Title Thermal modeling of roadway embankments over permafrost
Author Darrow, M.M.
Author Affil Darrow, M.M., University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK
Source Cold Regions Science and Technology, 65(3), p.474-487, . Publisher: Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands. ISSN: 0165- 232X
Publication Date Mar. 2011
Notes In English. Based on Publisher- supplied data GeoRef Acc. No: 309950
Index Terms active layer; air temperature; climatic change; degradation; design; embankments; foundations; global change; global warming; models; permafrost; soils; soil temperature; temperature; thermal regime; United States--Alaska; air; Alaska; climate change; depth; finite element analysis; roads; two-dimensional models; United States
Abstract Thermal degradation of permafrost beneath embankments is an on-going problem in highway design. In recent years, engineers with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities have used a commercially available, two-dimensional finite element model to determine the embankment's effect on the thermal regime of the foundation soils; however, the modeling was done with historic air temperature data and input parameters derived from the literature, rather than site-specific data. Temperatures and soil properties were measured at two different research sites in Alaska to compare against model results. A sensitivity analysis of certain input parameters was conducted on the model for each site. Analysis of the model results indicates that the most critical input parameter is the surface boundary condition, which is separated into air temperature and modifying n-factors. Using site-specific air temperature data resulted in models that closely matched the measured soil temperatures, and either matched or overestimated the active layer depths. If used for design purposes, the thermal modeling would result in a more conservative embankment construction, which is favorable if a warming climate is considered.
URL http://hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.coldregions.2010.11.001
Publication Type journal article
Record ID 65006902