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Estimating Expansive Soil Field Suction Profiles Using a Soil Suction Surrogate

Description

Expansive clay soils, when subjected to substantial moisture change, can be extremely problematic causing various types of damage to lightly-loaded structures. Solving these problems requires an understanding of unsaturated

Expansive clay soils, when subjected to substantial moisture change, can be extremely problematic causing various types of damage to lightly-loaded structures. Solving these problems requires an understanding of unsaturated soil mechanics. Soil suction, related to moisture content change, is important in the development of unsaturated soil properties and in the assessment of initial and final stress for heave computation. Direct measurement of soil suction on expansive clays to determine field suction profiles is quite limited due primarily to tradition and cost-driven geotechnical field investigation practices prioritizing water content measurement over soil suction measurement. This study employs a surrogate to estimate soil suction profiles for various sites consisting of clay soils with a Plasticity Index of greater than 15. The soil suction surrogate was used to determine suction profiles from existing geotechnical engineering expansive clay field investigations and a limited amount of directly measured suction profiles were also used. Equilibrium suction magnitudes and the depths to constant suction were obtained from the field suction profiles and results were compared to data found in the existing literature. Thornthwaite Moisture Index (TMI) is a climatic index to describe climatic conditions for a given region. Surface flux boundary conditions (i.e. covered and uncovered and irrigated and non-irrigated) were investigated and comparisons were made to the extent possible. Previous studies have presented correlations between TMI and equilibrium suction and TMI and depth to constant suction. Relationships within this study are presented and comparisons are made to existing relationships. Results and recommendations for further research are discussed.

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Date Created
  • 2018

Evaluation of Climate Parameter with regards to Unsaturated Clay Soil Suction Profiles

Description

A large portion of the United States is known to have problematic expansive clay soil. These expansive clay soils can cause damage to major infrastructures such as roads and

A large portion of the United States is known to have problematic expansive clay soil. These expansive clay soils can cause damage to major infrastructures such as roads and lightly loaded residential buildings. The shrinking or swelling potential of unsaturated expansive clay soils requires an understanding of unsaturated soil mechanics, such as matric suction profile and the site’s environmental condition, such as climate. In unsaturated soil engineering, the most used climatic parameter is Thornthwaite Moisture Index (TMI). Since its inception, there have been several versions of TMI models in the literature. Historically, TMI is used to predict suction parameters such as edge moisture variation length, the depth to equilibrium suction, and equilibrium suction. Currently, TMI is used in Post-Tension Institute’s Slab-on-grade Design Manual (DC 10.1-08) to estimate edge moisture variation length and equilibrium suction, and Australian Standard Residential Slabs and Footing (AS2870-2011) to predict the climatic zone and the depth to suction change. However, there is no clear-cut guidance on which version of TMI models to use, how the variables within TMI should be collected, the length of the study period for determination of TMI, or assumptions and compromises associated with TMI estimation methods. In this thesis, broad-scale study and comparison of the original TMI (1948) to the newer TMI models for the contiguous United States are conducted as well as in-depth analysis of the variables within TMI, using National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) dataset and Geographic Information System (GIS). The results of the study, the recommendations for the state of practice for TMI and further research are discussed.

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Date Created
  • 2018