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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, comprehensive summary (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: 2017-11-24Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Theoretical Analysis of the Relationship between Heave and Net Heat Extraction Rates Based on Freezing Experiments
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Theoretical Analysis of the Relationship between Heave and Net Heat Extraction Rates Based on Freezing Experiments
2016 (English)In: Proceedings of Nordic Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical NGM: Reykjavik, Iceland 25th – 28th of May 2016, 2016, 411-421 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In order to improve the current design of roads against frost action, the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) has initiated a research programme. The main goals of the research are to revise the existing frost design models and the frost susceptibility classification system for subgrade soils.A qualitative theoretical analysis to establish a relationship between frost heave and net heat extraction rates based on experimental data has been done. Experiments were carried on disturbed (hand compacted), saturated samples of same type of soil without any overburden. Several different cold end temperatures were applied to create different boundary conditions to make a more detailed analysis.Results were analysed and compared to those of other researchers while pointing out the similarities and differences. Potential reasons for these differences have been identified. Based on the findings of the experimental work, suggestions for improvements are given for future testing. Some preliminary results providing hints for the relationship between segregational heave and net heat extraction rates were obtained. At the end it was shown that there exists a significant difference between the findings of the experimental work and the current system being used in Sweden in order to quantify heave.

Series
Proceedings of Nordic Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical NGM
Keyword
Civil engineering and architecture - Geoengineering and mining engineering, Frost action, Frost heave, Samhällsbyggnadsteknik och arkitektur - Geoteknik och gruvteknik
National Category
Geotechnical Engineering
Research subject
Soil Mechanics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-39661 (URN)e7e1aafb-5626-4d7a-976e-8772e5cd3c99 (Local ID)e7e1aafb-5626-4d7a-976e-8772e5cd3c99 (Archive number)e7e1aafb-5626-4d7a-976e-8772e5cd3c99 (OAI)
Conference
Nordic Geotechnical Meeting : Challanges in Nordic Geotechnics 25/05/2016 - 27/05/2016
Note

Godkänd; 2016; Bibliografisk uppgift: ISBN 978-9935-24-002-6; 20160530 (tomede)

Available from: 2016-10-03 Created: 2016-10-03 Last updated: 2017-10-19Bibliographically approved
2. Freezing-Thawing Laboratory Testing of Frost Susceptible Soils
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Freezing-Thawing Laboratory Testing of Frost Susceptible Soils
2016 (English)In: Proceedings of Nordic Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical NGM: Reykjavik, Iceland 25th – 28th of May 2016, 2016, 267-276 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Frost heave and thaw weakening are two common concerns in designing and constructing roads throughout cold region areas. Cold regions can be defined in terms of air temperature and frost penetration by frozen ground engineering. Researchers have been studying frost action in soil for the past 85 years in order to design ways to reduce the costly damage to roads. Conducting the test on frost-susceptible soil must be done in order to retrieve data for frost heave and thaw weakening modeling in the soil body during a certain freezing-thawing cycle. This paper reviews and discusses the apparatuses used for this purposes. The studied apparatuses are cylindrical and provide heat through one dimension. The studied apparatuses mostly differ in the diameter and length of their cylindrical cell; likewise, temperature gradients differ from one apparatus toanother. In this study the LTU’s apparatus which was primarily designed to investigate the research related questions concerning freezing and thawing phenomena is presented in detail. The theory of segregation potential is applied for evaluation of the frost heave test and the thaw consolidation theory is applied for the thaw test. The main goal of the project is to conduct a series of experimental tests on various types of soil while exposing them to frost action in the apparatus to propose a classification system for the different types of soil in question with respect to their susceptibility to the frost action phenomena.

Series
Proceedings of Nordic Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical NGM
Keyword
Civil engineering and architecture - Geoengineering and mining engineering, Frost action, Frost heave, Samhällsbyggnadsteknik och arkitektur - Geoteknik och gruvteknik
National Category
Geotechnical Engineering
Research subject
Soil Mechanics; Sustainable transportation (AERI)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-30685 (URN)493296d9-7230-46cc-b22d-087fbde05c30 (Local ID)493296d9-7230-46cc-b22d-087fbde05c30 (Archive number)493296d9-7230-46cc-b22d-087fbde05c30 (OAI)
Conference
Nordic Geotechnical Meeting : Challanges in Nordic Geotechnics 25/05/2016 - 27/05/2016
Note
Godkänd; 2016; Bibliografisk uppgift: ISBN 978-9935-24-002-6; 20160530 (tomede)Available from: 2016-09-30 Created: 2016-09-30 Last updated: 2017-10-20Bibliographically approved

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