ICT Student Spotlight: Pengcheng Shangguan

The Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT) would like to congratulate Pengcheng Shangguan on his graduation and wish him luck on future endeavors! Shangguan has been with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since starting his graduate studies in January 2010 and has been a regular face in the labs and offices of ICT for much of that time.

Shangguan successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation in August and graduated in December 2014. He received his B.S. in transportation engineering from Southeast University in China in 2008 and his M.S. in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2010.

His main research interest is developing applications for ground-penetrating radar (GPR) in assessing infrastructure, including pavements and railroads, as well as developing algorithms to analyze collected data. In conducting research for his dissertation, “Development of Algorithms for Asphalt Pavement Compaction Monitoring Utilizing Ground-Penetrating Radar,” Shangguan used GPR to monitor density change during compaction of asphalt pavement and developed the needed analysis approaches.

According to Shangguan, “The utmost challenge with this application is the unknown effect of water, which is sprayed by the compactors.” Usually, GPR requires dry weather conditions for three days before use in testing. “But in this application,” he explains, “water is a problem that cannot be bypassed.”

To solve the problem, Shangguan relied on interdisciplinary research approaches from civil engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science. “I developed new algorithms that can effectively eliminate the effect of water on GPR signals and predict asphalt pavement density in real time.” This research will allow GPR to be integrated with compactors, improving the quality of asphalt pavement and reducing maintenance cost.

“During my graduate studies at ICT, my research approaches included theoretical development, numerical simulations, laboratory experiments, and field tests. I like to combine theory with practice, which I believe is the beauty of the research in civil engineering.” Shangguan also notes the vast array of opportunities for cross-discipline approaches that helped him find creative solutions during his research.

Shangguan amassed an impressive list of credentials while at ICT, including six first-author journal publications and several other journal papers. He delivered more than 20 presentations at various academic conferences and won several awards, including the Illinois Association of Highway Engineers (IAHE) Grant Shaw Memorial Scholarship and winning first place in the poster competition at the International Association of Chinese Infrastructure Professionals two years in a row.

“I really appreciate ICT for providing me with such a great opportunity to work on these interesting topics. The facilities at ICT are state of the art. But what really amazes me is the people here at ICT who are always ready to provide the support I need. I have observed the tremendous efforts that all the staff at ICT have put into this center. I truly believe it is the people who make this research center successful.”

Shangguan has accepted an offer from Country Garden Corporation, a property development company in China. Joining thatcompany will allow him to participate in China’s exciting urbanization process.

In his spare time, Shangguan enjoys karaoke, ping pong, and biking. But his favorite leisure time activity? “Spending time with my two-year-old daughter!”