A numerical study of a highway embankment on degrading permafrost
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In this research, two comprehensive numerical models were developed using ABAQUS/CAE Finite Element (FE) software: 1) geothermal model, and 2) coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical model. In the first model, a purely heat transfer analysis was performed to reproduce the conditions at the site and investigate the subsurface thermal regime beneath the road embankment. The existence of a frozen section (frost bulb) underneath the embankment and its size and location were investigated by the model. The second model concentrated on the mechanical behaviour of the road embankment. Temperature-dependent thermal and mechanical properties were used for all the materials. Model parameters were calibrated using the results of the triaxial and oedometer tests which have been conducted by previous researchers. A fully-coupled and a sequentially-coupled analysis were conducted. The results of the two analyses were compared to each other and to the field measurements.