Matching Items (146)
This dissertation describes development of a procedure for obtaining high quality, optical grade sand coupons from frozen sand specimens of Ottawa 20/30 sand for image processing and analysis to quantify soil structure along with a methodology for quantifying the microstructure from the images. A technique for thawing and stabilizing frozen core samples was developed using optical grade Buehler® Epo-Tek® epoxy resin, a modified triaxial cell, a vacuum/reservoir chamber, a desiccator, and a moisture gauge. The uniform epoxy resin impregnation required proper drying of the soil specimen, application of appropriate confining pressure and vacuum levels, and epoxy mixing, de-airing and curing. The resulting stabilized sand specimen was sectioned into 10 mm thick coupons that were planed, ground, and polished with progressively finer diamond abrasive grit levels using the modified Allied HTP Inc. polishing method so that the soil structure could be accurately quantified using images obtained with the use of an optical microscopy technique. Illumination via Bright Field Microscopy was used to capture the images for subsequent image processing and sand microstructure analysis. The quality of resulting images and the validity of the subsequent image morphology analysis hinged largely on employment of a polishing and grinding technique that resulted in a flat, scratch free, reflective coupon surface characterized by minimal microstructure relief and good contrast between the sand particles and the surrounding epoxy resin. Subsequent image processing involved conversion of the color images first to gray scale images and then to binary images with the use of contrast and image adjustments, removal of noise and image artifacts, image filtering, and image segmentation. Mathematical morphology algorithms were used on the resulting binary images to further enhance image quality. The binary images were then used to calculate soil structure parameters that included particle roundness and sphericity, particle orientation variability represented by rose diagrams, statistics on the local void ratio variability as a function of the sample size, and the local void ratio distribution histograms using Oda's method and Voronoi tessellation method, including the skewness, kurtosis, and entropy of a gamma cumulative probability distribution fit to the local void ratio distribution.
The importance of unsaturated soil behavior stems from the fact that a vast majority of infrastructures are founded on unsaturated soils. Research has recently been concentrated on unsaturated soil properties. In the evaluation of unsaturated soils, researchers agree that soil water retention characterized by the soil water characteristic curve (SWCC) is among the most important factors when assessing fluid flow, volume change and shear strength for these soils. The temperature influence on soil moisture flow is a major concern in the design of important engineering systems such as barriers in underground repositories for radioactive waste disposal, ground-source heat pump (GSHP) systems, evapotranspirative (ET) covers and pavement systems.. Accurate modeling of the temperature effect on the SWCC may lead to reduction in design costs, simpler constructability, and hence, more sustainable structures. . The study made use of two possible approaches to assess the temperature effect on the SWCC. In the first approach, soils were sorted from a large soil database into families of similar properties but located on sites with different MAAT. The SWCCs were plotted for each family of soils. Most families of soils showed a clear trend indicating the influence of temperature on the soil water retention curve at low degrees of saturation.. The second approach made use of statistical analysis. It was demonstrated that the suction increases as the MAAT decreases. The statistical analysis showed that even though the plasticity index proved to have the greatest influence on suction, the mean annual air temperature effect proved not to be negligible. In both approaches, a strong relationship between temperature, suction and soil properties was observed. Finally, a comparison of the model based on the mean annual air temperature environmental factor was compared to another model that makes use of the Thornthwaite Moisture Index (TMI) to estimate the environmental effects on the suction of unsaturated soils. Results showed that the MAAT can be a better indicator when compared to the TMI found but the results were inconclusive due to the lack of TMI data available.
The structural design of pavements in both highways and airfields becomes complex when one considers environmental effects and ground water table variation. Environmental effects have been incorporated on the new Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) but little has been done to incorporate environmental effects on airfield design. This work presents a developed code produced from this research study called ZAPRAM, which is a mechanistically based pavement model based upon Limiting Strain Criteria in airfield HMA pavement design procedures. ZAPRAM is capable of pavement and airfield design analyses considering environmental effects. The program has been coded in Visual Basic and implemented in an event-driven, user-friendly educational computer program, which runs in Excel environment. Several studies were conducted in order to insure the validity of the analysis as well as the efficiency of the software. The first study yielded the minimum threshold number of computational points the user should use at a specific depth within the pavement system. The second study was completed to verify the correction factor for the Odemark's transformed thickness equation. Default correction factors were included in the code base on a large comparative study between Odemark's and MLET. A third study was conducted to provide a comparison of flexible airfield pavement design thicknesses derived from three widely accepted design procedures used in practice today: the Asphalt Institute, Shell Oil, and the revised Corps of Engineering rutting failure criteria to calculate the thickness requirements necessary for a range of design input variables. The results of the comparative study showed that there is a significant difference between the pavement thicknesses obtained from the three design procedures, with the greatest deviation found between the Shell Oil approach and the other two criteria. Finally, a comprehensive sensitivity study of environmental site factors and the groundwater table depth upon flexible airfield pavement design and performance was completed. The study used the newly revised USACE failure criteria for subgrade shear deformation. The methodology utilized the same analytical methodology to achieve real time environmental effects upon unbound layer modulus, as that used in the new AASHTO MEPDG. The results of this effort showed, for the first time, the quantitative impact of the significant effects of the climatic conditions at the design site, coupled with the importance of the depth of the groundwater table, on the predicted design thicknesses. Significant cost savings appear to be quite reasonable by utilizing principles of unsaturated soil mechanics into the new airfield pavement design procedure found in program ZAPRAM.
Pavement preservation is the practice of selecting and applying maintenance activities in order to extend pavement life, enhance performance, and ensure cost effectiveness. Pavement preservation methods should be applied before pavements display significant amounts of environmental distress. The long-term effectiveness of different pavement preservation techniques can be measured in terms of life extension, relative benefit, and benefit-cost ratio. Optimal timing of pavement preservation means that the given maintenance treatment is applied so that it will extend the life of the roadway for the longest possible period with the minimum cost. This document examines the effectiveness of chip seal treatment in four climatic zones in the United States. The Long-Term Pavement Performance database was used to extract roughness and traffic data, as well as the maintenance and rehabilitation histories of treated and untreated sections. The sections were categorized into smooth, medium, and rough pavements, based upon initial condition as indicated by the International Roughness Index. Pavement performance of treated and untreated sections was collectively modeled using exponential regression analysis. Effectiveness was evaluated in terms of life extension, relative benefit, and benefit-cost ratio. The results of the study verified the assumption that treated sections performed better than untreated sections. The results also showed that the life extension, relative benefit, and benefit cost ratio are highest for sections whose initial condition is smooth at the time of chip seal treatment. These same measures of effectiveness are lowest for pavements whose condition is rough at the time of treatment. Chip seal treatment effectiveness showed no correlation to climatic conditions or to traffic levels.
Concrete columns constitute the fundamental supports of buildings, bridges, and various other infrastructures, and their failure could lead to the collapse of the entire structure. As such, great effort goes into improving the fire resistance of such columns. In a time sensitive fire situation, a delay in the failure of critical load bearing structures can lead to an increase in time allowed for the evacuation of occupants, recovery of property, and access to the fire. Much work has been done in improving the structural performance of concrete including reducing column sizes and providing a safer structure. As a result, high-strength (HS) concrete has been developed to fulfill the needs of such improvements. HS concrete varies from normal-strength (NS) concrete in that it has a higher stiffness, lower permeability and larger durability. This, unfortunately, has resulted in poor performance under fire. The lower permeability allows for water vapor to build up causing HS concrete to suffer from explosive spalling under rapid heating. In addition, the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of HS concrete is lower than that of NS concrete. In this study, the effects of introducing a region of crumb rubber concrete into a steel-reinforced concrete column were analyzed. The inclusion of crumb rubber concrete into a column will greatly increase the thermal resistivity of the overall column, leading to a reduction in core temperature as well as the rate at which the column is heated. Different cases were analyzed while varying the positioning of the crumb-rubber region to characterize the effect of position on the improvement of fire resistance. Computer simulated finite element analysis was used to calculate the temperature and strain distribution with time across the column's cross-sectional area with specific interest in the steel - concrete region. Of the several cases which were investigated, it was found that the improvement of time before failure ranged between 32 to 45 minutes.
Public-Private Partnerships (P3) in North America have become a trend in the past two decades and are gaining attention in the transportation industry with some large scale projects being delivered by this approach. This is due to the need for alternative funding sources for public projects and for improved efficiency of these projects in order to save time and money. Several research studies have been done, including mature markets in Europe and Australia, on the cost and schedule performance of transportation projects but no similar study has been conducted in North America. This study focuses on cost and schedule performance of twelve P3 transportation projects during their construction phase, costing over $100 million each, consisting of roads and bridges only with no signature tunnels. The P3 approach applied in this study is the Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain (DBFOM) model and the results obtained are compared with similar research studies on North American Design-Build (DB) and Design-Bid-Build (DBB) projects. The schedule performance for P3 projects in this study was found to be -0.23 percent versus estimated as compared to the 4.34 percent for the DBB projects and 11.04 percent for the DB projects in the Shrestha study, indicating P3 projects are completed in less time than other methods. The cost performance in this study was 0.81 percent for the P3 projects while in the Shrestha study the average cost increase for the four DB projects was found to be 1.49 percent while for the DBB projects it was 12.71 percent, again indicating P3 projects reduce cost compared to other delivery approaches. The limited number of projects available for this study does not allow us to draw an explicit conclusion on the performance of P3s in North America but paves the way for future studies to explore more data as it becomes available. However, the results in this study show that P3 projects have good cost and schedule adherence to the contract requirements. This study gives us an initial comparison of P3 performance with the more traditional approach and shows us the empirical benefits and limitations of the P3 approach in the highway construction industry.
Tall buildings are spreading across the globe at an ever-increasing rate (www.ctbuh.org). The global number of buildings 200m or more in height has risen from 286 to 602 in the last decade alone. The increasing complexity of building architecture poses unique challenges in the structural design of modern tall buildings. Hence, innovative structural systems need to be evaluated to create an economical design that satisfies multiple design criteria. Design using traditional trial-and-error approach can be extremely time-consuming and the resultant design uneconomical. Thus, there is a need for an efficient numerical optimization tool that can explore and generate several design alternatives in the preliminary design phase which can lead to a more desirable final design. In this study, we present the details of a tool that can be very useful in preliminary design optimization - finite element modeling, design optimization, translating design code requirements into components of the FE and design optimization models, and pre-and post-processing to verify the veracity of the model. Emphasis is placed on development and deployment of various FE models (static, modal and dynamic analyses; linear, beam and plate/shell finite elements), design optimization problem formulation (sizing, shape, topology and material selection optimization) and numerical optimization tools (gradient-based and evolutionary optimization methods) [Rajan, 2001]. The design optimization results of full scale three dimensional buildings subject to multiple design criteria including stress, serviceability and dynamic response are discussed.
The purpose of this research was to introduce unsaturated soil mechanics to the undergraduate geotechnical engineering course in a concise and easy to understand manner. Also, it was essential to develop unsaturated soil mechanics teaching material that merges smoothly into current undergraduate curriculum and with sufficient flexibility for broad adaptation by faculty. The learning material consists of three lecture modules and a laboratory module. The lecture modules introduced soil mechanics for the general 3-phase medium condition with the saturated soil as a special case. The three lecture modules that were developed are (1) the stress state variables for unsaturated soils, (2) soil-water characteristic curves, and (3) axis translation. A PowerPoint presentation was created to present each module in an easy to understand manner so that the students will enjoy the learning material. Along with the lecture modules, a laboratory module was developed that reinforced the key aspects and concepts for unsaturated soil behavior. A laboratory manual was created for the Tempe Pressure Cell and Fredlund SWC-150 device (one-dimensional oedometer pressure plate device) in order to give the instructor and institution a choice of which testing equipment best fits their program. Along with the laboratory manuals, an analysis guide was created to help students with constructing SWCCs from their laboratory. A soil type recommendation was also researched for use in the laboratory module. The soil ensured acceptably short equilibrium times along with a wide range or suction values controllable by both testing equipment (Tempe Pressure Cell and Fredlund SWC-150). A silt type soil material was recommended for the laboratory module. As a part of this research, a smooth transition from unsaturated to saturated condition was demonstrated through laboratory volume change experiments using a silt soil tested in an oedometer-type pressure plate device. Three different experiments were conducted: (1) volume change for unsaturated soils in response to suction and net normal stress change, (2) volume change for saturated soils in response to effective stress change, as determined using unsaturated soils testing equipment, and (3) traditional consolidation tests on saturated soil using a conventional consolidometer device.
Managed Lanes (MLs) have been increasingly advocated as a way to reduce congestion. This study provides an innovative new tolling strategy for MLs called the travel time refund (TTR). The TTR is an “insurance” that ensures the ML user will arrive to their destination within a specified travel time savings, at an additional fee to the toll. If the user fails to arrive to their destination, the user is refunded the toll amount.
To gauge interest in the TTR, a stated preference survey was developed and distributed throughout the Phoenix-metropolitan area. Over 2,200 responses were gathered with about 805 being completed. Exploratory data analysis of the data included a descriptive analysis regarding individual and household demographic variables, HOV usage and satisfaction levels, HOT usage and interests, and TTR interests. Cross-tabulation analysis is further conducted to examine trends and correlations between variables, if any.
Because most survey takers were in Arizona, the majority (53%) of respondents were unfamiliar with HOT lanes and their practices. This may have had an impact on the interest in the TTR, although it was not apparent when looking at the cross-tabulation between HOT knowledge and TTR interest. The concept of the HOT lane and “paying to travel” itself may have turned people away from the TTR option. Therefore, similar surveys implementing new HOT pricing strategies should be deployed where current HOT practices are already in existence. Moreover, introducing the TTR concept to current HOT users may also receive valuable feedback in its future deployment.
Further analysis will include the weighting of data to account for sample bias, an exploration of the stated preference scenarios to determine what factors were significant in peoples’ choices, and a predictive model of those choices based on demographic information.
Due to the lack of understanding of soil thermal behavior, rules-of-thumb and generalized procedures are typically used to guide building professionals in the design of ground coupled heat pump systems. This is especially true when sizing the ground heat exchanger (GHE) loop. Unfortunately, these generalized procedures often encourage building engineers to adopt a conservative design approach resulting in the gross over-sizing of the GHE, thus drastically increasing their installation cost. This conservative design approach is particularly prevalent for buildings located in hot and arid climates, where the soils are often granular and where the water table tends to exist deep below the soil surface. These adverse soil conditions reduce the heat dissipation efficiency of the GHE and have hindered the adoption of ground coupled heat pump systems in such climates. During cooling mode operation, heat is extracted from the building and rejected into the ground via the GHE. Prolonged heat dissipation into the ground can result in a coupled flow of both heat and moisture, causing the moisture to migrate away from the GHE piping. This coupled flow phenomenon causes the soil near the GHE to dry out and results in the degradation of the GHE heat dissipation capacity. Although relatively simple techniques of backfilling the GHE have been used in practice to mitigate such coupled effects, methods of improving the thermal behavior of the backfill region around the GHE, especially in horizontal systems, have not been extensively studied. This thesis presents an experimental study of heat dissipation from a horizontal GHE, buried in two backfill materials: (1) dry sand, and (2) wax-sand composite mixture. The HYDRUS software was then used to numerically model the temperature profiles associated with the aforementioned backfill conditions, and the influence of the contact resistance at the GHE-backfill interface was studied. The modeling strategy developed in HYDRUS was proven to be adequate in predicting the thermal performance of GHE buried in dry sand. However, when predicting the GHE heat dissipation in the wax-sand backfill, significant discrepancies between model prediction and experimental results still exist even after calibrating the model by including a term for the contact resistance. Overall, the thermal properties of the backfill were determined to be a key determinant of the GHE heat dissipation capacity. In particular, the wax-sand backfill was estimated to dissipate 50-60% more heat than dry sand backfill.