Matching Items (8)

135444-Thumbnail Image.png

Automated Multi-Stage Triaxial Testing of Loose and Dense Sands

Description

The goal of this project was to develop criteria to signify when a soil specimen is just on the verge of failure when tested in a consolidated-drained triaxial test. By

The goal of this project was to develop criteria to signify when a soil specimen is just on the verge of failure when tested in a consolidated-drained triaxial test. By identifying the imminent failure of the specimen, a multi-stage triaxial test can be automated, allowing for soil strength properties to be determined from a single specimen. The purpose of identification of imminent failure of the specimen is for purposes of development of automated multi-stage test operation of a single specimen for determination of soil properties. Currently, shear strength parameters for a soil could either be calculated from at least three separate triaxial tests or a multi-stage test where each stage would end based on the operator's judgement. By developing generalized criteria that would signify failure, and therefore the need to move on to the next stage of a multi-state test, a computer program could be used to automatically end one loading stage and begin the next. This automation would allow for a wider use of multi-stage tests, which are faster and therefore less expensive to run than three standard triaxial tests. Triaxial tests were performed on loose and dense sand specimens. During standard testing, the loose sand had a friction angle of 29.61o and the dense sand had a friction angle of 38.63o. Using a zero tangent modulus as the stage-end criteria, the loose sand had a friction angle of 27.69o and the dense sand had a friction angle of 37.03o. Using the maximum volumetric strain as the stage-end criteria, the loose sand had a friction angle of 25.16o. The multi-stage shear strength parameters were reasonable compared to the single-stage test parameters, if slightly conservative. This suggests that computer automation of multi-stage triaxial tests will produce results that can be used in analysis and design by geotechnical engineers. However, more research will be required to confirm this initial assumptions for a wider range of sand gradations as well as for other soil types and testing conditions.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-05

152091-Thumbnail Image.png

The influence of soil characteristics on Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) post wild fire restoration efforts

Description

The Cave Creek Complex fires of June and July of 2005 north of Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A. burned 248,310 acres of Sonoran desert, primarily on the Tonto National Forest, USFS. The

The Cave Creek Complex fires of June and July of 2005 north of Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A. burned 248,310 acres of Sonoran desert, primarily on the Tonto National Forest, USFS. The fires consumed multiple stands of the keystone species Carnegiea gigantea, the saguaro cactus. Restoration efforts in late spring 2007 involved the monitoring of 200 transplanted saguaro cacti over a two year period for overall establishment and success. Observation of local saguaro distribution suggests that soil factors might influence saguaro growth. Therefore, soil samples were collected from each transplant location and analyzed for percentage coarse fragments, texture, pH and electrical conductivity as soil collection and analysis of these variables are relatively inexpensive and expedient. Regression analysis was used to determine which, if any of these soil characteristics significantly correlated with plant growth. The results of this study found significant correlation between saguaro transplant growth and the soil variables of clay content and pH, but no correlation between saguaro growth and coarse fragment percentages or electrical conductivity.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

150101-Thumbnail Image.png

Undisturbed sampling of cohesionless soil for evaluation of mechanical properties and micro-structure

Description

As a prelude to a study on the post-liquefaction properties and structure of soil, an investigation of ground freezing as an undisturbed sampling technique was conducted to investigate the ability

As a prelude to a study on the post-liquefaction properties and structure of soil, an investigation of ground freezing as an undisturbed sampling technique was conducted to investigate the ability of this sampling technique to preserve soil structure and properties. Freezing the ground is widely regarded as an appropriate technique to recover undisturbed samples of saturated cohesionless soil for laboratory testing, despite the fact that water increases in volume when frozen. The explanation generally given for the preservation of soil structure using the freezing technique was that, as long as the freezing front advanced uni-directionally, the expanding pore water is expelled ahead of the freezing front as the front advances. However, a literature review on the transition of water to ice shows that the volume of ice expands approximately nine percent after freezing, bringing into question the hypothesized mechanism and the ability of a frozen and then thawed specimen to retain the properties and structure of the soil in situ. Bench-top models were created by pluviation of sand. The soil in the model was then saturated and subsequently frozen. Freezing was accomplished using a pan filled with alcohol and dry ice placed on the surface of the sand layer to induce a unidirectional freezing front in the sample container. Coring was used to recover frozen samples from model containers. Recovered cores were then placed in a triaxial cell, thawed, and subjected to consolidated undrained loading. The stress-strain-strength behavior of the thawed cores was compared to the behavior of specimens created in a split mold by pluviation and then saturated and sheared without freezing and thawing. The laboratory testing provide insight to the impact of freezing and thawing on the properties of cohesionless soil.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

152261-Thumbnail Image.png

Niche differentiation of ammonia-oxidizing microbial communities in arid land soils

Description

Human activity has increased loading of reactive nitrogen (N) in the environment, with important and often deleterious impacts on biodiversity, climate, and human health. Since the fate of N in

Human activity has increased loading of reactive nitrogen (N) in the environment, with important and often deleterious impacts on biodiversity, climate, and human health. Since the fate of N in the ecosystem is mainly controlled by microorganisms, understanding the factors that shape microbial communities becomes relevant and urgent. In arid land soils, these microbial communities and factors are not well understood. I aimed to study the role of N cycling microbes, such as the ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), the recently discovered ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA), and various fungal groups, in soils of arid lands. I also tested if niche differentiation among microbial populations is a driver of differential biogeochemical outcomes. I found that N cycling microbial communities in arid lands are structured by environmental factors to a stronger degree than what is generally observed in mesic systems. For example, in biological soil crusts, temperature selected for AOA in warmer deserts and for AOB in colder deserts. Land-use change also affects niche differentiation, with fungi being the major agents of N2O production in natural arid lands, whereas emissions could be attributed to bacteria in mesic urban lawns. By contrast, NO3- production in the native desert and managed soils was mainly controlled by autotrophic microbes (i.e., AOB and AOA) rather than by heterotrophic fungi. I could also determine that AOA surprisingly responded positively to inorganic N availability in both short (one month) and long-term (seven years) experimental manipulations in an arid land soil, while environmental N enrichment in other ecosystem types is known to favor AOB over AOA. This work improves our predictions of ecosystem response to anthropogenic N increase and shows that paradigms derived from mesic systems are not always applicable to arid lands. My dissertation also highlights the unique ecology of ammonia oxidizers and draws attention to the importance of N cycling in desert soils.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

150779-Thumbnail Image.png

Hillslope scale hydrologic spatial patterns in a patchy Ponderosa pine landscape: insights from distributed hydrologic modeling

Description

Ponderosa pine forests are a dominant land cover type in semiarid montane areas. Water supplies in major rivers of the southwestern United States depend on ponderosa pine forests since these

Ponderosa pine forests are a dominant land cover type in semiarid montane areas. Water supplies in major rivers of the southwestern United States depend on ponderosa pine forests since these ecosystems: (1) receive a significant amount of rainfall and snowfall, (2) intercept precipitation and transpire water, and (3) indirectly influence runoff by impacting the infiltration rate. However, the hydrologic patterns in these ecosystems with strong seasonality are poorly understood. In this study, we used a distributed hydrologic model evaluated against field observations to improve our understandings on spatial controls of hydrologic patterns, appropriate model resolution to simulate ponderosa pine ecosystems and hydrologic responses in the context of contrasting winter to summer transitions. Our modeling effort is focused on the hydrologic responses during the North American Monsoon (NAM), winter and spring periods. In Chapter 2, we utilized a distributed model explore the spatial controls on simulated soil moisture and temporal evolution of these spatial controls as a function of seasonal wetness. Our findings indicate that vegetation and topographic curvature are spatial controls. Vegetation controlled patterns during dry summer period switch to fine-scale terrain curvature controlled patterns during persistently wet NAM period. Thus, a climatic threshold involving rainfall and weather conditions during the NAM is identified when high rainfall amount (such as 146 mm rain in August, 1997) activates lateral flux of soil moisture and frequent cloudy cover (such as 42% cloud cover during daytime of August, 1997) lowers evapotranspiration. In Chapter 3, we investigate the impacts of model coarsening on simulated soil moisture patterns during the NAM. Results indicate that model aggregation quickly eradicates curvature features and its spatial control on hydrologic patterns. A threshold resolution of ~10% of the original terrain is identified through analyses of homogeneity indices, correlation coefficients and spatial errors beyond which the fidelity of simulated soil moisture is no longer reliable. Based on spatial error analyses, we detected that the concave areas (~28% of hillslope) are very sensitive to model coarsening and root mean square error (RMSE) is higher than residual soil moisture content (~0.07 m3/m3 soil moisture) for concave areas. Thus, concave areas need to be sampled for capturing appropriate hillslope response for this hillslope. In Chapter 4, we investigate the impacts of contrasting winter to summer transitions on hillslope hydrologic responses. We use a distributed hydrologic model to generate a consistent set of high-resolution hydrologic estimates. Our model is evaluated against the snow depth, soil moisture and runoff observations over two water years yielding reliable spatial distributions during the winter to summer transitions. We find that a wet winter followed by a dry summer promotes evapotranspiration losses (spatial averaged ~193 mm spring ET and ~ 600 mm summer ET) that dry the soil and disconnect lateral fluxes in the forested hillslope, leading to soil moisture patterns resembling vegetation patches. Conversely, a dry winter prior to a wet summer results in soil moisture increases due to high rainfall and low ET during the spring (spatially averaged 78 mm ET and 232 mm rainfall) and summer period (spatially averaged 147 mm ET and 247 mm rainfall) which promote lateral connectivity and soil moisture patterns with the signature of terrain curvature. An opposing temporal switch between infiltration and saturation excess runoff is also identified. These contrasting responses indicate that the inverse relation has significant consequences on hillslope water availability and its spatial distribution with implications on other ecohydrological processes including vegetation phenology, groundwater recharge and geomorphic development. Results from this work have implications on the design of hillslope experiments, the resolution of hillslope scale models, and the prediction of hydrologic conditions in ponderosa pine ecosystems. In addition, our findings can be used to select future hillslope sites for detailed ecohydrological investigations. Further, the proposed methodology can be useful for predicting responses to climate and land cover changes that are anticipated for the southwestern United States.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

152073-Thumbnail Image.png

The impact of liquefaction on the microstructure of cohesionless soils

Description

The effect of earthquake-induced liquefaction on the local void ratio distribution of cohesionless soil is evaluated using x-ray computed tomography (CT) and an advanced image processing software package. Intact, relatively

The effect of earthquake-induced liquefaction on the local void ratio distribution of cohesionless soil is evaluated using x-ray computed tomography (CT) and an advanced image processing software package. Intact, relatively undisturbed specimens of cohesionless soil were recovered before and after liquefaction by freezing and coring soil deposits created by pluviation and by sedimentation through water. Pluviated soil deposits were liquefied in the small geotechnical centrifuge at the University of California at Davis shared-use National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) facility. A soil deposit created by sedimentation through water was liquefied on a small shake table in the Arizona State University geotechnical laboratory. Initial centrifuge tests employed Ottawa 20-30 sand but this material proved to be too coarse to liquefy in the centrifuge. Therefore, subsequent centrifuge tests employed Ottawa F60 sand. The shake table test employed Ottawa 20-30 sand. Recovered cores were stabilized by impregnation with optical grade epoxy and sent to the University of Texas at Austin NSF-supported facility at the University of Texas at Austin for high-resolution CT scanning of geologic media. The local void ratio distribution of a CT-scanned core of Ottawa 20-30 sand evaluated using Avizo® Fire, a commercially available advanced program for image analysis, was compared to the local void ratio distribution established on the same core by analysis of optical images to demonstrate that analysis of the CT scans gave similar results to optical methods. CT scans were subsequently conducted on liquefied and not-liquefied specimens of Ottawa 20-30 sand and Ottawa F60 sand. The resolution of F60 specimens was inadequate to establish the local void ratio distribution. Results of the analysis of the Ottawa 20-30 specimens recovered from the model built for the shake table test showed that liquefaction can substantially influence the variability in local void ratio, increasing the degree of non-homogeneity in the specimen.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

149919-Thumbnail Image.png

Estimating the soil-water characteristic curve using grain size analysis and plasticity index

Description

The infrastructure is built in Unsaturated Soils. However, the geotechnical practitioners insist in designing the structures based on Saturated Soil Mechanics. The design of structures based on unsaturated soil mechanics

The infrastructure is built in Unsaturated Soils. However, the geotechnical practitioners insist in designing the structures based on Saturated Soil Mechanics. The design of structures based on unsaturated soil mechanics is desirable because it reduces cost and it is by far a more sustainable approach. The research community has identified the Soil-Water Characteristic Curve as the most important soil property when dealing with unsaturated conditions. This soil property is unpopular among practitioners because the laboratory testing takes an appreciable amount of time. Several authors have attempted predicting the Soil-Water Characteristic Curve; however, most of the published predictions are based on a very limited soil database. The National Resources Conservation Service has a vast database of engineering soil properties with more than 36,000 soils, which includes water content measurements at different levels of suctions. This database was used in this study to validate two existing models that based the Soil-Water Characteristic Curve prediction on statistical analysis. It was found that although the predictions are acceptable for some ranges of suctions; they did not performed that well for others. It was found that the first model validated was accurate for fine-grained soils, while the second model was best for granular soils. For these reasons, two models to estimate the Soil-Water Characteristic Curve are proposed. The first model estimates the fitting parameters of the Fredlund and Xing (1994) function separately and then, the predicted parameters are fitted to the Fredlund and Xing function for an overall estimate of the degree of saturation. Results show an overall improvement on the predicted values when compared to existing models. The second model is based on the relationship between the Soil-Water Characteristic Curve and the Pore-Size Distribution of the soils. The process allows for the prediction of the entire Soil-Water Characteristic Curve function and proved to be a better approximation than that used in the first attempt. Both models constitute important tools in the implementation of unsaturated soil mechanics into engineering practice due to the link of the prediction with simple and well known engineering soil properties.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

150127-Thumbnail Image.png

Stabilization and imaging of cohesionless soil specimens

Description

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

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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011