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Use of an artificial neural network model for estimation of unfrozen water content in frozen soils
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  • Junping Ren,
  • Xudong Fan,
  • Xiong (Bill) Yu,
  • Sai K Vanapalli,
  • Shoulong Zhang
Junping Ren
Lanzhou University
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Xudong Fan
Case Western Reserve University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Xiong (Bill) Yu
Case Western Reserve University
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Sai K Vanapalli
University of Ottawa
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Shoulong Zhang
Hokkaido University
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A portion of pore water is typically in a state of unfrozen condition in frozen soils due to the complex soil-water interactions. The variation of the amount of unfrozen water and ice has a significant influence on the physical and mechanical behaviors of the frozen soils. Several empirical, semi-empirical, physical and theoretical models are available in the literature to estimate the unfrozen water content (UWC) in frozen soils. However, these models have limitations due to the complex interactions of various influencing factors that are not well understood or fully established. For this reason, in the present study, an artificial neural network (ANN) modeling framework is proposed and the PyTorch package is used for predicting the UWC in soils. For achieving this objective, extensive UWC data of various types of soils tested under various conditions were collected through an extensive search of the literature. The developed ANN model showed good performance for the test dataset. In addition, the model performance was compared with two traditional statistical models for UWC prediction on four additional types of soils and found to outperform these traditional models. Detailed discussions on the developed ANN model, and its strengths and limitations in comparison to different other models are provided. The study demonstrates that the proposed ANN model is simple yet reliable for estimating the UWC of various soils. In addition, the summarized UWC data and the proposed machine learning modeling framework are valuable for future studies related to frozen soils.