Innovative Construction Materials for Cold Regions Applications
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. For instance, thawing of susceptible soils leads to frost heave (vertical uplift) and 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.
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 be more flexible to handle differential heave and settlement caused by variations in temperature. To solve these challenges in cold regions, a total of seven research projects were funded by the United States Department of Defense (USDoD). The objective of these projects include:
- Finite Element Response of Soils at All-Temperatures (FROST) for Cold Regions Pavement Design: The goal of this project is develop and validate a finite element model for predicting frost depth in soils and mechanistic responses of soils and unbound pavement layers.
- Insulated Pavements: The goal of this project is to develop more cost-effective, readily implementable materials for insulating pavements. Having such materials will be useful in preventing damage due to changes in permafrost terrain and minimize that associated with differential permafrost thaw settlements.
- Highly Elastic Asphalt Binders for Cold Regions: Develop asphalt binders for constructing flexible pavements that are capable of withstanding the harsh cold arctic and subarctic environments.
- Fiber-Reinforced Asphalt Mixtures: This project aims at improving and/or developing new methodologies for introducing fibers to reinforce asphalt mixtures.
- Cold Weather Concrete (CWC) for Structural Applications: Develop new Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC) for use of CWC in structural applications. CRREL has developed this material for use in the arctic and subarctic regions; however, there are currently no UFC that governs the usage of this materials in structural applications.
- Conductive Cold Weather Concrete: Develop a conduct cold weather concrete for horizontal and vertical infrastructure applications.
- Cold Compaction of Hot Mix Asphalt Using Frequency Vibrations: Evaluate the potential of using high frequency vibrations for compacting hot mix asphalt at cold and warm temperatures.