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Laboratory Assessment of the Impact of Freeze-Thaw-Cycling on Sandy-Clay Soil

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Paul Hughes, Dr Ross Stirling, Professor Stephanie Glendinning



This is the final published version of a conference proceedings (inc. abstract) published in its final definitive form in 2019. For re-use rights please refer to the publishers terms and conditions.


Understanding the mechanisms of engineered soil slope degradation is essential for efficient management and maintenance of transport infrastructure networks. In temperate zones such as the United Kingdom recent research has focussed on the impacts of cycles of wetting and drying on hydraulic and mechanical properties though less attention has been given to temperature cycling. This paper investigates the impact of freeze-thaw-cycles (FTCs) on the shear strength, stiffness and soil water retention properties of a UK Glacial Till. X-ray computed tomography (XRCT) scanning was used to identify soil fabric changes linked to changes in soil properties. Scans revealed progressive cracking and potential pore redistribution as the number of FTCs increased. Repeated FTCs led to lower soil suctions, shear strengths and stiffness. After 6 FTCs, the soil had lost: significant suction potential, 32% of its original shear strength and 14% of its original stiffness. The research suggests that in the case of the soil studied, suction reductions were the dominant factor behind FTCs’ influence over soil strength with cracking being a lesser component. Similarities have been identified between the effects of FTCs and repeated wetting and drying.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hughes PN, Margrave-Jones S, Huang C, Dobson K, Toll DG, Stirling RA, Glendinning S

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: XVII European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering 2019

Year of Conference: 2019

Pages: 1-8

Print publication date: 02/09/2019

Online publication date: 02/09/2019

Acceptance date: 01/02/2019

Date deposited: 11/09/2019


DOI: 10.32075/17ECSMGE-2019-1014

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9789935943613