Frost susceptibility of granular subbase materials contaminated by deicing chemicals

Anders Stuhr Jørgensen, Tobias Orlander, Guy Doré

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


The increase in urban population in arctic areas leads to an increased demand for transportation infrastructures (such as roads and airfields) in the regions. This challenges the road constructions in terms of condition, bearing capacity and maintenance. It is believed that deicing agents used on roads and airfields enter the granular subbase materials and thereby makes the soil more frost-susceptible. In this project a series of isothermal frost heave tests has been carried out on granular subbase material from the runway at Kuujjuaq Airport, Québec, Canada. The tests have been carried out in order to determine the frost susceptibility of the material when it is contaminated by a deicing agent. Two series of three freezing tests with isothermal cooling has been conducted using identical saline gradient added through brine. Two types of cooling ramp, an automatic cooling and a manual cooling, were used in order to determine any influence from the cooling ramp. The tests included settings that allowed the samples additional brine during freezing. Hence, the water and salinity were measured before and after the tests in order to determine the redistribution of water and salinity. The test results do not support the theory that a saline gradient effectively can replace a thermal gradient and create favorable conditions for frost heave. There was no evidence of ice segregation during the tests. During freezing, heave of maximum 0.02 % was observed which, however, is not considered to be caused by ice segregation, but rather a volume increase by fusion caused by a small amount of pore water. The direction of the frost front could not be determined from the collected test results, and no reduction in bearing capacity or increase in frost susceptibility can be derived from the collected data on the granular subbase material.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationISCORD 2013 : Planning for Sustainable Cold Regions
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers
Publication date2013
ISBN (Print)9780784477892
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event10th International Symposium on Cold Regions Development: Planning for Sustainable Cold Regions - Anchorage, United States
Duration: 2 Jun 20135 Jun 2013
Conference number: 10


Conference10th International Symposium on Cold Regions Development
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Frost susceptibility
  • Frost heave
  • Deicing
  • Deicing chemical


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