Numerical Analysis of Frost Shields

by Barry Coutermarsh, U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and, Engineering Lab, Hanover, United States,
Gary Phetteplace, U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and, Engineering Lab, Hanover, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Cold Regions Engineering


The term 'frost sheilding' has been used to describe the practice of using flat stock rigid insulation materials burial above a water or sewer pipe to reduce the depth of frost penetration. This allows burial depth to be reduced, resulting in significant savings in some cases. A finite element heat transfer program has been developed to assess the practicality of these techniques by allowing the designer to model frost penetration using different burial depths, insulation schemes and backfill materials around the utility line. The information obtained can then be used to perform an economic analysis on the possible schemes to determine the most cost-effective solution to the problem. The paper discusses the program's development and rationale. It also discusses the particulars of finite element modeling and the necessary precautions that must be followed when this method is used. Verification is demonstrated by numerical approximation with analytical solutions and by presenting actual frost penetration data obtained under controlled conditions in CRREL's Frost Effects Research Facility. Some sample results for promising frost shield applications are presented as well as an example of the cost savings possible.

Subject Headings: Finite element method | Numerical analysis | Frost | Buried pipes | Pipe materials | Water pipelines | Sewers | Backfills

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