BA8622 - Design of Roads and Railways in Cold Climate


Lessons are not given in the academic year 2023/2024

Course content

The course will not be given 2023/2024.

•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

Knowledge •Basic principles of road and railway design Skills •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

Admission to a programme of study is required:
Engineering (PHIV)

Required previous knowledge

If you wish to follow the course the semester it runs, but are not affiliated with the PhD programme in Engineering, please contact

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



Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Building and Construction Engineering
  • Highway Engineering
Contact information

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


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