Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering Management


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Diedrich Prigge V, PhD.


This research uses a quantitative analysis to develop a family of curves and a calculator for potential foundation thresholds in the discontinuous permafrost region of Alaska. The United States Pacific Command (PACAF) is bolstering the region by advocating for the F-35, KC-46, and the newly proposed long-range bomber to be stationed in Alaska. These next generation aircrafts and warfighters will need new facilities and beddown plans to efficiently and effectively carry out their mission. The biggest obstacle in the region is permafrost; this unique polar phenomenon is found throughout the northern half of Alaska. Fairbanks in particular has multiple military bases that could benefit from knowing which foundation type would excel in the region. With the help of seven experts in construction, excavation, and geotechnical engineering fields, the researcher discussed methods of constructing a fictitious foundation located at Eielson AFB. The average regional cost per cubic yard of soil is $4.13; however, the average cost to excavate permafrost catapults to $11.50. With different types of proven foundations used in Alaska, all experts agreed that helical piles and thermosyphons are for extreme scenarios and would not be cost-effective in the discontinuous permafrost region. Concrete piles and excavation being the two true contenders for the area, the researcher discovered that excavating is superior to concrete piles until the volume of permafrost exceeds 94% of the construction site. Even though Fairbanks has one of the cheapest concrete batch plants in Alaska, excavating and hauling fill materials miles away is ultimately cheaper for the military.

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