Development of Innovative Materials and Methods to Solve United States Department of Defense (DoD) Horizontal Infrastructure Challenges in Cold Regions
The United States Department of Defense (DoD) implementation plan for the National Strategy for the Arctic Region outlines various needs that must be addressed along with a number of engineering challenges that must be solved in order to construct, maintain, and retrofit horizontal and vertical infrastructure in cold regions. Seasonal variations in the state of the ground in cold regions, as well as climatic trends that are causing significant variations in loads on the built environment, require the DoD to adapt with new engineering methods. In addition to climate change, natural and man-made disturbances (e.g. wild fires, construction operations, nearby structures) can result in an increase in the annual thaw depth, with unstable differential settlement and subsequent damage to the infrastructure. Furthermore, thaw susceptible soils undergo numerous freeze-thaw cycles, leading to frost heave (vertical uplift) and thaw weakening of the soil foundations. Adaptive construction techniques and innovative materials are; therefore, needed to evolve infrastructure and to address the challenges of a changing physical environment. This will equip the DoD the ability to rapidly increase and sustain presence in austere, cold regions environments.
The asphalt and concrete pavements built in cold regions must not only be designed by developing innovative and sustainable materials, but also need pavement structures that can withstand heavy aircraft loading and more flexible to handle differential heave and settlement caused by variations in temperature. To solve these challenges, a total of three research projects are proposed. These projects will directly benefit the horizontal infrastructure being constructed in cold regions. The first of these projects focuses on extending the pavement life by installing a geogrid within the pavement to withstand cold temperatures due to frost heave. The second project focuses on designing sustainable materials that can help reduce construction cost in cold regions, and the third project is to develop efficient and cost-effective cold-in-place recycling methodologies to maintain the infrastructure in cold regions. The objectives of these projects are summarized as follows:
- Project No. 1: Evaluation of Geogrid Reinforced Airfield Pavements. This project will be initiated with the objective of quantifying, using full-scale accelerated pavement testing, the potential benefits for the use of geogrids as a reinforcing material in heavily trafficked airfield flexible pavements.
- Project No. 2: Long-Term Performance of Sustainable Pavements Using Ternary Blended Concrete Mixtures with Recycled Concrete Aggregates. This project aim at increasing the use of recycled concrete aggregates (RCA) through Portland cement concrete (PCC) mixture development and long-term performance verification. Thus, developing less-expensive, longer lasting concrete pavements.
- Project No. 3: Full-Scale Field Evaluation of Cold In-Place Recycling (CIPR) Performance under Heavy Traffic. The overall goal of this study is evaluate the relative performance of Cold In-Place Recycling (CIPR) technologies implemented by state Departments of Transportation (state DOTs) in northeastern United States under heavy traffic conditions.