SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 26 August 2013

Characteristics of Chicago Blue Clay Subjected to a Freeze–Thaw Cycle


This paper presents the preliminary results of a laboratory study on the impact of one freeze–thaw cycle on the engineering properties of natural samples of Chicago Blue Clay (CBC). Freezing was performed in a closed system with freezing occurring simultaneously in all directions. Two types of consolidation tests were performed: incremental loading and long-term compression under a constant load. These tests were performed on specimens subjected to a cycle of freeze–thaw with results compared to tests on CBC in its natural state. For constant load consolidation tests, freezing and subsequent thaw of specimens was performed under the applied stress. Additionally, the Atterberg limits of CBC, in its natural state and after one freeze–thaw cycle, were also determined. Based on the test results in this study, it is clear that one cycle of freezing and thawing impacts both the consolidation behavior and limits of the samples. Specifically, for both the incremental and constant loading tests there is a significant increase (between 25 % and 40 %) in settlement during consolidation versus results of tests on CBC in its natural state. There is also a notable increase in the virgin compression ratio (Cc) and coefficient of consolidation (cv) upon thawing. Results of Atterberg limits indicate a decrease in the CBC's liquid limit that explains, in part, the increase in cv. Overall, the results indicate that the freezing and subsequent thawing of CBC has a severe impact on its consolidation behavior. The writers recommend that more testing be performed to verify and expand on the results determined from this preliminary evaluation.

Author Information

Swan, Christopher W.
Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts Univ., Medford, MA, US
Grant, Alex
Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts Univ., Medford, MA, US
Kody, Alyssa
Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts Univ., Medford, MA, US
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 22–32
DOI: 10.1520/STP156820130015
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-7577-8
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-7556-3