Pavement and Foundation Heave Protection Solutions


Protecting foundations and pavement structures from frost heave with geocell reinforcement

When it reaches a temperature of 4 degrees Celsius, water begins to expand by approximately 10% as it turns to ice. The force of that expansion will be exerted in any direction available, and create frost heave in overlying structures. Using geocell technology in structural foundations can provide foundation heave protection and eliminate damage due to expanding ice.

Frost heave can also weaken pavement structure, crack road surfaces and contribute to pothole formation.  It can also damage foundations for buildings, homes and other load-bearing supports such as column bases and pylons.

Frost heave is most often found at the following locations:

  • Transitions from cut to fill
  • Where ditches are inadequate or non-existent
  • Over culvert pipes
  • Adjacent to driveways that dam roadside ditches and/or collect water
  • Wherever there is an abrupt change in subgrade material

In addition, silty clay soils widely encountered in our northern climate are considered among the most frost-susceptible, and are inherently prone to frost heave. Because of the extremely small size of its particles, or gradation, silty soils and certain clays (depending on plasticity) permit and encourage the flow of water by capillary action.

Geocell reinforcement of foundation structures and pavements

Stratum Logics’ geotechnical engineers use their extensive cold climate experience to design structures reinforced with NPA Geocells that provides foundation heave protection and virtually eliminates pavement deformation due to frost heave action.

An NPA geocell-reinforced granular base course acts, in engineering terms, as a beam/slab that transfers a load from a weak spot to an adjacent competent area. The increased rigidity of geocell reinforcement in a base layer resists and protects the softer area from failure. The vertical loads, from both below and above the road surface are distributed horizontally, relieving the pressure of expanding ice in a concentrated area that results in frost heaves and boil spots.

Using geocell reinforcement in structures beneath a building or other foundation will have the same benefit, providing foundation heave protection in the same way it protects and strengthens pavement structures, increasing the foundation’s lifespan and reducing repair and maintenance needs.