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Laboratory Investigations of Frost Action Mechanisms in Soils
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering. (Geoteknologi)
2017 (English)Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Phase change of the water in the soil skeleton under cold climate conditions (also known as frost action in soils) affects soil properties and can be responsible for serious alterations in a soil body; causing damages (due to the volumetric expansion known as frost heave) to structures on or below the ground surface such as foundations, roads, railways, retaining walls and pipelines, etc. In order to improve the current design methods for roads against frost action, the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) has initiated a research program. The main goals of the program are to revise the existing frost heave estimation methods and improve the frost susceptibility classification system for subgrade soils.

Literature was reviewed to gather the details of different freezing test equipment around the world and to identify common trends and practices for laboratory freezing tests. Based on the literature review and the collaboration with the University of Oulu, Finland an experimental apparatus was assembled for studying frost action in the laboratory. A detailed description of the experimental apparatus is given. Top to down freezing of specimens (of 10cm height and diameter) can be monitored while keeping track of water intake, vertical displacements (heave) and the temperature profile within the sample. Loads can be applied at the top of the sample to study the effects of overburden. Moreover, the test setup was modified with a camera system to have the option of recording the experiments.

Disturbed samples of two different soil types were tested. Experiments with fixed and varying temperature boundary conditions were conducted to assess the validity of the assumptions for the frost heave estimation methods currently in use in Sweden. To this end, a qualitative relationship between frost heave and heat extraction rates based on theoretical equations was established. It was shown that there is a significant difference between the preliminary findings of the experimental work and the current system being used in Sweden to quantify heave.

Image analysis techniques were used on two experiments that were recorded by the camera system. Image recording and correlation analyses provided detailed information about frost front penetration and ice lens formation(s) under varying temperature boundary conditions. Thawing has also been regarded in further studies. Results of the image analyses were compared to readings from conventional displacement measurements during the same test. Significant agreement between the results of image analyses and displacement measurements has been found. Image analysis was shown to be a viable method in further understanding of frost heave mechanisms.

Shortcomings and disadvantages of utilizing the theoretical equations as well as the image analysis techniques were discussed. Potential remedies for overcoming the drawbacks associated with each approach are suggested. The work is concluded by discussing the potential improvements, planned upgrades (addition of pore pressure transducers) and the future experiments to be conducted.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå University of Technology, 2017.
Keyword [en]
Cold Regions Soil Mechanics, Frost Action, Frost Depth, Frost Heave, Heat Flow in Soils, Ice Lens Formation, Image Analysis, Laboratory Freezing Test
National Category
Geotechnical Engineering
Research subject
Soil Mechanics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-64184ISBN: 978-91-7583-924-0 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7583-925-7 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-64184DiVA: diva2:1111664
Presentation
2017-09-01, F1031, Luleå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-06-19 Created: 2017-06-19 Last updated: 2017-06-21Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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  • apa
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