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Laboratory Investigation of the Use of Geotextiles to Mitigate Frost Heave
COLD REGIONS RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING LAB HANOVER NH
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Frost action beneath pavements can lead to several problems, including thaw weakening, which leads to cracking and subsequent pumping of fine soil particles onto the surface, as well as hazardous conditions caused by differential heaving. This study used data and frost-susceptible soil collected at Ravalli County Airport, Hamilton, Montana, to study the use of geotextiles to mitigate frost heave. The ability of geotextiles to reduce frost heave in subgrade material by creating a capillary break was assessed by inserting disks of fabric in soil samples and subjecting them to laboratory frost heave tests. Frost heave tests were also conducted to classify the frost-susceptibilities of soils at the airport. Soil moisture characteristics and unsaturated hydraulic conductivities were determined for soils tested as well as for one of the geotextiles used. Results of the laboratory investigation indicate that certain geotextiles show promise for use as capillary breaks. In laboratory tests, the presence of geotextiles led to the reduction of frost heave by amounts up to about 60. It is speculated that the capillary break action provided by the geotextile is attributable to the pore size and structure of the material and the surface properties of the fibers.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE