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Water vapor movement in freezing aggregate base materials.
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Water vapor movement in freezing aggregate base materials.
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    The objectives of this research were to 1) measure the extent to which water vapor movement results in water accumulation in freezing base materials; 2) evaluate the effect of soil stabilization on water vapor movement in freezing base materials; 3) determine if the corresponding changes in water content are sufficient to cause frost heave during winter; 4) determine if the corresponding changes in water content are sufficient to cause reductions in stiffness during spring; 5) evaluate relationships between selected material properties, freezing conditions, and the occurrence and impact of water vapor movement; and 6) numerically simulate heat and water movement in selected pavement design scenarios. The research involved extensive laboratory and field testing, statistical analyses, and numerical modeling. For a pavement section with a base layer underlain by a capillary barrier, water vapor movement may be expected to increase the water content of the base layer by 1 to 3 percent during a typical winter season in northern Utah, with the effect of stabilization depending on the soil properties. Accumulation of water from long-term water vapor movement into a frost-susceptible base material can lead to frost heave of the base layer as it approaches saturation but may not cause measurable increases in thaw weakening of the base layer during spring. Because water in the base layer cannot drain until nearly reaching positive pore pressures, only non-frostsusceptible base materials should be specified for use in cold climates in conjunction with capillary barriers, and the base material should be assumed to remain in a saturated condition during the entire service life of the pavement.
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