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Laboratory determination of hydraulic conductivity functions for unsaturated cracked fine grained soil

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In geotechnical engineering, measuring the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity of fine grained soils can be time consuming and tedious. The various applications that require knowledge of the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity function are great, and in geotechnical engineering, they range from

In geotechnical engineering, measuring the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity of fine grained soils can be time consuming and tedious. The various applications that require knowledge of the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity function are great, and in geotechnical engineering, they range from modeling seepage through landfill covers to determining infiltration of water under a building slab. The unsaturated hydraulic conductivity function can be measured using various direct and indirect techniques. The instantaneous profile method has been found to be the most promising unsteady state method for measuring the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity function for fine grained soils over a wide range of suction values. The instantaneous profile method can be modified by using different techniques to measure suction and water content and also through the way water is introduced or removed from the soil profile. In this study, the instantaneous profile method was modified by creating duplicate soil samples compacted into cylindrical tubes at two different water contents. The techniques used in the duplicate method to measure the water content and matric suction included volumetric moisture probes, manual water content measurements, and filter paper tests. The experimental testing conducted in this study provided insight into determining the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity using the instantaneous profile method for a sandy clay soil and recommendations are provided for further evaluation. Overall, this study has demonstrated that the presence of cracks has no significant impact on the hydraulic behavior of soil in high suction ranges. The results of this study do not examine the behavior of cracked soil unsaturated hydraulic conductivity at low suction and at moisture contents near saturation.

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Date Created
2011

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Bioreactor Alternative to Conventional Landfills

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Currently conventional Subtitle D landfills are the primary means of disposing of our waste in the United States. While this method of waste disposal aims at protecting the environment, it does so through the use of liners and caps that

Currently conventional Subtitle D landfills are the primary means of disposing of our waste in the United States. While this method of waste disposal aims at protecting the environment, it does so through the use of liners and caps that effectively freeze the breakdown of waste. Because this method can keep landfills active, and thus a potential groundwater threat for over a hundred years, I take an in depth look at the ability of bioreactor landfills to quickly stabilize waste. In the thesis I detail the current state of bioreactor landfill technologies, assessing the pros and cons of anaerobic and aerobic bioreactor technologies. Finally, with an industrial perspective, I conclude that moving on to bioreactor landfills as an alternative isn't as simple as it may first appear, and that it is a contextually specific solution that must be further refined before replacing current landfills.

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2013-05

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

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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

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.

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Date Created
2011

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Temperature effect on the soil water retention characteristic

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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

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.

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Date Created
2011

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Introducing unsaturated soil mechanics to undergraduate students through the net stress concepts

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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

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.

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Date Created
2013

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Geochemical analysis of the leachate generated after zero valent metals addition to municipal solid waste

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Zero-Valent Metals (ZVM) are highly reactive materials and have been proved to be effective in contaminant reduction in soils and groundwater remediation. In fact, zero-Valent Iron (ZVI) has proven to be very effective in removing, particularly chlorinated organics, heavy metals,

Zero-Valent Metals (ZVM) are highly reactive materials and have been proved to be effective in contaminant reduction in soils and groundwater remediation. In fact, zero-Valent Iron (ZVI) has proven to be very effective in removing, particularly chlorinated organics, heavy metals, and odorous sulfides. Addition of ZVI has also been proved in enhancing the methane gas generation in anaerobic digestion of activated sludge. However, no studies have been conducted regarding the effect of ZVM stimulation to Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) degradation. Therefore, a collaborative study was developed to manipulate microbial activity in the landfill bioreactors to favor methane production by adding ZVMs. This study focuses on evaluating the effects of added ZVM on the leachate generated from replicated lab scale landfill bioreactors. The specific objective was to investigate the effects of ZVMs addition on the organic and inorganic pollutants in leachate. The hypothesis here evaluated was that adding ZVM including ZVI and Zero Valent Manganese (ZVMn) will enhance the removal rates of the organic pollutants present in the leachate, likely by a putative higher rate of microbial metabolism. Test with six (4.23 gallons) bioreactors assembled with MSW collected from the Salt River Landfill and Southwest Regional Landfill showed that under 5 grams /liter of ZVI and 0.625 grams/liter of ZVMn additions, no significant difference was observed in the pH and temperature data of the leachate generated from these reactors. The conductivity data suggested the steady rise across all reactors over the period of time. The removal efficiency of sCOD was highest (27.112 mg/lit/day) for the reactors added with ZVMn at the end of 150 days for bottom layer, however the removal rate was highest (16.955 mg/lit/day) for ZVI after the end of 150 days of the middle layer. Similar trends in the results was observed in TC analysis. HPLC study indicated the dominance of the concentration of heptanoate and isovalerate were leachate generated from the bottom layer across all reactors. Heptanoate continued to dominate in the ZVMn added leachate even after middle layer injection. IC analysis concluded the chloride was dominant in the leachate generated from all the reactors and there was a steady increase in the chloride content over the period of time. Along with chloride, fluoride, bromide, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate and sulfate were also detected in considerable concentrations. In the summary, the addition of the zero valent metals has proved to be efficient in removal of the organics present in the leachate.

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Date Created
2019