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    Effect of Extreme Arctic Cold on Materials

    Encyclopedia Arctica 2b: Electrical and Mechanical Engineering

    Unpaginated      |      Vol_IIB-0002                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. (P . almer W. Roberts)




    Water 1
    Antifreeze Solutions 2
    Fuels and Lubricants 5
    Rubber-like Material 6
    Plastics 7
    Glass Materials 15
    Fabrics 15
    Leather 16
    Concrete 16
    Icecrete 19
    Snowcrete 20
    Explosives 21
    Wood 22
    Metals 26
    Steel 27
    Precautions for Equipment 29
    Preparation of Equipment Specifications 32
    Bibliography 34

    Unpaginated      |      Vol_IIB-0003                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials



    Fig. 1. Flow of coolant which carries heat from engine to

    Fig. 2. Relation between concentrations and freezing protections

    of various antifreeze solutions
    Fig. 3. Effect of temperature on the compression strength of

    concrete during the curing period
    Fig. 4. Strength, temperature, moisture relationships from

    Kollmann’s report

    001      |      Vol_IIB-0004                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. (P . almer W. Roberts)



            An understanding of the effect of extreme cold on the elasticity,

    durability, strength, and other physical characteristics of materials, and

    the treatment that these materials should receive when exposed to such

    temperatures is important. Where applicable and when required, information

    on this subject can be obtained from manufacturers furnishing material or

    equipment, and from qualified research laboratories.



            Fresh Water . Under usual conditions, fresh water freezes at a tempera–

    ture of 32°F., forming solid ice and expanding about 9% in volume. It takes

    80 calories to raise a cubic centimeter of ice across the freezing point and

    more to bring it to a temperature at which it is potable. Water weighs 62.5 lb.

    per cubic foot and ice at 32°F. weighs 57.5 lb. per cubic foot. The strength

    of ice is dependent on its structure (see “Strength and Uses of Fresh-and

    Salt-Water Ice.”) Trautwin d e states that the expansive force of ice is probably

    not less than 30,000 per square inch. This force exceeds the yield strength

    of cast iron (25,000 + p.s.i.). Fresh-water ice is 2 to 3 times stronger than

    sea (salt) water ice. Pressure applied to ice causes momentary melting at

    the point of pressure, producing a film of moisture. This is especially true

    at temperatures near 32°F. At progressively lower temperatures, melting due

    002      |      Vol_IIB-0005                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

    to pressure decreases to the vanishing point.

            Sea (salt) water freezes at approximately 28.6°F., depending on salinity.

    Water with a higher salt content freezes at lower temperatures. Newly formed

    sea-water ice is mushy because of high salinity; at lower temperatures later,

    when some of its the salt has become eliminated, it is flexible as compared to

    fresh-water ice. Old sea-water ice is usually stronger than new sea ice, is

    darker in color, and lighter in weight. So long as it contains appreciable

    salt it has a rough surface.


    Antifreeze Solutions

            Approximately two-thirds of the energy in the gasoline used in operating

    an automobile engine is converted into heat. It is, therefore, necessary to

    provide special cooling facilities to prevent the metal parts from reaching

    excessive temperatures. The method generally used is an indirect one in–

    volving the transfer of heat from the engine to [ ?] a liquid, usually water, and

    Fig. 1 then cooling the liquid by air through the use of a radiator (see Fig. 1).

            Water was naturally selected as a cooling medium because of its availability

    and relatively high heat transfer properties. However, water has certain short–

    comings, the most important of which are its high freezing point and its

    corrosive action on metal parts of the cooling system, which may result in

    rust clogging and metal perforation. These two major disadvantages are largely

    overcome by adding materials to the water to prevent freezing in winter, and

    special chemical ingredients to inhibit corrosion. Oils, sug e a rs, and inorganic

    salt solutions are generally regarded as unsatisfactory antifreeze materials.

    In the United States and Canada, approximately one-third of the cars requiring

    antifreeze are protected with ethylene glycol (glycol) base products and most

    Unpaginated      |      Vol_IIB-0006                                                                                                                  

    Fig. 1 — Flow of Coolant Which Carries Heat From

    Engine to Radiator

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    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

    of the remaining two-thirds employ methyl alcohol (methanol) or ethyl alcohol

    (ethanol) type solutions. In the Arctic, ethylene glycol base products are

    used almost entirely.

            The antifreeze effectiveness of methyl and ethyl alcohols and ethylene

    glycol types is shown in Figure 2. These curves bring out several facts.

    First, the methyl alcohol type give the greatest freezing protection per unit

    volume, followed by ethylene glycol, and then the ethyl alcohol. Second, all

    three liquids are capable of depressing the freezing point of water to the

    lowest atmospheric temperatures likely to be encountered. The first reason

    is based only on freezing protection per gallon, and does not take into con–

    sideration the extra quantities of the low-boiling-point alcohol antifreeze

    solutions required after the initial filling because of boil-away losses, or

    the superiority of the comparatively high boiling point of ethylene glycol

    solution in preventing such losses. For antifreeze solutions protecting

    down to −20°F., the boiling point of the ethylene glycol solution is 22 8 3 °F.

    while the boiling point of the alcohol-base solution is 180°F.

            Unlike water, antifreeze solutions do not solidify when exposed to

    temperatures slightly below their freezing points but instead tend to form

    slush. The minimum temperatures to which solutions of the three types of

    antifreeze having a freezing point of 0°F. may be exposed without giving

    rise to overheating or other difficulties immediately after the engine is

    started are: methyl alcohol, −2.5° to −5.5°F.; ethyl alcohol, −5.5° to −8.0°F.;

    ethylene glycol, −8.0° to −11.5°F.

            The lower the freezing point of the antifreeze solutions used, the further

    below this freezing temperature is it possible to expose the solution without

    fear of overheating, resulting from circulation restricted by ice crystals of

    Unpaginated      |      Vol_IIB-0008                                                                                                                  

    Fig. 2 — Relation Between Concentrations and Freezing

    Protections of Various Antifreeze Solutions

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    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

    or slush ice, after the engine started. From Figure 2 it is noted that

    antifreeze protection can be determined in volume per cent concentration

    in water and easily reduced to pints per gallon of solution (see Table I).

    Table I. Pints of Antifreeze per Gallon Soulution s for Protection

    down to Various Temperatures.

    to, °F.



    + 10 1 3/4 2 1/4 2
    0 2 1/4 3 2 3/4
    −10 2 1/2 3 3/4 3 1/4

    3 4 3 1/2
    −30 3 1/4 4 1/2 4
    −40 3 3/4 5 1/4 4 1/4
    −50 4 5 3/4 4 1/2

            In the case of ethylene glycol, the greatest freezing protection that

    can be obtained is −62°F. which is given by a solution containing 60% anti–

    freeze and 40% water. Solutions containing more than 60% ethylene glycol

    give less protection.

            Glycerim (glycerol) is one of the acceptable nonvolatile antifreeze

    materials, but because of its relatively high cost compared to ethylene glycol,

    and its many other important commercial uses, it is not used to any great extent.

            Kerosene, freezing point −60°F., had been used in standard automotive

    cooling systems in localities with extreme cold climates. Its heat capacity

    is approximately one-half that of water, but automobiles operating with kerosene

    as a coolant are subject to overheating in warm weather. Additional disadvantages

    are its unpleasant odor, flammability, and severe action on rubber hose.

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    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

            Care should be taken to select an antifreeze containing heavy-duty

    inhibitors. Two general types are in general use: soluble oils and salts.

    The oil types are considered generally to be the most satisfactory. Vehicle

    radiators filled with antifreeze should be tagged showing type of antifreeze.


    Fuels and Lubricants

            During World War II, special fuels and lubricants were developed to

    overcome the difficulties in star g t ing gasoline and diesel engines previously

    encountered in the Arctic. (See “Petroleum Products for Arctic Winter Use

    in Automotive Equipment” and “Tractor-Type Transportation Units for Arctic

    Operations” for details on the improvements made on the various properties

    of fuels and lubricants for low-temperature use.)

            In shipping fuels in drums it is important that only extra heavy export–

    type drums be used. This is necessary as this type drum can be handled easier

    in the cold and facilitates roping for dropping by parachute from planes. The

    smooth drum is slippery when wet or covered with ice or snow and it is difficult

    to rope and attach to a parachute.

            The recommendations of the manufacturer of any equipment should be

    consulted regarding lubrication under cold conditions. Many excellent lubricants

    have been developed and used successfully in northern operations. However, it

    must be realized that at extreme temperatures oils and greases become stiff.

    If an engine has been shut down for any period of time the lubricant may have

    become so stiff that a fully charged battery will not turn the engine over.

    This situation may be further aggravated because at such temperature batteries

    lose much of their energy.

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    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials


    Rubber-like Material

            The general effect of reduced temperatures is the same for all rubber-like

    materials. As the temperature is decreased the rubber passes from a soft

    (easily deformed) and elastic state to a more rigid state and finally to a

    brittle glasslike condition. The various commercial rubbers differ appreciably

    as to the temperature ranges in which they pass through these various states.

    None of the available commercial rubbers are truly elastic at extremely low

    temperatures (below −40°F.). New rubber products stand up better under cold

    conditions than old rubber. The effect of temperature on rubber materials is

    predominantly physical and any chemical changes which may take place can, on

    a practical basis, be ignored.

            Some new natural rubber materials are usable at low temperatures approaching

    −50°F. but in the course of their use it is imperative that they be not

    subjected to any force at an excessive velocity. That is, rapid bending or

    flexing at or near such low temperatures will result in breaking or even

    shattering of the rubber part. For example, rubber tires will develop flat

    spots at low temperatures. The tread of old rubber tires will chip due to

    cold embittlement when subjected to force or flexing. New tires show less

    tendency to crack than do tires of old rubber.

            Lower-temperature rubber-like materials are made by specifically compounding

    the integral parts for low-temperature service. Two general classes of these

    have been developed: normal natural rubber material to operate (with care)

    down to −40°F., and special rubber-like material (natural rubber and butyl

    rubber) for extreme low temperatures to −70°F. Many of the large rubber and

    chemical companies that specialize in rubber and synthetic rubber products

    are working on the problem of providing rubber-like materials for use under

    extreme cold conditions.

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    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials



            Most plastics contain a base material, the properties of which have been

    modified by the incorporation of plasticizers or fillers. Each base material

    is the foundation for a group of compositions related in general behavior but

    differing from one another in individual physical properties. Such basic

    groups of plastics are: acrylics, celluloses, nylons, ethylene , polymers,

    vinyl ester polymers, polyvinyl acetals, phenolics, urea resins, caseins,

    alkyds, neoprene, etc. groups which contain several different compositions

    are subdivided into types. Each type represents one or more compositions,

    each of which is designed to give superior value of some specific property

    even at the expense of some other property. There is, for example, Type L I ,

    g e neral; Type II, temperature resistant; Type III, impact resistant; Type IV,

    moisture resistant; etc. Where further subdivision is required, the types

    are subdivided into grades. Each grade represents, at broadest, a very

    restricted number of common commercial materials which are quite similar

    both chemically and physically. These groups, types, and grades usually

    correspond to those given in the specifications of the American Society for

    Testing Materials.

            The service success of an article of any plastic often depends as much

    upon the design and fabrication processes as on the material itself. The

    importance of selecting items of good workmanship in both design and fabrica–

    tion for cold-weather operations cannot be overemphasized. The plastics

    industry has developed a background of practical experience in design,

    fabrication, and testing of plastics, and should be consulted regarding

    specific cold-weather problems. The importance of selecting the proper

    material and consulting with plastic manufacturers concerning cold-weather

    008      |      Vol_IIB-0013                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

    problems cannot be overstressed. It is important not only to select the

    proper material but to use it properly in the field. Too frequently, good

    plastics improperly handled in the field failed, when the same material

    properly utilized would have been entirely satisfactory.

            As an aid in understanding this field of material, a list of the more

    important plastics by resin group and subgroup, trade names, available forms,

    and commercial uses is given in Table I. (The code for the available forms is:

    F, filaments; M, molded; R, rods; S, sheeting; T, tubing.) where applicable,

    comments on the effects of extreme temperatures and care in use in the field

    are given in the text.

            The acrylics are perfectly clear and transparent. They have the best

    resistance of all transparent plastics to sunlight and outdoor weathering, and

    will tolerate years of exposure without significant loss of properties. They

    possess a good combination of flexibility with shatter resistance and rigidity.

    Their impact strength is lower than the celluloses, but the effect of extreme

    low temperatures upon this property is much less pronounced; hence, articles

    designed for use at ordinary temperatures will not show excessive embrittlement

    at −50°F.

            Cellulose nitrate is the toughest of all thermoplastics. It has low water

    absorption and is resistant to mild acids. At −50°F., its impact strength

    is about 35% of its impact strength at normal temperatures (77°F.). Cellulose

    nitrate is very flammable; it is not suitable for prolonged service in outdoor

    sunlight for it turns yellow and becomes brittle.

            Cellulose acetate is comparatively tough. Its low temperature impact

    strength and embrittlement characteristics are inferior to those of cellulose

    009      |      Vol_IIB-0014                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

    Table I. Some Important Commercial Plastics.
    Resin group and

    Trade names Forms


    Methyl methacrylate


    M, R, S, T

    M, R, S
    Windshields, goggles, dentures,

    artificial eyes, drafting in–

    struments, automotive parts,

    aircraft enclosures

    Cellulose nitrate


    Nixon C/N

    R, S, T, F

    R, S, T

    R, S, T

    R, S, T
    Fountain pens and pencils,

    drawing instruments, spectacle

    frames, bottle caps, toilet seats,

    tool handles, shoelace tips, film
    Cellulose acetate Fibestos


    Nixon C/A

    R, S, T

    R, S, T, M

    R, S, T, M

    R, S, T
    Containers, luggage, food cases,

    truck curtains



    Tenite I



    Knobs, goggle frames, combs,

    brushes, tool handles, safety

    goggles, eye shields, automotive

    parts and housings
    Cellulose acetate

    Tenite II M Telephones, steering wheels,

    film spools, radio housings, knobs

    and pulls, light supports, coil

    spools, brush backs
    Ethyl Cellulose Celcon





    Nixon E/C


    M, S



    M, S
    Radio housings, toothbrushes, pen

    and pencil barrels, tool handles,

    knobs and pulls, flashlight cases

    Textile filament

    F Textile fiber, ropes, lines, hose,

    tents, stockings, clothing,

    bristles, surgical sutures
    Injection, extrusion

    and alcohol-soluble

    M, S Injection and compressed molding,

    covering for wire and sheets,

    solution castings, small bearings,

    specialty containers, electrical

    coil forms and insulators, small

    gears, cams, coatings

    010      |      Vol_IIB-0015                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

    Table I. Some Important Commercial Plastics (contd).
    Resin group and

    Trade names Forms

    Ethylene plymers:


    F, M, S, T

    F, M, S, T
    Films, liners, closures, wrappings

    for frozen food, primary cable,

    insulating material, coating for

    weatherproof wire

    Teflon M, R, S, T Films, tubes, tapes and special

    applications made by rolling,

    drawing, or machining
    Polyvinyl acetals:

    Polyvinyl formal
    Formvar M Insulating enamel, base for

    electric wires, phonograph records
    Polyvinyl butyral Butacite


    M, S


    M, S
    Plastic interlayer, laminated

    for safety glass, sheeting, and

    coatings for dustproof and

    waterproofing fabrics
    Vinyl ester polymers:

    Polyvinyl chloride




    M, S


    M, S

    M, S

    M, S
    Jacketing material on electric

    wires and cables, water-repellent

    garments, shower curtains, garment

    bags, upholstery, belts, floor

    coverings, overlays for maps,

    phonograph records
    Polyvinylidene resins:

    Finylidene chloride
    Saran F, M, T Hoses, flexible tubing, rigid pipe,

    lined steel pipe, moisture-resistant

    films and fabrics for upholstery

    and transportation seating
    Polystyrene Bakelite














    Standoff insulators, antenna in–

    sulators, radio coil forms,

    telephone equipment, fluorescent

    light fixtures, wall til s e , combs,

    knobs and pulls, shaver housings,

    camera cases, refrigerator parts,

    bottle caps
    Polystrene expanded Styrofoam S Insulating material in refrigera–

    tion construction, buoyancy agent

    for life rafts and small metal


    011      |      Vol_IIB-0016                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

    Table I. Some Important Commercial Plastics (contd).
    Resin group and

    Trade names Forms









    Camera cases, photographic film

    spools, handles, instruments,

    boxes, radio cabinets, ignition

    parts, instrument panels,

    pulleys, housings, terminal

    blocks, telephone parts, goggle

    frames, wheels
    Melamine resin:






    Compression moldings, electrical

    fittings, sockets, food containers
    Urea resins:



    Buttons, tableware, boxes,

    electrical parts and lighting

    Synthetic rubber:

    Neoprene M, S, T Hose, molded parts, weather strip–

    ping, wire and cable jacketing

    adhesive, coated fabric, electrical

    cable construction, inflatable

    gear, sealing strips

    nitrate. Cellulose acetate is superior to cellulose nitrate in resistance to

    outdoor exposure and to burning. Sunlight has little effect on this material.

    Since there are many commercial compositions of this material, it is advisable

    for a given application to indicate the application and desired properties, for

    example, for general use, resistance to heat, cold, impact, or moisture.

            Cellulose acetate butyrate material is tough and has dimensional stability.

    Fluctuation in dimension must be considered when articles are made of a com–

    bination of this material and glass or metal.

    012      |      Vol_IIB-0017                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

            Ethyl cellulose material possesses toughness, high impact strength at

    low temperatures, and excellent dimensional stability. When the article is

    in combination with glass or steel, assurance must be made that the wall

    thickness of the plastic is sufficient to withstand the strain caused by

    temperature changes. Type II of this plastic is specifically designed for

    low-temperature resistance. At −50°F., its impact strength is about 40% of its

    impact strength at normal temperatures.

            Nylon is a generic term for any long-chain synthetic polymeric amide which

    has recurring amide groups as an intergral part of the main polymer chain, and

    which is capable of being formed into a filament whose structural elements are

    oriented in the direction of the axis. Nylon textile filament materials are

    noted for their toughness. The effect of extreme cold on the mechanical

    properties of cords and ropes is small: tensile strength increases and elongation

    decreases. Woven fabrics will not be stiffened or embrittled by extreme

    cold and remains soft and pliable at −40°F. The effect of prolonged exposure

    to sunlight and outdoor weather is not enough to impair practical utility.

            Several different types of nylon g plastic s are involved here and their

    properties are not identical. Impact strength is measurably decreased by ex–

    treme cold but toughness and impact strength at low temperatures are still so

    good that nylon plastics have been successfully used at low temperatures. At

    −40°F., the impact strength of nylon is about 55% of its impact strength at

    normal temperatures. The electrical properties of nylon plastics are better

    at low temperatures than at normal temperatures. Prolonged exposure of nylon

    plastics to sunshine and weathering is not recommended.

            Polyethylene and polythene materials are tough and durable. Their

    toughness is not seriously effected by low temperatures. These materials

    013      |      Vol_IIB-0018                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

    remain fairly flexible at moderately low temperatures, stiffen slightly at

    temperatures of −30°F. and lower, and become brittle at −94°F. They have

    excellent electrical properties, extremely low moisture vapor transfer qualities,

    resist solvents and strong acids, and have other desirable qualities such as

    nontoxicity. /

            Polytetrafluoroethylene has potential utility owing to its excellent

    thermal stability, resistance to corrosive reagents, and low dielectric loss.

    It is not embrittled by extremely low temperatures. Films can be flexed at

    temperatures as low as −148°F. without breaking. Its resistance to outdoor

    weathering is excellent.

            Polyvinyl acetal material provides a tough impact-resistant adhesive layer

    for safety glass over a wide range of temperatures down to about −40°F., is

    stable to light and heat, relatively insensitive to moisture, and has good

    adhesive qualities. It is an excellent thermoplastic adhesive for leather,

    rubber, paper, wood, canvas, laminated cellophane, and glass. It is also

    excellent for coating fabrics for raincoats, water-repellent garments, tentage,

    food and clothing bags, etc.

            Polyvinyl chloride compositions are noteworthy for their heat resistance,

    exceptional toughness, and ability to withstand continued exposure to maximum

    temperature differences. Some of these compounds have a low-temperature

    brittleness approaching −40° and −50°F. when subjected to bending. However,

    such material if subjected to sudden shock would fail at higher temperatures,

    possibly approaching −30°F.

            Vinylidene chloride material is tough, resistant to chemicals and prolonged

    immersion in water, nonflammable, and useful over a wide range of temperatures.

    014      |      Vol_IIB-0019                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

            Polystyrene has good electrical properties, good resistance to acids and

    solvents, excellent dimensional stability, low unit weight, and general stability

    satisfactory at extreme low arctic temperatures (below −50°F.). Many of the

    materials have good outdoor weathering properties.

            Polystyrene Expanded . One outstanding property of this material is its

    low thermal conductivity (0.27 B.t.u. per hour per sq.ft. per °F. per inch).

    Another is its low water absorption and moisture transmission rate, which

    enhances its usage as an insulating material under extremely cold conditions.

    This material has good structural strength and is easy to handle, it may be

    bonded to itself, concrete, brick, wood, or metal. It has a minimum buoyancy

    of 55 lb. per cubic foot.

            Phenol-formaldehyde resins are thermosetting and the molded types are

    shaped and hardened by heat and pressure. They are hard, strong, rigid, and

    are light in weight. They are not readily flammable, have good electrical

    insulating properties, but are not suitable for prolonged outdoor exposure as

    the lighter colors fade and the material may change in water content with

    resultant slight expansion and contraction. Types are made to provide general–

    purpose shock and electrical, heat, and chemical resistance. The shock-resistant

    types show best combination of flexual and tensile strength at extreme low

    temperatures. The cast phenolic-type resins are not recommended for outdoor use.

    The laminated phenolic products include some of the strongest materials in the

    plastic field.

            Melamine-formaldehyde resins are thermosetting, rigid, posses a hard

    surface which resists wear, have good electrical properties, and water absorption

    is low. These materials have good dimensional stability plus good strength and

    shock resistance. The laminated melamine products are used widely for elec–

    trical instrument panels.

    015      |      Vol_IIB-0020                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

            The urea-formaldehyde resins are of the thermosetting type. They possess

    a high degree of translucency and offer unlimited color possibilities. They

    have good mechanical and electrical properties. They have been widely used

    within a temperature range of −70° to 170°F.

            All neoprene products when exposed to temperatures in the range of 0° to

    −50°F. will stiffen and lose some of their flexibility and resiliency. However,

    by proper compounding of neoprene, it is possible to make compositions that

    retain sufficient flexibility to be practical in the range of −50° to −60°F.


    Glass Materials

            Ceramics are not ordinarily effected by extreme cold temperatures. How–

    ever, a warm blast of air or a sudden change of temperature may cause frozen

    material to shatter.

            Window glass does not show any visible reaction to cold. Thin sections

    are susceptible to sudden changes in temperature but they are designed to

    withstand average thermal shock of 150°F.

            Laminated safety glass (plate and sheet) does not show a visible reaction

    to cold. It is designed to withstand 150°F. average thermal shock and to

    meet minimum requirement of −65°F.

            Structural glass shows no visible reaction to cold. It is designed to

    withstand average thermal shock of 150°F.



            Untreated and water-repellent textiles give satisfactory service down

    to −40°F. Canvas and heavy materials lose their pliability at low tempera–

    tures and when frozen h sh ould be bent or stretched with caution. Loss of

    elasticity should not be mistaken for shrinkage.

    016      |      Vol_IIB-0021                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials



            At low temperatures leather becomes stiff and cracks, often tearing

    easily. When wet, untreated leather becomes frozen, it will not stand tension,

    bending, or impact. Leather items that are to be subjected to extreme cold

    should be carefully tanned and then treated with a light coat of good shoe oil

    or lard. Tanned skins are less easily injured by wetting and subsequent

    freezing than untreated skins. Much has been said about the difference between

    skins scraped and prepared by the Eskimos and those tanned by commercial methods.

    Commercial-tanned skins weigh more per square unit than Eskimo-prepared ones.

    Commercial-tanned items tend to stiffen, thereby reducing utility. For

    clothing, commercial-tanned skins are not as warm as the E [a?] s kimo-prepared ones.

    However, since commercial tanning is cheaper, commercially tanned items are

    more frequently used. Where leather and fur clothing items are required for

    midwinter chill occupations, on the trail or away from main encampments, it

    would be advisable to use clothing made from Eskimo-prepared skins.



            The problem of the construction engineer in cold areas is similar to that

    of engineers in more temperate climates, that is, to produce concrete of the

    quality specified and assumed in design with the materials available. Aggre–

    gates, meeting requirements as to qualities of hardness and toughness, are

    usually available but these may be limited in the desired shape, size, and

    graduation of the particles. The most dependable and readily available natural

    sources of aggregates are river banks and old terraces, sand and gravel bars,

    river deltas, and coastal beaches. Due to the handling difficulties imposed

    by permafrost, the availability of such materials must always be a consideration.

    017      |      Vol_IIB-0022                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

            On all work Portland or high-early-strength cement, meeting the speci–

    fications of the American Society for Testing Materials, should be used.

    High-early cements are preferred to the portland as the concrete need not

    be heated as long in curing. Due to the rough abuse to which containers may

    be subjected, cement should be double-bagged in heavy durable bags. Where

    possible bags should be palletized for loading, unloading, and storage.

    Proper consideration should be given to storage; cements protected from moisture

    may be kept indefinitely without loss of strength.

            Various admixtures are sometimes used in concrete to increase workability,

    to prevent freezing, to hasten setting, to facilitate curing, to increase

    watertightness, etc. the use of such admixtures is not ordinarily harmful

    if carefully and judiciously controlled. Admixtures to prevent freezing con–

    sist of common salt (NaCl), calcium chloride (CaCl 2 ), or a mixture of these.

    These admixtures may be used with judgment in moderately cold weather but

    should not be relied upon to prevent freezing in extremely cold weather or

    when such weather is expected immediately following the placement of concrete.

            Increasing the temperature of concrete in cold weather is commonly accom–

    plished by heating the aggregates or the water or both. The most readily

    available item in the Arctic is water which, except during a shot time during

    the summer, will require heating. The temperatures to which the water must be

    raised in order to provide the desired temperature for the concrete can be

    calculated by the formula:

    018      |      Vol_IIB-0023                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

            T = S ((TaWa + TcWc) + TfWf + TmWm)/(S(Wa + Wc) + Wf + Wm)

            where: T = temperature of concrete (should not be greater than 80°F.

    for most work)

            S = 0.22 (assumed specific heat of dry material)

            W a = weight of aggregates (surface dry); T a = temperature of aggregates

            W c = weight of cement; T c – temperature of cement

            W f = weight of free moisture in aggregates; T f = temperature of

    free moisture in aggregates

            W m = weight of mixing water; T m = temperature of mixing water

    Mi z x ing water is commonly heated in a boiler by live steam o f r by heating coils.

    The temperature of the water is usually held between 90° to 120°F. and should

    not exceed 165°F. because of the danger of causing a flash set of the cement.

            Concreting can be successfully accomplished in cold weather without

    adversely affecting the final quality of the product. The rate of development

    Fig. 3 of the strength increment is slow at low temperatures as shown in Figure 3.

    If actual freezing is prevented during the setting process, and if supports

    are left in place until the concrete has reached a compressive strength of

    1,500 p.s.i., there should be no detrimental effects of the low temperatures

    on the quality. To do this, it will be necessary to heat the aggregates and

    water, place and tamp or rod it quickly, and enclose it with tarpaulins or other

    housing. Heating by air, stoves, or steam will be required during curing,

    and care should be taken that the concrete does not get too hot. In extreme

    or severe weather it may be necessary to protect the work in an artificially

    heated enclosure until the end of the moist curing period to prevent loss

    of heat to the atmosphere.

    Unpaginated      |      Vol_IIB-0024                                                                                                                  

    Fig. 3. Effect of temperature on the compression

    strength of concrete during the curing


    019      |      Vol_IIB-0025                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

            Special problems arise when concrete is poured against a frozen face or

    in permafrost. Thaw ensues upon contact with the concrete, and the water

    produced may initially cause settlement, and later freeze, with the possi–

    bility of heaving and resultant damage to the structure. In the case of

    vertical walls being required against a frozen face, precast sections may

    prove more satisfactory. Slab construction in permafrost requires suitable

    insulation between the concrete and the permafrost.

            Fresh concrete when frozen may be recognized by its white color.

    Ordinarily, concrete retains its dark slate color in cold weather for several

    days. Badly frozen concrete may also swell or spall in spots. Concrete that

    seems to be frozen can be tested by placing it over a stove or by immersion

    in hot water. If frozen, it will sweat and become soft or crumble; if not

    frozen, no change will occur.

            Concrete that is frozen can be saved by enclosing and heating. After

    thawing, the concrete will resume its setting from about the point it had

    reached at the time that it was frozen. Concrete that has frozen after

    setting has started is damaged to a certain extent due to the mechanical

    expansion action of the ice crystals. The amount of damage will depend on

    the degree of setting which has preceded the freezing. It is this action

    of ice which makes repeated freezing of new concrete crumble and become

    worthless. The ordinary case of frozen concrete is one in which the concrete

    is placed at a low temperature and is allowed to freeze before setting action




            Icecrete is a term applied to a material made from aggregates with ice

    acting as the cementing agent. During the period of no thaw, icecrete is a

    020      |      Vol_IIB-0026                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

    dependable substitute for concrete in the regions of extreme cold. By mixing

    water and aggregate materials (sand and gravel), either by hand or in a con–

    crete mixer, a plastic and flowable homogeneous mixture may be made. The

    mixture may be poured, similar to concrete, into forms and rodded or tamped

    to assure compaction. Forms may be built from snow or ice blocks, brush, or

    wood, if available, and may be left in place.

            Due to the presence of the aggregates, icecrete is darker in color than

    ice and will absorb more heat from the sun, which may cause melting. To

    minimize this action the icecrete structure or mass should be covered with

    snow, ice, or canvas.

            Icecrete is generally tougher than ice, does not crack readily, and is

    comparatively shatter and impact resistant. This material is excellent for

    construction of roads, protective barriers, foundations for structures to be

    used only in winter, deadmen for “tie downs,” and as a substitute for mass

    concrete construction required during no-thaw periods.



            Snowcrete is a term used to describe snow resulting from compaction by

    natural or mechanical means. Until recently little work had been done in the

    field of mechanical compaction of snow; however, natural compacted snow has

    been used for a long time in the form of snow blocks. Such blocks have been

    used primarily by Eskimos for the construction of snowhouses, shelters, and


            All the properties of compressed snow have not yet been determined by

    experimental work. The hardness of snow is based on the strength which

    attaches individual snow particles to each other. The mechanical value of

    021      |      Vol_IIB-0027                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

    compacted snow depends on its density, temperature, and texture. Snow, like

    soil, must be compacted in thin layers. Snow may be compacted easily and

    reached its highest density at temperatures approaching 32°F.; snow thus

    compacted will attain its greatest value of hardness.

            One of the notable properties of snow is that, at temperatures below

    freezing, its hardness continues to increase if left undisturbed after having

    been compacted. Compaction decreases the thin films of air between crystals

    and thus increases the density and resultant contact between and growing

    together of crystals.

            The field of snowcrete utilization is being slowly developed. It is

    apparent that compacted snow may be used in cold weather for temporary buildings,

    windbreaks, road surfaces, and for air strips.



            All modern explosives used in the bricks are of the low-freezing variety

    and are designed to eliminate freezing under ordinary conditions of exposure

    at any temperature normally encountered. Gelatins and similar type explosives

    will become quite hard when subjected to low temperatures but will not freeze.

    Certain high explosives composed of a mixture containing mainly of ammonium

    nitrate are absolutely nonfreezing. Correspondence with principal explosives

    companies indicates that no case of frozen dynamite has been reported in recent

    years under severe Canadian and Alaskan conditions.

            In the event that an explosive is suspected of being frozen, the employment

    of the simple “pin test” will readily determine whether or not the explosive

    is frozen. An ordinary pin will not penetrate a frozen column of explosive,

    but can be inserted quite easily into one that is merely very hard.

    022      |      Vol_IIB-0028                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

            All explosives should be stored and transported in accordance with

    standard precautions recommended by the manufacturers.

            Blasting caps and electrical blasting caps have withstood satisfactory

    storage at laboratory temperatures as low as −110°F. (−78.9°C.). These

    tests revealed little or no change in characteristics.

            Safety fuses show no appreciable change in performance after storage at

    extreme low temperatures except that the burning time may be slightly increased.

    Caution is required in the handling of safety fuses after freezing as the

    fuse covering, particularly the waterproofing, will crack at low temperatures.

    It would, therefore, be necessary to uncoil the fuse and prepare the explosive

    devices at normal temperatures. Primacord detonating fuse will perform

    satisfactorily at low temperatures, providing it has not been wet previous to

    freezing. Care must be taken, however, to prevent breaking or cracking. If

    a detonating fuse becomes wet before freezing, it will be difficult to initiate,

    and a booster will be required to insure detonation.



            The results of a limited amount of research conducted on various woods and

    a review of available literature indicate no significant effect on the physical

    properties of wood due to extreme cold. No special precautions, therefore, need

    be observed for the use of wood in the very cold climates. Wisconsin white oak

    has been extensively used for sled runners for heavy-duty arctic sleds. Other

    wood materials, built for use in more temperate climates, have been widely used

    in the Arctic without noticeable failure.

            Comprehensive investigations into the effects of extreme low temperatures

    on the strength properties of wood were made in Germany by Franz Kollmann and

    published at Eberswalde in 1940. Later the Forest Products Laboratory of the

    023      |      Vol_IIB-0029                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

    Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, reviewed all literature on

    the effect of arctic exposure conditions on the strength properties of wood

    and published a report June 4, 1948. Parts of the this report are quoted:


    “Discussion of Strength Tests

            On the basis of the information gathered in the review of available

    literature and in talking with the individuals mentioned previously, the

    elimination of low temperature in itself as a probable cause of the trouble

    seems justifiable. There is general agreement among the various investigators

    that in most cases strength properties are actually improved by comparatively

    short-time exposure to below freezing temperatures, a notable exception being

    impact strength which was found to exhibit little change either way with

    changes in temperature for wood at 7.5 percent moisture content and at 12 percent

    in the range from about 75°F. down to −58°F. Whether long-time exposure to

    low temperature or to fluctuating temperatures such as occur in the Arctic

    would alter these strength-temperature relationships has not been determined.

    Fig. 4 (See Fig. 4.)

            Another factor, one that is known to have considerable effect on strength

    properties, is moisture content. Below the fiber saturation point most

    strength properties increase with decreasing moisture content, an exception

    being those properties representing toughness or shock resistance, which usually

    exhibit little change with changes in moisture content at temperatures above

    freezing. However, Kollmann found that impact strength of laminated wood in

    the sub-frozen state is very materially affected by moisture content, but his

    investigation was made on only one species (not specified) of laminated wood.

    Since impact strength is such an important property, especially for wood used

    Unpaginated      |      Vol_IIB-0030                                                                                                                  

    Fig. 4



    024      |      Vol_IIB-0031                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

    in containers, the influence of moisture content in the sub-freezing temperature

    range upon this property should not be overlooked in the preparation of con–

    tainers for use in Arctic regions.

            Observations that were noted in some of the tests but were not elaborated

    upon concerned the suddenness and cleanness of the breaks exhibited by the

    frozen specimens. In other words, there seemed to be a tendency for frozen

    wood, even though somewhat stronger than in the unfrozen state, to break

    abruptly without warning when the maximum load was exceeded. This may have

    a bearing on the behavior of hammer handles reported to have failed in service ,

    presumably due to exposure to extreme cold and the dryness of the atmosphere.

            The reports from Alaska describing the failures of certain wood articles

    to give satisfactory service all mentioned the extreme dryness of the wood in

    connection with the failures. The moisture content of wood in equilibrium

    with the surrounding atmosphere is dependent upon the relative humidity of

    the atmosphere and is practically independent of temperature in the range below

    about [?] 70°F. Thus, wood exposed to outdoor winter conditions at Fairbanks,

    where the relative humidity averages about 83 percent during that season, should

    attain an equilibrium moisture content of about 17 percent. Therefore, if low

    moisture content is associated with the failure of wood articles to give

    satisfactory service, it should not be so likely to occur with those store s d

    and used outdoors or in unheated sheds. On the other hand, if wood articles

    are stored in heated buildings they are subjected to conditions that will

    result in extreme dryness, even less than 1 percent moisture content, if such

    exposure is continued for sufficient time. For instance, if outdoor air at

    −24°F. and 83 percent relative humidity is brought indoors and heated to 60°F.

    without adding any moisture, the resulting relative humidity will be less than

    025      |      Vol_IIB-0032                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

    2 percent and will result in an equilibrium moisture content for wood of

    about one-half of one percent, or practically even-dry. In fact, air at

    sub-zero temperatures contains so little water vapor, even at saturation,

    that regardless of its l relative humidity, when this same air is heated to

    room temperature without addition of moisture the resulting atmosphere will

    be capable of drying wood to less than one percent moisture content. This

    could explain the extreme dryness and brittleness mentioned in connection

    with the reported failures.

            It should be stated here that while most strength properties have been

    found to improve as temperature and/or moisture content decreases, the tests

    made to determine this fact were all made on clear straight-grained specimens

    in which knots, cross grain, shakes and checks were entirely eliminated. In

    actual practice, however, these defects are often present and their effect is

    further accentuated by the shrinkage which accompanies drying in the range below

    the fib [ ?] e r saturation point. This is especially true in the lower grades of

    lumber used for container purposes.

            Other properties of wood that are very materially influenced by moisture

    content are nailing and nail-holding qualities. Dry wood is harder to nail and

    splits more easily than does green wood. If the wood dries after the nail is

    driven the nail-holding power is often seriously reduced. Thus, the service–

    ability of wood articles, such as wooden shipping containers is materially

    affected by the moisture content or the changes in moisture content of the wood

    in response to exposure conditions.

            In conclusion, it may be stated that the information assembled in this

    survey fails for the most part to explain the reported reduction in the

    serviceability of wood articles under Arctic exposure. Lacking specific

    026      |      Vol_IIB-0033                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

    samples of the wood for examination and test, as well as more complete

    information regarding the history of those articles that failed to give

    satisfactory service and the frequency of such failures, it is not possible

    to reach a definite conclusion as to the cause of the trouble at this time.”



            The properties of many metals undergo changes at extreme low temperatures,

    particularly in strength, toughness, brittleness, and durability. In many of

    the hard metals an increase in brittleness may result from exposure to extreme

    cold. Caution must be exercised in selecting metals for service at extreme

    low temperatures. In the selection of metal parts, attention should be given

    to composition as well as to the fabrication of the finished metal article.

    Preventive maintenance, including a check of metal fittings and frames susceptible

    to extreme shock or impact conditions, is most important during actual field


            An important precaution to personnel handling metals under extreme condi–

    tions, and one that must be carefully followed, is not to contact the metal with

    unprotected hands or other uncovered parts of the body. The perspiration of

    the skin affords sufficient moisture to freeze the hand to the metal. Forcibly

    removing the hand may result in removal of the skin and a possible resultant

    painful injury. However, the hand must be torn away as quickly as possible,

    unless there is instantly available a quick-heating means, such as a torch,

    for the frostbite deepens with lengthened contact. Metal parts that need to

    be handled frequently, such as the bolt, trigger, and trigger guard of a rifle,

    should be covered with some such material as adhesive tape and can then be used

    freely with bare hands.

    027      |      Vol_IIB-0034                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials



            A few properties of steel such as strength, eleasticity, hardness,

    brittleness, and magnetism are at their highest point at very low tempera–

    tures and decrease with temperature rise. However, the resistance of steel

    to shock decreases very much with lowered temperatures. Certain ordinary

    carbon and low-alloy-content steels exhibit a loss of toughness when low

    temperatures near −40°F. are reached, so that some of these steels are too

    brittle to use in impact service in cold climates.

            Stainless Steel . Chromium-nickel types of stainless steels are especially

    well suited for low-temperature applications because their strengths and

    toughness properties are improved at extreme low temperatures. Products made

    from this material are those requiring toughness and resistance to corrosion

    as parachute fittings, shackles, etc.

            Hardenable chromium types show moderate loss of toughness at extreme low

    temperatures. Sled runners, skates, etc., are made from this material because

    of its high hardness and corrosion-resistance characteristics. Nonhardenable

    chromium types show marked loss of toughness at 0°F. and lower. This material

    is used primarily for parts requiring high resistance to corrosion such as

    carburetor and fuel nozzles.

            Cast Iron . The general term cast iron includes gray irons, pig irons,

    white cast irons, chilled cast irons, and malleable iron. Cast irons are

    alloys of iron, carbon, and silicon with the carbon content usually not

    more than 4.5% or less than 1.7%. Gray irons are the most widely used cast

    metal and they vary in tensile strength from 20,000 to 60,000 p.s.i. Re–

    sistance to impact usually increases with increased tensile strength; however,

    at extreme low temperatures the impact resistance decreases greatly.

    028      |      Vol_IIB-0035                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

            Lead shows no visible or otherwise detectable effects of temperature in

    the range of temperatures experienced in the Arctic. No special care is re–

    quired for the maintenance of lead or lead-base alloys such as sheet lead,

    lead pipes, and lead assemblies or shapes. Babbitted metals (lead-base bear–

    ing alloys) can be expected to behave in a manner similar to that of various

    solder alloys.

            Solders (lead and tin alloys). Soft or low-strength solders that contain

    a high percentage of lead (65 to 97.5%) retain their ductility and increase

    in impact strength at low temperatures. Tin contents up to 15% have no serious

    embrittling effect. When the percentage of tin becomes as high as 50%, serious

    embrittlement and decrease in impact strength occur.

            The increase in tensile strength of solder alloys and in the breaking

    load of soldered joints is linear with decreasing temperature. High-strength

    solders, those containing the most tin (50%), show the greatest increase in

    tensile strength, and the low-strength solders, those containing the most

    lead (97.5%), show the least increase in tensile strength as temperatures

    decrease below freezing.

            Breaking loads of soldered copper tubing at low temperatures are nearly

    independent of the kind of lead-base solder used. Impact strength and

    ductility of such joints would pro h b ably be influenced by low temperatures,

    in view of the properties of individual solders.

            Copper and Its Alloys . All wrought copper alloys are alike in that the

    effect of extreme low temperatures is to improve all useful mechanical

    properties. Hardness, yield strength, and tensile strength show material

    improvement, and the ductility is better at extreme low temperatures than at

    room temperatures. Impact properties are practically unaffected. The

    029      |      Vol_IIB-0036                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

    ductility of cold-worked alloys increases to a greater extent than does that

    of annealed material, and they are, therefore, the logical materials for

    stressed parts for low-temperature service. Castings of copper alloys show

    a small decrease in ductility at low temperatures.

            Aluminum Alloys. Tests and field use of aluminum and its alloyws indicate

    that they are admirably suited for extreme-low-temperature service. Tests

    made to subatmospheric temperatures indicate that the tensile, yield, and

    impact strengths of all aluminum alloys increase at extreme low temperatures.

    Aluminum alloys retain ductility at these temperatures, corrosion resistance

    is enhanced, and there is no increase in brittleness. No special precautions

    regarding methods of handling at extreme low temperatures are required.


    Precautions for Equipment



            General. All equipment should be winterized for extreme cold prior to

    winter operations in the Arctic. Problems which must be considered for various

    types of equipment are: insulation of fuel and hydraulic lines and ignition

    systems; protection of batteries; change to selected grades of cold-weather

    lubricants; provide protection for operators; eliminate the possibility of

    ice forming on the inside of equipment due to “breathing of the equipment”;

    and the provision for ice grousers on tractor-type units.

            Storage Batteries. High acid content batteries give good performance at

    low temperatures but will deteriorate rapidly at normal temperatures. This

    should be considered in selecting batteries for arctic operations. On all

    equipment using batteries, measures must be taken to maintain a reasonable

    operating temperature for the battery by adopting the following precautions:

    1. Install battery in a location away from the hull or frame which is

      in contact with the outside ofr the ground.

    2. 030      |      Vol_IIB-0037                                                                                                                  
      EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

    3. Insulate batteries with a rock wool, fiber glass, or celotex casing

      or jacket.

    4. Provide heat for battery installation area if necessary. The output

      of batteries decreases because of increased internal resistance at low tempera–

      tures. A fully charged storage battaery at 70°F. will produce only 50% of its

      rated capacity at 0°F., 20% at −40°F., and 10% at −60°F.

            Batteries should be maintained carefully and hydrometer readings taken

    regularly because lead-acid batteries falling below a 1.125 reading will

    burst at 0°F. Storage batteries will not freeze at extreme low temperatures

    if well charged.

            Dry Cell Batteries. The life of such batteries is greatly shortened by

    use at low temperatures, and lower voltages are developed. Less than 10% rated

    capacity will be produced by the dry cell at 0°F. Battery cases should be

    insulated and when not in use carried in warm places. An ordinary flashlight

    that grows dim, when carried in a mittened hand on a cold day may brighten if

    warmed by holding in the bare hand. However, there must be some such thing as thin

    cloth between the hand and the flashlight to prevent a frost burn. Some

    northerners slit the palm of one mitten so they can hold the inserted shaft

    of the flashlight.

            Cameras, Optical and Scientific Instruments. All cameras, binoculars,

    and scientific instruments should be carefully cleaned, reducing the lubricant

    to a minimum, and should be hermetically sealed or moistureproofed where

    possible. Such instruments if to be used out of doors should be kept outside

    during cold weather to eliminate alternate heating and chilling, which will be

    a source of errors as well as tend to cause internal fogging. In using

    binoculars, sextants, theodolites, etc., personnel should be warned against

    031      |      Vol_IIB-0038                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

    fogging the lenses by breathing directly onto them or pressing the eye too

    close to the eyepiece. Lightweight nylon gloves, worn under mittens, are

    sometimes used by personnel to adjust instruments.

            Firearms. Rifles function well at extreme low temperatures, providing a

    minimum of precautions are taken to protect them. Grease should be wiped

    from all mechanisms and the barrel cleaned when outside temperatures drop

    below freezing. Firearms should be kept outside. This point is considered

    crucial by all experienced arctic riflemen. Weapons should be carefully

    checked before and after firing to see that no ice or snow has clogged moving

    parts. A gun cover should be provided for each weapon, and a cap should be

    used when hunting to cover the muzzle of the rifle to prevent snow entering

    the barrel. Metal surfaces of the rifle which may be touched by the hand in

    loading and firing are sometimes covered with tape, permitting use of bare

    hands. Firearms should be cleaned and oiled with a light gun oil when tempera–

    tures return to above freezing.

            Blasting Machines. The push-down type of blasting machine is preferred

    for use in cold weather. The machine should be cleaned and oiled lightly

    with a cold-weather lubricant to obtain the best performance. The blasting

    galvanometer, used to check electrical circuits, becomes completely inactive

    at very low temperatures, but is not permanently injured and will function

    properly if brought back to normal temperature conditions. It is essential

    for best performance that the galvanometer be kept warm by some means until

    the time for actual use.

            Wire Ropes, Cords, and Strands. These items have been used successfully

    in exposed operations at extreme cold temperatures both on the ground and in

    the air. Precautions regarding the use of the wire-rope items will depend

    largely on the material from which the item is made and the extreme temperature

    032      |      Vol_IIB-0039                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effe[e?]cts of Extreme Cold on Materials

    to be encountered. Instructions should be obtained from the manufacturer

    regarding the use of the cable, and the effect of extreme cold on the

    brittleness, impact strength, metal fatigue, and other properties.

            Bolts. Failures of connectors in structures and equipment have been a

    problem. The Chairman of the American Society of Testing Materials Committee

    on Low-Temperature Bolting advises as follows:

            “Only ASTM Specification A 320 bolting, preferably Grade L7 is recommended.

    This grade meets the impact requirement at −50°F by a wide margin. It is

    possible that ASTM specification A 261 heat treated carbon steel bolting

    would be satisfactory, although its impacet resistance would be less, and

    therefore this material would be borderline.”



            In the outfitting of personnel and organizations who are to engage in

    operations under extreme cold conditions, it is oftentimes necessary to

    purchase or design equipment under contract. The preparation of specifications

    for equipment to be furnished under such a contract is of vital important.

    These cannot be written casually but must represent the best experience in

    the field on the subject and should be prepared only by or under the direction

    of those who have had actual and repeated operational experience under extreme

    cold conditions.

            Properly prepared specifications should not only specify detailed design

    information or criteria for the equipment but should describe fully the use

    to which the equipment will be put, the extreme and average conditions under

    which it will operate, and the difficulties that may be anticipated, citing

    problems that may be expected and that may have arisen and have not yet been

    033      |      Vol_IIB-0040                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials

    solved. Such added information will assume proper design and performance

    and avoid the possibility of over design which ofttimes results from lack

    of proper information or understanding of the problem.

            Specifications for other than proved equipment should include testing

    under the conditions established in the design criteria and should provide

    for corrective measures to produce the specified or desired equipment. New

    equipment, once committed to arctic operations, should be followed carefully

    and reports on such equipment should be returned to the originator of the

    specification. Such experience will tend to provide the needed balance in

    design which will ultimately result in providing the equipment most suitable

    for use under year-round arctic conditions.

    034      |      Vol_IIB-0041                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Effects of Extreme Cold on Materials


    1. American Society for Metals. Metals Handbook . Cleveland, O., 1948.

    2. Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus. Low Temperature Properties of

    Lead-Base Solders and Soldered Joints . December, 1948.

    Laboratory publication No.198-48.

    3. Smith, C.S. “Mechanical properties of copper and its alloys at low

    temperatures,” Am.Soc.Test.Mat., Proc ., 1939, vol.39, pp.642-48.

    4. Stefansson, Vilhjalmur. Arctic Manual . N.Y., Macmillan, 1944.

    5. U.S. Forest Service. Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, Wis. Survey

    of Available Literature on the Effect of Arctic Exposure Conditions

    on the Strength Properties of Wood
    . Madison, Wis., June 4, 1948.


    Palmer W. Roberts

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