Frost Heave and the Surface Melting of Ice

  • J. G. Dash
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSB, volume 267)


Ice is the most common substance exhibiting premelting phenomena. Observations by a variety of experimental techniques have shown that liquid water persists in porous media, to temperatures as low as –40° C. The melting of ice at surfaces has extremely important consequences in the environment, including the low frictional resistance of ice, the sintering of snow, and the creep of glaciers. There are serious non equilibrium effects associated with the persistence of liquid water at subzero temperatures; migration of this water under temperature gradients accounts for frost heave, which damages man made structures and acts as an agent for extensive geological change in temperate and subpolar climates. The causes of the persistence of unfrozen water and its migration in temperature gradients have been actively debated for many years, but a considerable advance in their explanation can be made in terms of recent developments in the fundamental theory of surface melting. This paper reviews the environmental effects and laboratory studies, and discusses the phenomena in the context of the physics of surface melting.


Proximity Effect Surface Melting Interfacial Free Energy Subzero Temperature Unfrozen Water 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. G. Dash
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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