The Causes of Ice Lens Formation in Soils

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TypeTechnical Report
Series titleTechnical Translation, National Research Council Canada; Volume 934
Physical description16 p.
SubjectPermafrost; Soils; ice; water; freezing; frost heaving; soil mechanics; frozen soils
AbstractWhenever a soil of suitable texture and structure and with sufficient water content freezes slowly, the equilibrium between the amount of water in the film and the boundary- surface forces are disturbed in the film situated between the ice and the soil substance. The disturbance results in the loss of liquid water by the film to the ice and this increases the size of the ice lens. The disturbance in the film is immediately compensated, because the boundary- surface forces keep the amount of water in the film constant. The compensation is brought about by the movement of water from the unfrozen soil to the film. Because the liquid film, as such, retains a constant thickness the part which becomes ice must be displaced. Thus ice lens formation and growth, water displacement and ground heaving come about as different aspects of a single event. The mechanical work performed during this event is done substantially by the boundary-surface forces of the two boundary surfaces, that between the ice and the water film and that between the water film and the soil particles.
Publication date
AffiliationNRC Institute for Research in Construction; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedNo
NRC number457
NPARC number20358789
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Record identifier86acdb32-54cf-4a95-9305-ac91d0f7a42e
Record created2012-07-20
Record modified2016-10-03
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