BA8622 - Design of Roads and Railways in Cold Climate


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Portfolio assessment
Grade: Passed/Failed

Evaluation form Weighting Duration Examination aids Grade deviation
Oral examination 15/100 D
work 15/100
Approved report 20/100
Home examination 50/100

Course content

•Basic pavement design (strength, stress and structural design)
•Basic railway design
•Freezing of soils
•Heat transfer mechanisms (conduction, convection/advection, radiation)
•Thaw weakening and related pavement damages
•Frost mitigation (insulation materials, drainage)
•Pavement and ballast design with protection against frost heave
•Materials used in the frost protection layers (crushed rocks, lightweight materials)
•Roads and railways maintenance and operation
•Rehabilitation of exisiting roads
•Laboratory methods (frost heave test)
•Field investigation methods
•Modelling: calculation of thermal regime in soils and pavements by using Temp-W from Geoslope.
•Adaptation to climate change

Learning outcome

•Basic principles of road and railway design

•Design a road/railway in cold climate
•Characterize the climate load for a project
•Identify deterioration mechanisms and choose appropriate materials
•Perform thermal modeling
•Collaborate in an interdisciplinary team of geoscientists and engineers
•Respond with innovative solutions to cold regions transportation issues
•Carry out field and lab work related to frost action

General competences
•Designing a road/railway in cold climate using TEMP/W
•Good judgment on the best method of mitigation to use

Learning methods and activities

Two online learning modules are mandatory as course preparation and need to be achieved during the month of September to allow more time on practical field aspects of frozen ground science and engineering during the intensive course. These online modules will focus on heat transfer and freezing-thawing soil mechanics.

MODULE 1: HEAT TRANSFER (2-13 SEPTEMBER 2019, 9 hours of lecture and 9 hours of personal work)

The module introduce the students to the basics of heat transfer in freezing soils. Conduction, convection and radiation heat transfer mechanisms as well as phase change and enthalpy are covered. Thermo-physical properties of soils and construction materials are presented including various prediction models available from the literature. Effects of insulation layers in road structures are also discussed in terms of frost protection and risk of differential surface icing.

MODULE 2: FREEZING-THAWING SOIL MECHANICS (16-27 SEPTEMBER 2019, 9 hours of lecture and 9 hours of personal work)

This module introduce the students to the mechanics of freezing, frozen and thawing soils. It includes basic information on freezing soils: the mechanics of frost heave and the strength, stiffness and deformation characteristics of frozen soils. The module discuss the movement of water in freezing and frozen soils, with attention given to the unfrozen water content in fine-grained soils (silts and clays) at temperatures below 0 °C and the resulting hydraulic conductivity of these materials. This module also presents the thaw consolidation theory and the settlement behavior of ice-rich soils as frozen ground thaws.

10 places are available for professionals. Places will be awarded to the first registered participants.

Compulsory assignments

  • Attendance 80%

Further on evaluation

Quizzes on the 2 online modules, homework including writing a paper for international publishing, oral presentation during the workshop, home exam.

Specific conditions

Exam registration requires that class registration is approved in the same semester. Compulsory activities from previous semester may be approved by the department.

Required previous knowledge

Course materials

•Cold Regions Pavement Engineering (Doré and Zubeck)
•Additional lecture notes for topics not covered in the book
•TEMP/W software from GEOSLOPE

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Doctoral degree level


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  AUTUMN 2020

Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Highway Engineering
Contact information
Course coordinator: Lecturer(s):

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering



Examination arrangement: Portfolio assessment

Term Status code Evaluation form Weighting Examination aids Date Time Digital exam Room *
Autumn ORD work 15/100
Room Building Number of candidates
Autumn ORD Oral examination 15/100 D
Room Building Number of candidates
Autumn ORD Approved report 20/100
Room Building Number of candidates
Autumn ORD Home examination 50/100 INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

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