In‐Situ Observation of Cracks in Frozen Soil using Synchrotron Tomography (English)

In: Permafrost and Periglacial Processes   ;  23 ,  2  ;  170-176  ;  2012

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Phase‐contrast synchrotron micro‐computed tomography (μCT) is well suited to studying the microstructure of frozen soil. To take advantage of the high‐resolution three‐dimensional images that can be generated using μCT, a specialised in‐situ rig was designed and commissioned. This miniature temperature‐controlled oedometer is capable of controlling soil sample thermal gradients and applying uniaxial deformation while measuring stress. This system was used to apply repeated freeze‐thaw cycles to water‐saturated samples of Leighton Buzzard sand, Reigate sand and spherical glass ballotini (an idealised soil). High‐resolution images were obtained using a monochromatic, parallel beam of x‐rays generated on Beamline I12 of the Diamond synchrotron. Cracking in the ice was directly measured utilising the phase‐contrast fringes generated by ice‐air interfaces. Examination of these images revealed two modes of crack formation in the ice phase of frozen soil: micro‐cracks between soil particles, and longer, well‐developed cracks that follow along ice‐soil particle boundaries and span across the ice between particles. Both crack types were orientated parallel to the freezing front (normal to the heat flow), affecting both the frozen soils' mechanical behaviour, and we hypothesise that these cracks are potential initiation sites for ice lens development. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Table of contents – Volume 23, Issue 2

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91
Origin and Flow Dynamics of Perennial Groundwater in Continuous Permafrost Terrain using Isotopes and Noble Gases: Case Study of the Fishing Branch River, Northern Yukon, Canada
Utting, Nicholas / Clark, Ian / Lauriol, Bernard / Wieser, Martin / Aeschbach‐Hertig, Werner | 2012
107
Internal Structure of a Lithalsa in the Akkol Valley, Russian Altai Mountains
Iwahana, Go / Fukui, Kotaro / Mikhailov, Nikolai / Ostanin, Oleg / Fujii, Yoshiyuki | 2012
119
The Impact of Permafrost Disturbances and Sediment Loading on the Limnological Characteristics of Two High Arctic Lakes
Dugan, Hilary A. / Lamoureux, Scott F. / Lewis, Ted / Lafrenière, Melissa J. | 2012
127
Rock Glacier Activity in the Retezat Mountains, Southern Carpathians, Romania
Vespremeanu‐Stroe, Alfred / Urdea, Petru / Popescu, Răzvan / Vasile, Mirela | 2012
138
Active Layer Characteristics At Ten Borehole Sites In Alpine Permafrost Terrain, Switzerland
Zenklusen Mutter, Evelyn / Phillips, Marcia | 2012
152
Earth Hummocks in West Dartmoor, SW England: Characteristics, Age and Origin
Killingbeck, James / Ballantyne, Colin K. | 2012
162
Soil Organic Carbon and Its Relationship to Vegetation Communities and Soil Properties in Permafrost Areas of the Central Western Qinghai‐Tibet Plateau, China
Wu, Xiaodong / Zhao, Lin / Chen, Meijun / Fang, Hongbing / Yue, Guangyang / Chen, Ji / Pang, Qiangqiang / Wang, Zhiwei / Ding, Yongjian | 2012
170
In‐Situ Observation of Cracks in Frozen Soil using Synchrotron Tomography
Bhreasail, Á. Ní / Lee, P. D. / O'Sullivan, C. / Fenton, C. H. / Hamilton, R. / Rockett, P. / Connolley, T. | 2012
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