Rorik Peterson

Rorik Peterson
  • Associate Professor, Ph. D., Mechanical and Chemical Engineering
  • (907) 474-5593
  • Duckering 351B

Background and Research Interest

Dr. Peterson is an associate Professor at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. His current research involves modeling frost heave of soils, and the fracture of brittle materials (rock, concrete) due to ice lensing. He is also involved with numerical dispersion models for tracking volcanic ash clouds.


  • ES 346 - Basic Thermodynamics
  • ME 308 - Measurement and Instrumentation
  • ME 313 - Advanced Thermodynamics
  • ME 685 - Arctic Materials Engineering


  • Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder, 1999
  • M. S. in Chemical Engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder, 1996
  • B. S. in Chemical Engineering, University of California, San Diego, 1994

Research Projects

Dr. Peterson conducts theoretical and experimental research in frost heave and geomorphological pattern formation due to spontaneous differential frost heave. Techniques include analytical stability analysis as well as scaled laboratory simulations.

Dr. Peterson also studies wind-diesel power integration and optimization technology, and the use of energy storage to increase renewable energy penetration in small power grids.

Selected Publications

  • RA Peterson and WB Krantz (2008) "Differential frost heave model for patterned ground formation: Corroboration with observations along a North American arctic transect" J. Geophys. Res. 113, G03S04, doi:10.1029/2007JG000559.
  • RA Peterson. (2008) "Stability analysis and numerical simulation of differential frost heave" Mathematical Geosciences, 40(3), 277-298, doi:10.1007/s11004-008-9150-z.
  • RA Peterson and KG Dean (2008) "Forecasting exposure to airborne volcanic ash based on ash dispersion modeling", J. Volcanology and Geothermal Res. 170, 230-246 doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2007.10.003.
  • JB Murton, R Peterson, J-C Ozouf. (2006) Bedrock fracture by ice segregation in cold regions. Science 314, 1127-1129, doi:10.1126/science.1132127.
  • RA Peterson and WB Krantz. (2003) "A mechanism for differential frost heave and its implications for patterned ground formations." J. Glaciology, 49 (164) , 69-80, doi:10.3189/172756503781830854.
  • RA Peterson, DA Walker, VE Romanovsky, JA Knudson, MK Raynolds and WB Krantz. (2003) "A differential frost heave model: cryoturbation-vegetation interactions", Permafrost - proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Permafrost Phillips, Springman, Arenson (eds). pp. 885-890
  • RA Peterson, AR Greenberg, LJ Bond, and WB Krantz. (1998) "Use of Ultrasonic TDR for real-time, noninvasive measurement of compressive strain during membrane compaction." Desalination 116 (2), 115-122 doi:10.1016/S0011-9164(98)00188-X.

Awards and Honors

  • Marshall-Sherfield Postdoctoral Fellowship