Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions ›› 2021, Vol. 13 ›› Issue (3): 195-205.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1226.2021.20092.

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Summary of research on frost heave for subgrade in seasonal frozen ground

Shuang Jia1,BoWen Tai2(),ShouChen Qi3,Lei Li3,Tao Chen3   

  1. 1.School of Hydraulic and Electric Power, Heilongjiang University, Heilongjiang, Harbin, Heilongjiang 150086, China
    2.State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, Gansu 730000, China
    3.The Fourth Engineering Co. , Ltd. , China Railway 14th Bureau, Jinan, Shandong 250000, China
  • Received:2020-10-11 Accepted:2021-01-13 Online:2021-06-30 Published:2021-07-05
  • Contact: BoWen Tai
  • Supported by:
    the Foundation for Excellent Youth Scholars of "Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources", CAS(FEYS2019002);the Research Project of State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering(SKLFSE-ZQ-52);the Open Project of State Key Laboratory of Mechanical Behavior and System Safety of Traffic Engineering Structures, Shijiazhuang Tiedao University(KF2020-02)


The building of railways on seasonally frozen ground is inevitable as China pursues economic development and the improvement of its citizens' living standards. However, railway construction in seasonally frozen soil areas is often faced with frost heave, leading to uneven subgrades which seriously threaten traffic safety. This article summarizes extant research results on frost heave mechanism, frost heave factors, and anti-frost measures of railway subgrades in seasonally frozen soil areas.

Key words: seasonal frozen ground, railway subgrade, frost heave, anti-frost measures

Table 1

Classification basis of frozen soil"

Frozen soil typesDivision premiseFreezing timeFreeze-thaw characteristics
PermafrostMean Annual ground temperature ≤0 °C≥2 yearsSeasonal thawing
Seasonal frozen soilThe lowest mean monthly annual ground temperature ≤0 ℃≥1 monthSeasonal freezing
Transient frozen soilExtreme lowest ground temperature ≤0 °C<1 monthDiscontinuous freezing

Figure 1

Frost heave mechanisms and influencing factors"

Figure 2

Main influencing factors of frost heave"

Table 2

China's soil particle classification standards"

Granule groupNameD (mm)
Giant particlesBoulderd>200
Coarse particlesFine gravel20≥d>2
Fine particlesSilt0.075≥d>0.005

Table 3

The capillary rise height of different soil types"

Soil typesCapillary rise height (m)
Giant particles0.03-0.15
Medium sand0.10-0.50
Fine sand0.3-3.5
Coarse silt1.5-8
Medium fine silt4-12

Figure 3

Protective measures"

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