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2021, 13 (2) Online: 30 April 2021 Previous issue
  • Artificially frozen ground and related engineering technology in Japan
  • Satoshi Akagawa
  • DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1226.2021.20046
  • 2021, Vol.13 (2): 77–86 Abstract ( 208) HTML ( 32228) PDF (8720 KB) ( 246 )
  • Since the 1970's, frozen ground has been developing near the Tokyo Bay area around liquefied natural gas (LNG) in-ground storage tanks. For disaster prevention purposes, the tanks are constructed below the ground surface. Since the temperature of the liquid stored in the tanks is -162 °C the soil surrounding the tanks freezes. Since this frozen ground has existed for almost half a century, we have permafrost near Tokyo. The development of artificial frozen ground may cause frost heaving, resulting in frost heave forces that may cause structural damage of adjacent LNG in-ground storage tanks. Therefore, the demand for frozen ground engineering increased and consequently we now have advanced technology in this area. Fortunately, we use this engineering technology and artificial ground freezing for civil engineering, especially in big and crowded cities like Tokyo. This paper provides a summary of the testing apparatus, test methods, and assessment methods for frost heaving.

  • Frost susceptibility of soils―A confusing concept that can misguide geotechnical design in cold regions
  • DaiChao Sheng
  • DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1226.2021.20051
  • 2021, Vol.13 (2): 87–94 Abstract ( 140) HTML ( 13267) PDF (3999 KB) ( 350 )
  • Frost susceptibility is a concept widely used in cold region geotechnical design, to quantify the capacity of a soil in generating frost heave and frost damage. The laboratory test used to verify frost susceptibility of a soil is based on the measurement of frost heave generated in the soil under specific conditions. In reality this concept is, however, more related to the soil's potential to thaw weakening than to frost heave. Recent experimental studies show that frost non-susceptible soils like clean sand and clean gavel can also generate much ice segregation and frost heave if the conditions are favourable, hence challenging the usefulness and suitability of soil classification based on frost susceptibility. It is further shown that the concept is not suitable for design scenarios where frost heave itself is a serious hazard, such as in high-speed rail embankments.

  • Laboratory study and predictive modeling for thaw subsidence in deep permafrost
  • ZhaoHui Joey Yang,Gabriel T. Pierce
  • DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1226.2021.20087
  • 2021, Vol.13 (2): 95–106 Abstract ( 80) HTML ( 10571) PDF (5339 KB) ( 119 )
  • Oil wells on the North Slope of Alaska pass through deep deposits of permafrost. The heat transferred during their operation causes localized thawing, resulting in ground subsidence adjacent to the well casings. This subsidence has a damaging effect, causing the casings to compress, deform, and potentially fail. This paper presents the results of a laboratory study of the thaw consolidation strain of deep permafrost and its predictive modeling. Tests were performed to determine strains due to thaw and post-thaw loading, as well as soil index properties. Results, together with data from an earlier testing program, were used to produce empirical models for predicting strains and ground subsidence. Four distinct strain cases were analyzed with three models by multiple regression analyses, and the best-fitting model was selected for each case. Models were further compared in a ground subsidence prediction using a shared subsurface profile. Laboratory results indicate that strains due to thaw and post-thaw testing in deep core permafrost are insensitive to depth and are more strongly influenced by stress redistributions and the presence of ice lenses and inclusions. Modeling results show that the most statistically valid and useful models were those constructed using moisture content, porosity, and degree of saturation. The applicability of these models was validated by comparison with results from Finite Element modeling.

  • Permafrost distribution and temperature in the Elkon Horst, Russia
  • Mikhail Zhelezniak,QingBai Wu,Anatolii Kirillin,Zhi Wen,Aleksandr Zhirkov,Vladimir Zhizhin
  • DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1226.2021.20027
  • 2021, Vol.13 (2): 107–122 Abstract ( 94) HTML ( 10291) PDF (9132 KB) ( 90 )
  • The Elkon Horst is a geological structure that consists of heterogeneous strata with highly variable geocryological and temperature conditions. Gaining accurate knowledge of permafrost distribution patterns within this structure is of both scientific and practical importance. In mountainous terrain, the ground thermal regime is controlled by both surface and subsurface conditions. Surface conditions include snow cover characteristics, the presence or absence of vegetation, vegetation density, etc.. In contrast, subsurface conditions involve rock lithology or petrography, density, quantity and depth of fissures, groundwater, etc.. This article examines ground thermal regimes in various geomorphological settings based on temperature measurement data from geotechnical boreholes. The occurrence and extent of permafrost were evaluated for the entire horst area using direct and indirect methods. The maximum permafrost thickness measured in the Elkon Horst is 330 m, and the estimated maximum is 450 m at higher elevations. Thermophysical properties were determined for the major rock types, and the geothermal heat flux was estimated for the study area. The thermal conductivities were found to vary from 1.47 to 4.20 W/(m·K), and the dry bulk densities to range between 2,236 kg/m3 and 3,235 kg/m3. The average geothermal heat flux was estimated to be 44 mW/m2.

  • A full-scale field experiment to study the thermal-deformation process of widening highway embankments in permafrost regions
  • ShuangJie Wang,Long Jin,Kun Yuan,DongGen Chen,JinPing Li,Yi Song
  • DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1226.2021.20037
  • 2021, Vol.13 (2): 123–132 Abstract ( 72) HTML ( 10398) PDF (5190 KB) ( 109 )
  • As one of the widely used upgrading way in road engineering, the widening embankment (WE) has suffered evident differential deformation, which is even severer for highway in permafrost regions due to the temperature sensitivity of frozen soil and the heat absorption effect of the asphalt pavement. Given this issue, a full-scale experimental highway of WE was performed along the Qinghai-Tibet Highway (QTH) to investigate the differential deformation features and its developing law. The continuous three years' monitoring data taken from the experimental site, including the ground temperature and the layered deformation of WE and original embankment (OE), were used to analyze the thermal-deformation process. The results indicate that the widening part presented the remarkable thermal disturbance to the existing embankment (EE). The underlying permafrost was in a noteworthy degradation state, embodying the apparent decrease of the permafrost table and the increase of the ground temperature. Correspondingly, the heat disruption induced by widening led to a much higher deformation at the widening side compared to the original embankment, showing a periodic stepwise curve. Specifically, the deformation mainly occurred in the junction of the EE and the widening part, most of which was caused by the thawing consolidation near the original permafrost table. In contrast, the deformation of EE mainly attributed to the compression of the active layer. Furthermore, it was the deformation origination differences that resulted in the differential deformation of WE developed gradually during the monitoring period, the maximum of which reached up to 64 mm.

  • Sandstone-concrete interface transition zone (ITZ) damage and debonding micromechanisms under freeze-thaw
  • YanJun Shen,Huan Zhang,JinYuan Zhang,HongWei Yang,Xu Wang,Jia Pan
  • DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1226.2021.20056
  • 2021, Vol.13 (2): 133–149 Abstract ( 71) HTML ( 7828) PDF (14350 KB) ( 86 )
  • The sufficient bond between concrete and rock is an important prerequisite to ensure the effect of shotcrete support. However, in cold regions engineering protection system, the bond condition of rock and concrete surface is easily affected by freeze-thaw cycles, resulting in interface damage, debonding and even supporting failure. Understanding the micromechanisms of the damage and debonding of the rock-concrete interface is essential for improving the interface protection. Therefore, the micromorphology, micromechanical properties, and microdebonding evolution of the sandstone-concrete interface transition zone (ITZ) under varying freeze-thaw cycles (0, 5, 10, 15, 20) were studied using scanning electron microscope, stereoscopic microscope, and nano-indentation. Furthermore, the distribution range and evolution process of ITZ affected by freeze-thaw cycles were defined. Major findings of this study are as follows: (1) The microdamage evolution law of the ITZ under increasing freeze-thaw cycles is clarified, and the relationship between the number of cracks in the ITZ and freeze-thaw cycles is established; (2) As the number of freeze-thaw cycles increases, the ITZ's micromechanical strength decreases, and its development width tends to increase; (3) The damage and debonding evolution mechanisms of sandstone-concrete ITZ under freeze-thaw cycles is revealed, and its micromechanical evolution model induced by freeze-thaw cycles is proposed.

  • A nonlinear interface structural damage model between ice crystal and frozen clay soil
  • Sheng Shi,Feng Zhang,KangWei Tang,DeCheng Feng,XuFeng Lu
  • DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1226.2021.20050
  • 2021, Vol.13 (2): 150–166 Abstract ( 96) HTML ( 13698) PDF (10701 KB) ( 274 )
  • The shear properties of ice-frozen soil interface are important when studying the constitutive model of frozen soil and slope stability in cold regions. In this research, a series of cryogenic direct shear tests for ice-frozen clay soil interface were conducted. Based on experimental results, a nonlinear interface structural damage model is proposed to describe the shear properties of ice-frozen clay soil interface. Firstly, the cementation and friction structural properties of frozen soil materials were analyzed, and a structural parameter of the ice-frozen clay soil interface is proposed based on the cryogenic direct shear test results. Secondly, a structural coefficient ratio is proposed to describe the structural development degree of ice-frozen clay soil interface under load, which is able to normalize the shear stress of ice-frozen clay soil interface, and the normalized data can be described by the Duncan-Chang model. Finally, the tangent stiffness of ice-frozen clay soil interface is calculated, which can be applied to the mechanics analysis of frozen soil. Also, the shear stress of ice-frozen clay soil interface calculated by the proposed model is compared with test results.

  • Possible controlling factors in the development of seasonal sand wedges on the Ordos Plateau, North China
  • Hugh M. French,Jef Vandenberghe,HuiJun Jin,RuiXia He
  • DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1226.2021.20095
  • 2021, Vol.13 (2): 167–176 Abstract ( 167) HTML ( 14878) PDF (6723 KB) ( 96 )
  • Wedge-like structures filled with silty sand penetrate Quaternary fluvial and aeolian sediments and, in places, Tertiary bedrock on the Ordos Plateau, North China. The wedges reflect thermal contraction cracking of either permafrost or seasonal frost during the Late Pleistocene and early Holocene. Wedges of about 1 m in depth form polygonal nets of 2-3 m in diameter (type B). They contrast with wedges of 3-4 m in depth that form polygons of 10-15 m in diameter (type A). This review focuses upon the highly variable size of the inferred polygon nets and discusses the problem of differentiating between seasonally and perennially frozen ground, or between seasonal frost and permafrost.