Matching Items (7)

155496-Thumbnail Image.png

Numerical issues arising in the simulations of transient water flow in layered unsaturated soils

Description

The geotechnical community typically relies on recommendations made from numerical simulations. Commercial software exhibits (local) numerical instabilities in layered soils across soil interfaces. This research work investigates unsaturated moisture flow

The geotechnical community typically relies on recommendations made from numerical simulations. Commercial software exhibits (local) numerical instabilities in layered soils across soil interfaces. This research work investigates unsaturated moisture flow in layered soils and identifies a possible source of numerical instabilities across soil interfaces and potential improvement in numerical schemes for solving the Richards' equation. The numerical issue at soil interfaces is addressed by a (nonlinear) interface problem. A full analysis of the simplest soil hydraulic model, the Gardner model, identifies the conditions of ill-posedness of the interface problem. Numerical experiments on various (more advanced and practical) soil hydraulic models show that the interface problem can also be ill-posed under certain circumstances. Spurious numerical ponding and/or oscillations around soil interfaces are observed consequently. This work also investigates the impact of different averaging schemes for cell-centered conductivities on the propensity of ill-posedness of the interface problem and concludes that smaller averaging conductivities are more likely to trigger numerical instabilities. In addition, an agent-based stochastic soil model, with hydraulic properties defined at the finite difference cell level, results in a large number of interface problems. This research compares sequences of stochastic realizations in heterogeneous unsaturated soils with the numerical solution using homogenized soil parameters. The mean of stochastic realizations is not identical to the solution obtained from homogenized soil parameters.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

154167-Thumbnail Image.png

Temperature effect on unsaturated hydraulic properties of two fine-grained soils and its influence on moisture movement under an airfield test facility

Description

The influence of temperature on soil engineering properties is a major concern in the design of engineering systems such as radioactive waste disposal barriers, ground source heat pump systems and

The influence of temperature on soil engineering properties is a major concern in the design of engineering systems such as radioactive waste disposal barriers, ground source heat pump systems and pavement structures. In particular, moisture redistribution under pavement systems might lead to changes in unbound material stiffness that will affect pavement performance. Accurate measurement of thermal effects on unsaturated soil hydraulic properties may lead to reduction in design and construction costs. This thesis presents preliminary results of an experimental study aimed at determining the effect of temperature on the soil water characteristic curve (SWCC) and the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity function (kunsat). Pressure plate devices with volume change control were used to determine the SWCC and the instantaneous profile method was used to obtain the kunsat function. These properties were measured on two fine-grained materials subjected to controlled temperatures of 5oC, 25oC and 40oC. The results were used to perform a sensitivity analysis of the effect of temperature changes on the prediction of moisture movement under a covered area. In addition, two more simulations were performed where changes in hydraulic properties were done in a stepwise fashion. The findings were compared to field measured water content data obtained on the subgrade material of the FAA William Hughes test facility located in Atlantic City. Results indicated that temperature affects the unsaturated hydraulic properties of the two soils used in the study. For the DuPont soil, a soil with high plasticity, it was found that the water retention was higher at low temperatures for suction levels lower than about 10,000 kPa; while the kunsat functions at the three temperatures were not significantly different. For the County soil, a material with medium plasticity, it was found that it holds around 10% more degree of saturation at 5°C than that at 40°C for suction levels higher than about 1,000 kPa; while the hydraulic conductivity at 40°C was at least one order of magnitude higher than that at 5°C, for suction levels higher than 1,000 kPa. These properties were used to perform two types of numerical analyses: a sensitivity analysis and stepwise analysis. Absolute differences between predicted and field measured data were considered to be acceptable, ranging from 4.5% to 9% for all simulations. Overall results show an improvement in predictions when non-isothermal conditions were used over the predictions obtained with isothermal conditions.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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

151835-Thumbnail Image.png

Volume change consideration in determining appropriate unsaturated soil properties for geotechnical applications

Description

Unsaturated soil mechanics is becoming a part of geotechnical engineering practice, particularly in applications to moisture sensitive soils such as expansive and collapsible soils and in geoenvironmental applications. The soil

Unsaturated soil mechanics is becoming a part of geotechnical engineering practice, particularly in applications to moisture sensitive soils such as expansive and collapsible soils and in geoenvironmental applications. The soil water characteristic curve, which describes the amount of water in a soil versus soil suction, is perhaps the most important soil property function for application of unsaturated soil mechanics. The soil water characteristic curve has been used extensively for estimating unsaturated soil properties, and a number of fitting equations for development of soil water characteristic curves from laboratory data have been proposed by researchers. Although not always mentioned, the underlying assumption of soil water characteristic curve fitting equations is that the soil is sufficiently stiff so that there is no change in total volume of the soil while measuring the soil water characteristic curve in the laboratory, and researchers rarely take volume change of soils into account when generating or using the soil water characteristic curve. Further, there has been little attention to the applied net normal stress during laboratory soil water characteristic curve measurement, and often zero to only token net normal stress is applied. The applied net normal stress also affects the volume change of the specimen during soil suction change. When a soil changes volume in response to suction change, failure to consider the volume change of the soil leads to errors in the estimated air-entry value and the slope of the soil water characteristic curve between the air-entry value and the residual moisture state. Inaccuracies in the soil water characteristic curve may lead to inaccuracies in estimated soil property functions such as unsaturated hydraulic conductivity. A number of researchers have recently recognized the importance of considering soil volume change in soil water characteristic curves. The study of correct methods of soil water characteristic curve measurement and determination considering soil volume change, and impacts on the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity function was of the primary focus of this study. Emphasis was placed upon study of the effect of volume change consideration on soil water characteristic curves, for expansive clays and other high volume change soils. The research involved extensive literature review and laboratory soil water characteristic curve testing on expansive soils. The effect of the initial state of the specimen (i.e. slurry versus compacted) on soil water characteristic curves, with regard to volume change effects, and effect of net normal stress on volume change for determination of these curves, was studied for expansive clays. Hysteresis effects were included in laboratory measurements of soil water characteristic curves as both wetting and drying paths were used. Impacts of soil water characteristic curve volume change considerations on fluid flow computations and associated suction-change induced soil deformations were studied through numerical simulations. The study includes both coupled and uncoupled flow and stress-deformation analyses, demonstrating that the impact of volume change consideration on the soil water characteristic curve and the estimated unsaturated hydraulic conductivity function can be quite substantial for high volume change soils.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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

149681-Thumbnail Image.png

Creep characteristics and shear strength of recycled asphalt blends

Description

The trend towards using recycled materials on new construction projects is growing as the cost for construction materials are ever increasing and the awareness of the responsibility we have to

The trend towards using recycled materials on new construction projects is growing as the cost for construction materials are ever increasing and the awareness of the responsibility we have to be good stewards of our environment is heightened. While recycled asphalt is sometimes used in pavements, its use as structural fill has been hindered by concern that it is susceptible to large long-term deformations (creep), preventing its use for a great many geotechnical applications. While asphalt/soil blends are often proposed as an alternative to 100% recycled asphalt fill, little data is available characterizing the geotechnical properties of recycled asphalt soil blends. In this dissertation, the geotechnical properties for five different recycled asphalt soil blends are characterized. Data includes the particle size distribution, plasticity index, creep, and shear strength for each blend. Blends with 0%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% recycled asphalt were tested. As the recycled asphalt material used for testing had particles sizes up to 1.5 inches, a large 18 inch diameter direct shear apparatus was used to determine the shear strength and creep characteristics of the material. The results of the testing program confirm that the creep potential of recycled asphalt is a geotechnical concern when the material is subjected to loads greater than 1500 pounds per square foot (psf). In addition, the test results demonstrate that the amount of soil blended with the recycled asphalt can greatly influence the creep and shear strength behavior of the composite material. Furthermore, there appears to be an optimal blend ratio where the composite material had better properties than either the recycled asphalt or virgin soil alone with respect to shear strength.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011