China warmly awards permafrost researchers

Findings enabled completion of high-altitude rail line to Tibet
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A Chinese passenger train pauses at a station along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. Construction engineers used Chinese permafrost research to stabilize the railroad bed and right-of-way.
Albert Tay
BEIJING — China is recognizing permafrost scientists whose research is partly responsible for completion of the world's highest railroad on the Tibetan plateau in 2006.

The China News Service reports that a team of researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences received a national Science and Technology Award for more than 50 years of work stabilizing permafrost for construction.

Their findings, which resulted in new devices and methods to manage thermal radiation, convection, and conduction in permafrost means that construction officials can manipulate the temperature of permafrost under rail beds to make sure it stays consistently frozen. That work enabled completion of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway that Chinese workers began building in 1958, and that was featured in the December 2015 issue of Trains.

Future use of the scientists' research is expected to include construction for pipelines and highways in China, as well as future infrastructure projects in Russia.
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