Suggested best practice for geotechnical characterisation of permafrost in the Nordic countries

Frederik Ancker Agergaard, Thomas Ingeman-Nielsen, Niels Nielsen Foged

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


Even though permafrost is a specialty within Nordic geotechnical engineering, engineers and researcher will be faced with managing the consequences of projected climatic influences to construction design in permafrost areas. This requires the determination of the frozen soil engineering properties largely influenced by the content of ice in the soil. This paper presents and discusses different methodologies for laboratory determination of the soil bulk density, ice content, unfrozen water content, strength and deformation properties as well as thermal properties from frozen soil core samples. It is proposed that a best practice for permafrost characterisation employs sample volume determination based on the Archimedes principle and that ice contents are presented as the volume fraction of excess ice to the frozen sample volume. Furthermore, direct measurements of unfrozen water content and thermal properties should be preferred, while soil residual salinity should always be determined. The procedure for determination of strength and deformation properties should be subject to projected soil temperature at end of construction service lifetime.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Nordic Geotechnical Meeting
Publication date2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventNordic Geotechnical Meeting - Tivoli Congress Center, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 9 May 201212 May 2012
Conference number: 16


ConferenceNordic Geotechnical Meeting
LocationTivoli Congress Center
Internet address


  • Laboratory tests
  • Codes of practice & standards
  • Snow ice and frost
  • Thermal effects
  • Strength and testing of materials


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  • Nordic Geotechnical Meeting

    Frederik Ancker Agergaard (Speaker)

    9 May 201212 May 2012

    Activity: Talks and presentationsConference presentations

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