Chris Williams


Director, AMPP





Gerald & Audrey Olson Professor, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering


InTrans, AMPP, MTC

About Chris

Dr. Williams has nearly 25 years of experience in asphalt materials and pavements research experience. He has served on numerous pavements and materials research projects, which includes being a co-PI for a chip seal design project with the Oregon Department of Transportation. Dr. Williams is also serving as a co-PI on an Iowa Department of Transportation project on pavement holding strategies (where more than preventive maintenance is needed but rehabilitation is not viable) that includes the use of chip seals and other similar pavement alternatives. He has worked on numerous projects associated with sustainability, including development and use of biomaterials in asphalt materials as rejuvenators, warm mix asphalt, biopolymers, and other applications.

Dr. Williams worked for the Federal Highway Administration until 1999 and subsequently joined the faculty at Michigan Technological University. Dr. Williams joined the Iowa State University Department of Civil Engineering in 2005 where he currently serves as the Gerald and Audrey Professor of civil engineering. He has published more than 100 archival journal and conference papers on asphalt materials, pavement design, as well as on the design and construction of asphalt materials and pavements including specifications.


  • PhD, Civil Engineering, Purdue University, 1996 
  • MS, Civil Engineering, Purdue University, 1993 
  • BS, Civil Engineering, University of Vermont, 1991 

Professional Experience

  • Associate Professor, Department of Civil, Construction & Environmental Engineering, Iowa State University, August 2005–Present 
  • Assistant/Associate Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Michigan Technological University, December 1999–August 2005 
  • Research Highway Engineer, Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, Federal Highway Administration, November 1996–November 1999 

Research Experience

Dr. Williams has been a PI or Co-PI on 82 research projects/centers/institutes totaling more than $35 million in addition to being the Contractor Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR) or Co-COTR on behalf of the Federal Highway Administration of more than $12 million of research projects. Project sponsors include the following: 

  • Archer Daniels Midland 
  • Conoco (now Conoco-Phillips)
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Federal Highway Administration
  • Illinois Tollway
  • Ingevity
  • Iowa Energy Center
  • Iowa Power Fund
  • Iowa Soybean Association
  • Seneca Petroleum
  • State Transportation Agencies (CA, CO, IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, MO, OR, WI)
  • US Department of Agriculture
  • US Soybean Board 

Publications and Presentations

  • 66 peer reviewed journal publications 
  • 64 peer reviewed conference papers
  • 15 dislcosures, patent applications or patents issued
  • 101 international/national technical presentations
  • 26 non-peer reviewed papers
  • 38 technical reports 

Current Research

Dr. Williams has ongoing research in asphalt materials in multiple areas. This invovles the development of new bio-derived materials for inclusion in asphalt including biopolymers, fluxes, warm mix asphalt technology and rejuvenators. He has also developed non-crude petroleum “asphalt” to partially and fully replace crude derived asphalt with two patents recently being issued. This research recently culminated in a demonstration paving project on October 6, 2010 with more details available at:

Dr. Williams is also substantially involved in the development of design and construction specifications of warm mix asphalt technology, recycled asphalt shingles, and the use of high amounts of recycled asphalt pavements; all of these projects have had substantial demonstration based paving projects. 


Completed Research

In-Progress Research