This study presents a finite element analysis on the behavior of soil nail walls subjected to different freezing and thawing conditions. Thermo-mechanical coupled analysis has become increasingly important due to the increasing number of geotechnical structures built in cold regions. Soil nailing is a relatively new technique of reinforcing existing slopes or supporting new excavations. Its performance has been proven through decades of successful applications throughout the world. However, its applications in cold regions are still very limited due to sparse research available on its behavior in cold regions. In addition, soil may dramatically change its properties after
experiencing freezing and thawing cycles. A two-dimensional finite element analysis using ABAQUS software is conducted to investigate the frost penetration depth in the soil and the resulting influence on the performance of the soil nail walls in Northern Ontario. The numerical model is verified against the field measurements obtained from a research program done in Brunswick, Maine, U.S. (Duchesne, 2003). The change of thermally induced stress along soil nails as well as the increase of displacements and earth pressure on the facing of the walls is investigated
under freezing conditions. A parametric study is also conducted to probe the effect of thermal insulation systems on the wall facing and nails. This study provides valuable insight into the behavior of soil nailed structures in cold regions.