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Influence of Soil Heterogeneity on the Behavior of Frozen Soil Slope under Freeze-Thaw Cycles

Kang Liu, Yanqiao Wang*
School of Civil Engineering, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei, 230009, China
* Corresponding Author: Yanqiao Wang. Email:

Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences 2022, 131(1), 119-135.

Received 05 July 2021; Accepted 22 October 2021; Issue published 24 January 2022


Soil slope stability in seasonally frozen regions is a challenging problem for geotechnical engineers. The freeze-thaw process of soil slope caused by the temperature fluctuation increases the difficulty in predicting the slope stability because the soil property is influenced by the freeze-thaw cycle. In addition, the frozen soil, which has ice crystal, ice lens and experienced freeze-thaw process, could present stronger heterogeneity. Previous research has not investigated the combined effect of soil heterogeneity and freeze-thaw cycle. This paper studies the influence of soil heterogeneity on the stability of frozen soil slope under freeze-thaw cycles. The local average subdivision (LAS) is utilized to model the soil heterogeneity. A typical slope geometry has been chosen and analysed as an illustrative example and the strength reduction method is used to calculate the factor of safety (FOS) of slope. It has been found that when the temperature is steady, the FOS of the frozen soil slope is influenced by the spatial variability of the thermal conductivity, but the influence is not significant. When the standard deviation and the SOF of the thermal conductivity increase, the mean of the FOS is equal to the FOS of the homogeneous case and the standard deviation of the FOS also increases. After the frozen soil goes through freeze-thaw process, the FOS of the frozen soil slope decreases due to the reduction in the cohesion and the internal friction angle caused by the freeze-thaw cycles. Furthermore, the decreasing ratio of the FOS becomes more scattered after the 5th freeze-thaw cycle compared to that of the FOS after the 1st freeze-thaw cycle. The larger variability of the FOS could induce inaccuracy in the prediction of the frozen soil slope stability.


Factor of safety (FOS); freeze-thaw cycle; frozen soil slope; soil heterogeneity; thermal conductivity

Cite This Article

Liu, K., Wang, Y. (2022). Influence of Soil Heterogeneity on the Behavior of Frozen Soil Slope under Freeze-Thaw Cycles. CMES-Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences, 131(1), 119–135.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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