The research team has 10 employees and 15 PhD students and has ever since engaged in graduate education, research, research and development in the subject of soil mechanics.
Research is going on in the following areas: - Methods to increase the comfort and availability of gravel roads - Mine tailing dams design and construction short and long term function - New deposition technique for finely grounded waste rock - Use of scrap tyres in earth work application - Environmental assessment of the use of industrial by products - Mechanical properties of sulphide rich soils - Environmental impact of fills of sulphide rich soils - Mechanical behaviour of pellets (LKAB) - Swedish Hydropowert Center - Inner erosion of dams - Stability of tailings dams - Mechanical properties of snow
One for Sweden new type of monitoring stations to facilitate avalanche forecasts are tested for the first time against satellites by researchers at Luleå University of Technology. The measuring station was recently placed in the Lapland mountains in an area where both residents and winter tourists seriously suffer from tremendously powerful, so-called slush avalanches.
- We hope that our research will enable us to predict the slush avalanches with an accuracy of three days, thereby increasing the safety of people in the area, says Stefan Mårtensson, avalanche researcher at Luleå University of Technology.
Avalanche Researchers at Luleå University of Technology has recently placed a measuring station for prediction of slush avalanches in the northernmost mountains, just above Suorva dam in Sweden's National Park Stora Sjöfallet. It is an area whose infrastructure is badly affected by slush avalanches, an avalanche which is expected to become more frequent with warmer and wetter winters.
By 2012 Ritsem Road, located in the outlet zone of slush avalanches, became cut off in just over a week's time. Huge boulder avalanche swept away and blocked the road. Many people were isolated.
What distinguishes slush avalanches from classic precipation avalanches, that are mainly triggered by increased weight from drifting snow andslab, is that slush avalanches are triggered when the temperature of the snow approaches 0 degrees, making them very heavy and powerful.
- It would mean a lot to us if we could get the avalanche forecasts in the area. Now we travel on the road during high risk certain times of the year and when the avalanche has cut the road, we become isolated for several days on the mountain, says Kjell-Åke Pittja, reindeer herder, Tjerusj Sami.
In the region who depend on the avalanche hit Ritsem Road, are three reindeer herding Sami villages, one of which is the largest in Sweden. Together they have around 400 members. Along the way, also Vattenfall staff for maintenance of power stations are travelling. Moreover Ritsem Road is a very popular stretch of road for winter tourists traveling by car and charter bus for skiing and snowmobiling and ice fishing to various tourist facilities.
Researchers will now compare the data from the monitoring station in terms of temperature in snow and air and snow depth with information from the Norwegian satellites. Via sensors on the four-meter long measuring station dug into the snow, information will be sent and analyzed. In three years, avalanche experts at Luleå University of Technology participated in a joint Nordic project (SNAPS) to better provide avalanche forecasts affecting infrastructure. This is part of the project.
- We believe that satellites and automated measurement systems will be used more and more in the future in avalanche forecasting. Then we can better predict avalanches over very large areas throughout the Swedish mountains, says Stefan Mårtensson.
In most other Nordic countries the avalanche forecasts are priovided through stations and organized by state. Sweden has no authority responsible for avalanche forecasting. The small avalanche assessments that occur at ski resorts in Sweden today are made by private actors and manually.
This means that a knowledgeable person embarks on the terrain with a shovel, dig through the snow in the immediate area, analyze the various layer of snow, and puts them in relation to wind, snow and temperature.