Natural Hazards

, Volume 72, Issue 2, pp 287–308 | Cite as

Moisture–temperature changes and freeze–thaw hazards on a canal in seasonally frozen regions

  • Shuangyang LiEmail author
  • Yuanming Lai
  • Wansheng Pei
  • Shujuan Zhang
  • Hua Zhong
Original Paper


Freeze–thaw action is a complex moisture–heat-mechanics interaction process, which has caused prevailing and severe damages to canals in seasonally frozen regions. Up to now, the detailed frost damage mechanism has not been well disclosed. To explore the freeze–thaw damage mechanism of the canal in cold regions, a numerical moisture–heat-mechanics model is established and corresponding computer program is written. Then, a representative canal in the northeast of China is taken as an example to simulate the freeze–thaw damage process. Meanwhile, the robustness of the numerical model and program is tested by some in situ data. Lastly, the numerical results show that there are dramatic water migration and redistribution in the seasonal freeze–thaw variation layer, causing repetitive frost heave and thaw settlement, and tension–compression stresses. Therefore, the strengths of soil are reduced after several freeze–thaw cycles. Further, the heavy denudation damage and downslope movement of the canal slope would be quite likely triggered in seasonally frozen regions. These zones should be monitored closely to ensure safe operation. As a preliminary study, the numerical model and results in this paper may be a reference for design, maintenance, and research on other canals in seasonally frozen regions.


Canal Seasonally frozen regions Frozen ground Frost heave Thaw settlement Numerical model 



This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41101068, 41230630, 41301072), the CAS Action-Plan for West Development (KZCX2-XB3-19), the Knowledge Innovation Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KZCX2-EW-QN301), the Ministry of Water Resource’s Special Funds for Scientific Research on Public Causes (201001027), and the Foundation of State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering (SKLFSE-ZQ-03).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shuangyang Li
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yuanming Lai
    • 1
  • Wansheng Pei
    • 1
  • Shujuan Zhang
    • 1
  • Hua Zhong
    • 2
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research InstituteChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina
  2. 2.Heilongjiang Provincial Hydraulic Research InstituteHarbinChina

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