A Thermal Analysis of Pavement Thawing

by Mary Rutherford, Univ of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA,
Joe P. Mahoney, Univ of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Cold Regions Engineering


This research focuses on identifying the spring thawing period for the purpose of timing load restrictions on low to medium volume roads in frost-susceptible areas. Cases evaluated include freezing indices ranging from 400 to 2,000 degree F-days. Four multilayered pavement sections were analyzed for mean annual temperatures ranging from 40 to 50 degree F. The analysis includes the effects of surface temperature variation, free and forced convection and radiation. The results suggest that pavement thawing begins when air temperatures are typically between 29 and 30 degree F. Thawing in pavement structures with fine subgrades was best predicted using the thawing index. In addition, some comparisons are shown for depth of freezing using the finite element program TDHC and Multilayered Modified Berggren.

Subject Headings: Thermal analysis | Freeze and thaw | Pavements | Temperature effects | Finite element method | Asphalt pavements | Soil analysis | Load factors

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