as a highway agency engineer.
“While working in a dry desert region of India with no stone quarries, I successfully experimented with road construction using dune sand and asphalt,” Kandhal adds. “That is when I started to love asphalt.”
He later moved to the U.S. and received his master’s degree in civil engineering from Iowa State University. After graduation, he spent 18 years at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation as the chief asphalt engineer. Kandhal arrived at NCAT in 1988.
Some of his notable research accomplishments at both the Pennsylvania DOT and NCAT include work related to the Superpave restricted zone, stripping of asphalt pavements, performance testing of HMA mixtures, construction guidance for longitudinal joints, tests to determine bulk specific gravity of fine aggregates and aggregate tests related to HMA performance.
Throughout his career, Kandhal has published more than 120 articles in technical journals, as well as trade magazine articles, conference proceedings and more than 20 AAPT technical reports. In 1989, he received the prestigious W. J. Emmons Award for the best paper presented and published by the AAPT. This paper summarized his research on moisture susceptibility of asphalt mixtures.
Kandhal also directly helped increase AAPT membership during his term as AAPT president from 1999-2000. He wrote personal letters to all AAPT conference attendees that year, thanking them for their attendance and encouraging them to join the organization.
In addition, he has been active in several other technical societies and organizations, such as the Transportation Research Board (TRB), the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
Kandhal officially received his honorary membership at a formal banquet on April 3 during the AAPT annual meeting in Austin, Texas.
“Receiving honorary membership in AAPT is a proud moment in my life, especially when it is being accorded by my peers from all continents of the world,” Kandhal says.