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Evaluation of Insulated Pavements to Prevent Frost Damage

Corporate Author:

Engineer Research and Development Center Hanover United States

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Frost heaving is a constant burden on any facility in cold regions, causing accelerated deterioration of roadways and annual maintenance, leading to costly re-pairs. Insulated pavements have been demonstrated as cost effective in several civilian locations, and have shown exceptional resistance to compression and water absorption. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of insulated pavement in eliminating the impact of frost action on roadways for the purpose of reducing annual roadway maintenance and redefining the standards governing its application. An insulating layer of extruded polystyrene XPS was installed in a section of road at Fort McCoy, WI. The monthly temperature and moisture content gradients were compared between the insulated and non-insulated pavements. The change in elastic moduli was also compared between the two pavement sections over the 2017 2018 winter freeze and spring thaw cycle. The insulating layer was shown to be effective in preventing frost from penetrating the subgrade. Temperatures remained above freezing in the subgrade throughout the winter. The vertical moisture gradient demonstrated minimal signs of frost penetration. The presence of a high water table beneath the test pavement sections are believed to have affected the strength of the subgrade, especially through the post spring thaw recovery period.

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report



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Distribution Statement:

Approved For Public Release;

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