Published: 2016-12-19

Recapitulation of research on frost susceptibility of unbound mixtures for pavement structures

Michał Ćwiąkała , Beata Gajewska , Cezary Kraszewski , Leszek Rafalski


The impact of frost, i.e. minus temperatures and cycles of freezing and thawing, has a significant influence on road surfaces in cold or even temperate climate. In order to ensure the bearing capacity and durability of a pavement construction in places where freezing temperatures occur, it is necessary to use materials that are resistant to the harmful effects of frost, which can cause the phenomenon of frost heave. Frost heaves provoke adverse volume changes, the rising of a surface after freezing and a significant reduction of a structure's bearing capacity after thawing, which may even result in the cracking of roads. This article presents an overview of the methods of determining frost susceptibility, as well as the criteria of the frost susceptibility of soils and aggregates. It also summarizes the results of laboratory tests of unbound road mixtures made of natural aggregates for road pavements. Parts of this research have been previously presented at scientific conferences. Fourteen unbound mixtures of natural aggregates with a continuous granulation of 0/31.5 mm were subjected to tests. Frost susceptibility was determined on the basis of laboratory tests of the following properties: the content of fine fractions < 0.002 mm, < 0.02 mm, < 0.075 mm, plastic limit wP, liquid limit wL, plasticity index IP, sand equivalent SE4, methylene blue MBF and also the real value of frost heave FH of the compacted aggregate mixture subjected to freezing in a cylinder. On the basis of these tests the usefulness of methods and criteria, which are used in Poland and the rest of the world for evaluating the frost susceptibility of unbound aggregates, was analysed.


aggregate, frost heave, frost susceptibility, unbound mixture, subbase layer, subgrade

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Ćwiąkała, M., Gajewska, B., Kraszewski, C., & Rafalski, L. (2016). Recapitulation of research on frost susceptibility of unbound mixtures for pavement structures. Roads and Bridges - Drogi I Mosty, 15(4), 285–300.

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