Matching Items (4)

152110-Thumbnail Image.png

Volume change behavior of expansive soils due to wetting and drying cycles

Description

In a laboratory setting, the soil volume change behavior is best represented by using various testing standards on undisturbed or remolded samples. Whenever possible, it is most precise to use

In a laboratory setting, the soil volume change behavior is best represented by using various testing standards on undisturbed or remolded samples. Whenever possible, it is most precise to use undisturbed samples to assess the volume change behavior but in the absence of undisturbed specimens, remodeled samples can be used. If that is the case, the soil is compacted to in-situ density and water content (or matric suction), which should best represent the expansive profile in question. It is standard practice to subject the specimen to a wetting process at a particular net normal stress. Even though currently accepted laboratory testing standard procedures provide insight on how the profile conditions changes with time, these procedures do not assess the long term effects on the soil due to climatic changes. In this experimental study, an assessment and quantification of the effect of multiple wetting/drying cycles on the volume change behavior of two different naturally occurring soils was performed. The changes in wetting and drying cycles were extreme when comparing the swings in matric suction. During the drying cycle, the expansive soil was subjected to extreme conditions, which decreased the moisture content less than the shrinkage limit. Nevertheless, both soils were remolded at five different compacted conditions and loaded to five different net normal stresses. Each sample was subjected to six wetting and drying cycles. During the assessment, it was evident from the results that the swell/collapse strain is highly non-linear at low stress levels. The strain-net normal stress relationship cannot be defined by one single function without transforming the data. Therefore, the dataset needs to be fitted to a bi-modal logarithmic function or to a logarithmic transformation of net normal stress in order to use a third order polynomial fit. It was also determined that the moisture content changes with time are best fit by non-linear functions. For the drying cycle, the radial strain was determined to have a constant rate of change with respect to the axial strain. However, for the wetting cycle, there was not enough radial strain data to develop correlations and therefore, an assumption was made based on 55 different test measurements/observations, for the wetting cycles. In general, it was observed that after each subsequent cycle, higher swelling was exhibited for lower net normal stress values; while higher collapse potential was observed for higher net normal stress values, once the net normal stress was less than/greater than a threshold net normal stress value. Furthermore, the swelling pressure underwent a reduction in all cases. Particularly, the Anthem soil exhibited a reduction in swelling pressure by at least 20 percent after the first wetting/drying cycle; while Colorado soil exhibited a reduction of 50 percent. After about the fourth cycle, the swelling pressure seemed to stabilized to an equilibrium value at which a reduction of 46 percent was observed for the Anthem soil and 68 percent reduction for the Colorado soil. The impact of the initial compacted conditions on heave characteristics was studied. Results indicated that materials compacted at higher densities exhibited greater swell potential. When comparing specimens compacted at the same density but at different moisture content (matric suction), it was observed that specimens compacted at higher suction would exhibit higher swelling potential, when subjected to the same net normal stress. The least amount of swelling strain was observed on specimens compacted at the lowest dry density and the lowest matric suction (higher water content). The results from the laboratory testing were used to develop ultimate heave profiles for both soils. This analysis showed that even though the swell pressure for each soil decreased with cycles, the amount of heave would increase or decrease depending upon the initial compaction condition. When the specimen was compacted at 110% of optimum moisture content and 90% of maximum dry density, it resulted in an ultimate heave reduction of 92 percent for Anthem and 685 percent for Colorado soil. On the other hand, when the soils were compacted at 90% optimum moisture content and 100% of the maximum dry density, Anthem specimens heave 78% more and Colorado specimens heave was reduced by 69%. Based on the results obtained, it is evident that the current methods to estimate heave and swelling pressure do not consider the effect of wetting/drying cycles; and seem to fail capturing the free swell potential of the soil. Recommendations for improvement current methods of practice are provided.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

150436-Thumbnail Image.png

The effect of cracks on unsaturated flow and volume change properties of expansive clays and impacts on foundation performance

Description

The primary objective of this study is to understand the effect of soil cracking on foundation performance for expansive soil profiles. Two major effects of cracks were studied to assess

The primary objective of this study is to understand the effect of soil cracking on foundation performance for expansive soil profiles. Two major effects of cracks were studied to assess the effect of cracks on foundation performance. First, the effect of cracks on soil volume change response was studied. Second, the effect of cracks on unsaturated flow properties and extent and degree of wetting were evaluated. Multiple oedometer-type pressure plate tests were conducted to evaluate the effect of cracks on soil properties commonly used in volume change (heave) analyses, such as swell pressure, soil water characteristic curve (SWCC), and swell potential. Additionally, the effect of cracks on saturated and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity was studied experimentally to assess the impact of cracks on properties critical to evaluation of extent and degree of wetting. Laboratory experiments were performed on both intact and cracked specimen so that the effect of cracks on behavior could be benchmarked against intact soil response. Based on laboratory observations, the SWCC of a cracked soil is bimodal. However, this bimodal behavior is only observed in the very low suction ranges. Because the bimodal nature of the SWCC of cracked clays is only distinguishable at extremely low suctions, the bimodal behavior is unlikely to have engineering significance when soils remain unsaturated. A "lumped mass" parameter approach has been studied as a practical approach for modeling of cracked soils for both fluid flow and volume change determination. Laboratory unsaturated flow experiments were simulated using a saturated-unsaturated flow finite element code, SVFlux, to back-analyze unsaturated hydraulic conductivity functions for the subject soils. These back-analyzed results were compared to the results from traditionally-applied analyses of the laboratory instantaneous profile tests on intact and cracked specimens. Based on this comparison, empirical adjustments were suggested for modeling "lumped mass" cracked soil behavior in numerical codes for fluid flow through cracked soils. Using the empirically adjusted flow parameters for unsaturated flow modeling, example analyses were performed for slab-on-grade problems to demonstrate the impact of cracks on degree and extent of wetting under unsaturated and saturated flow conditions for different surface flux boundary conditions.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

152792-Thumbnail Image.png

Use of X-ray diffraction to identify and quantify soil swelling potential

Description

Expansive soils impose challenges on the design, maintenance and long-term stability of many engineered infrastructure. These soils are composed of different clay minerals that are susceptible to changes in moisture

Expansive soils impose challenges on the design, maintenance and long-term stability of many engineered infrastructure. These soils are composed of different clay minerals that are susceptible to changes in moisture content. Expansive clay soils wreak havoc due to their volume change property and, in many cases, exhibit extreme swelling and shrinking potentials. Understanding what type of minerals and clays react in the presence of water would allow for a more robust design and a better way to mitigate undesirable soil volume change. The relatively quick and widely used method of X-ray Diffraction (XRD) allows identifying the type of minerals present in the soil. As part of this study, three different clays from Colorado, San Antonio Texas, and Anthem Arizona were examined using XRD techniques. Oedometer-type testing was simultaneously preformed in the laboratory to benchmark the behavior of these soils. This analysis allowed performing comparative studies to determining if the XRD technique and interpretation methods currently available could serve as quantitative tools for estimating swell potential through mineral identification. The soils were analyzed using two different software protocols after being subjected to different treatment techniques. Important observations include the formation of Ettringite and Thaumasite, the effect of mixed-layer clays in the interpretation of the data, and the soils being subject to Gypsification. The swelling data obtained from the oedometer-type laboratory testing was compared with predictive swelling functions available from literature. A correlation analysis was attempted in order to find what index properties and mineralogy parameters were most significant to the swelling behavior of the soils. The analysis demonstrated that Gypsification is as important to the swelling potential of the soil as the presence of expansive clays; and it should be considered in the design and construction of structures in expansive soils. Also, the formation of Ettringite and Thaumasite observed during the treatment process validates the evidence of Delayed Ettringite Formation (DEF) reported in the literature. When comparing the measured results with a proposed method from the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), it was found that the results were somewhat indicative of swell potential but did not explain all causes for expansivity. Finally, it was found that single index properties are not sufficient to estimate the free swell or the swell pressure of expansive soils. In order to have a significant correlation, two or more index properties should be combined when estimating the swell potential. When properties related to the soil mineralogy were correlated with swell potential parameters, the amount of Gypsum present in the soil seems to be as significant to the swell behavior of the soil as the amount of Smectite found.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

151840-Thumbnail Image.png

Effect of soil replacement option on surface deflections for expansive clay profiles

Description

Urbanization and infrastructure development often brings dramatic changes in the surface and groundwater regimes. These changes in moisture content may be particularly problematic when subsurface soils are moisture sensitive such

Urbanization and infrastructure development often brings dramatic changes in the surface and groundwater regimes. These changes in moisture content may be particularly problematic when subsurface soils are moisture sensitive such as expansive soils. Residential foundations such as slab-on ground may be built on unsaturated expansive soils and therefore have to resist the deformations associated with change in moisture content (matric suction) in the soil. The problem is more pronounced in arid and semi arid regions with drying periods followed by wet season resulting in large changes in soil suction. Moisture content change causes volume change in expansive soil which causes serious damage to the structures. In order to mitigate these ill effects various mitigation are adopted. The most commonly adopted method in the US is the removal and replacement of upper soils in the profile. The remove and replace method, although heavily used, is not well understood with regard to its impact on the depth of soil wetting or near-surface differential soil movements. In this study the effectiveness of the remove and replace method is studied. A parametric study is done with various removal and replacement materials used and analyzed to obtain the optimal replacement depths and best material. The depth of wetting and heave caused in expansive soil profile under climatic conditions and common irrigation scenarios are studied for arid regions. Soil suction changes and associated soil deformations are analyzed using finite element codes for unsaturated flow and stress/deformation, SVFlux and SVSolid, respectively. The effectiveness and fundamental mechanisms at play in mitigation of expansive soils for remove and replace methods are studied, and include (1) its role in reducing the depth and degree of wetting, and (2) its effect in reducing the overall heave potential, and (3) the effectiveness of this method in pushing the seat of movement deeper within the soil profile to reduce differential soil surface movements. Various non-expansive replacement layers and different surface flux boundary conditions are analyzed, and the concept of optimal depth and soil is introduced. General observations are made concerning the efficacy of remove and replace as a mitigation method.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013