>> Freezing of frost-susceptible soils

Radoslaw L. Michalowski

Freezing of frost-susceptible soils.

Frost heaving is a well-recognized phenomenon that affects infrastructure in cold regions, but the tools available to model the frost heave process are not well developed.  A research program has been carried out to model this phenomenon.  Frost heave is a multi-scale process, with water freezing at the microscopic level, leading to formation of ice lenses at the meso scale, manifesting itself as the displacement of the ground surface at the macro scale.  To capture the essence of the process, a porosity rate function (Fig. 1) is introduced to describe the change in volume due to growth of the ice within the soil.  The growth tensor is then used in the constitutive model of frost-susceptible soils.  The model was implemented in the numerical system ABAQUS to simulate the frost heave in the neighborhood of a retaining wall with frost-susceptible backfill, subjected to freezing (Fig. 2).  Soil freezing is a part of the freeze-thaw cycle, and, with the funding from the Army research Office, this research continues with the focus on melting of ice lenses and thawing of frozen soils.

Figure 1.  Porosity rate as function of temperature in freezing soils.

 

Figure 2.  Tilted retaining wall as a result of frost heave of the backfill (FEM simulation).


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