Electrical Resistivity Behavior of Saline Soil under Low-Temperature Conditions

Rui Liu, Cheng Zhu, John Schmalzel, Benjamin Barrowes, Danney Glaser, Michele Maxson, Wade Lein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Freeze-thaw cycling of frozen soils is known to be the cause of various engineering failures of infrastructure in cold regions. Researchers found that electrical resistivity methods outperform traditional ground surveying methods in frozen soils for their greater convenience and cost-effectiveness. However, detailed investigation into the relationship between the electrical resistivity of soil and a variety of soil properties is still needed. In this study, a series of laboratory experiments using the Wenner method were conducted to determine the relationship between soil electrical resistivity and soil geotechnical properties such as initial water content and pore fluid concentration under freeze-thaw conditions. Cylindrical soil samples undergo artificial freeze-thaw cycles to a temperature as low as −70°C, and electrical resistivity and temperature values are recorded simultaneously. Measurement results are summarized for curve fitting, and a statistical model showing relationship between electrical resistivity and temperature during freezing and thawing was given. Above freezing point, the log of electrical resistivity had a linear relationship with temperature. Below freezing point and above −15°C, the log of electrical resistivity had a square root relationship with temperature. Different trends in electrical resistivity change in extremely low-temperature regions (from −15°C to −70°C) are also discussed. In extremely low-temperature regions, the electrical resistivity of frozen soils did not monotonously increase with lower temperature, which may be because of increasing salt concentration in the unfrozen water phase. The findings of this study are expected to bring more insights to frozen soil structure, and assist in geophysical surveying in cold regions and construction methods utilizing ground freezing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTransportation Research Record
StateAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Electrical Resistivity Behavior of Saline Soil under Low-Temperature Conditions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this