Research@Mines Archive:
January, 2022

Mines Scientists Study Methods to Control Ice Formation in Soils

Dr. Tejo Bheemasetti, a civil and environmental engineering department faculty member, works in a South Dakota Mines laboratory on an Environmental Triaxial Testing System, used to deep freeze and heat samples to examine the stresses created by the freeze thaw cycle on treated soils.

Water expands when it freezes. This simple yet fundamental fact of nature can lead to cracks in building foundations, crumbling roads and huge rocks that fall onto canyon roadways from the cliffs above.

Past research into this problem has shown that when the ground freezes tiny pockets of ice trapped in the soil expands. This can create what is known as frost-heave in the winter and in the spring, when ground thaws it creates thaw-weakening settlement. Over time this freeze-thaw cycle causes damage to the ground and poses major challenges for human made structures, like bridges, dams, pipelines, buildings, roads and homes. Each year, the freeze-thaw cycle leads to billions of dollars in mitigation and repair costs around the world.

Now, a team of scientists and engineers at South Dakota Mines has received $453,000 in funding from the National Science Foundation to seek solutions to these problems.

“We are trying to understand more about the fundamentals of ice formation underground and if there are natural methods that we can use to stop or control the ground from freezing,” says Tejo V. Bheemasetti, Ph.D., assistant professor in the civil and environmental engineering department at South Dakota Mines.

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Last Edited 2/16/2022 06:56:13 PM [Comments (0)]

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