Mechanics of unsaturated soils: simple approaches for routine engineering practice

Alessandro Tarantino, Alice Di Donna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A number of geotechnical structures involve the unsaturated upper portion of the soil profile, i.e. the zone above the phreatic surface where the pore-water pressure is negative and the degree of saturation is generally lower than unity. This zone is characterised by soil strength and stiffness higher than the saturated soil below the phreatic surface. In addition, its mechanical response is affected by the interaction with the atmosphere (rainfall and evapotranspiration). Engineers recognise more and more the importance of understanding and predicting the response of soils in the unsaturated portion of the soil profile. However, a gap still exists between research and engineering practice in unsaturated soil mechanics. This paper makes an attempt to serve fundamental concepts of unsaturated soil mechanics using a language as simple as possible. In particular, quantitative prediction tools are presented within the familiar framework of saturated soil mechanics. These include conventional ‘saturated/dry’ slope stability analysis and traditional 1-D consolidation analysis.
LanguageEnglish
JournalItalian Geotechnical Journal
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 18 Jul 2019

Fingerprint

soil mechanics
mechanics
engineering
soil profile
soil
soil strength
slope stability
stability analysis
consolidation
stiffness
evapotranspiration
porewater
saturation
rainfall
atmosphere
prediction

Keywords

  • geotechnical structures
  • unsaturated soils
  • soil mechanics
  • geoscience
  • environmental engineering

Cite this

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title = "Mechanics of unsaturated soils: simple approaches for routine engineering practice",
abstract = "A number of geotechnical structures involve the unsaturated upper portion of the soil profile, i.e. the zone above the phreatic surface where the pore-water pressure is negative and the degree of saturation is generally lower than unity. This zone is characterised by soil strength and stiffness higher than the saturated soil below the phreatic surface. In addition, its mechanical response is affected by the interaction with the atmosphere (rainfall and evapotranspiration). Engineers recognise more and more the importance of understanding and predicting the response of soils in the unsaturated portion of the soil profile. However, a gap still exists between research and engineering practice in unsaturated soil mechanics. This paper makes an attempt to serve fundamental concepts of unsaturated soil mechanics using a language as simple as possible. In particular, quantitative prediction tools are presented within the familiar framework of saturated soil mechanics. These include conventional ‘saturated/dry’ slope stability analysis and traditional 1-D consolidation analysis.",
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author = "Alessandro Tarantino and {Di Donna}, Alice",
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Mechanics of unsaturated soils : simple approaches for routine engineering practice. / Tarantino, Alessandro; Di Donna, Alice.

18.07.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T2 - simple approaches for routine engineering practice

AU - Tarantino, Alessandro

AU - Di Donna, Alice

PY - 2019/7/18

Y1 - 2019/7/18

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AB - A number of geotechnical structures involve the unsaturated upper portion of the soil profile, i.e. the zone above the phreatic surface where the pore-water pressure is negative and the degree of saturation is generally lower than unity. This zone is characterised by soil strength and stiffness higher than the saturated soil below the phreatic surface. In addition, its mechanical response is affected by the interaction with the atmosphere (rainfall and evapotranspiration). Engineers recognise more and more the importance of understanding and predicting the response of soils in the unsaturated portion of the soil profile. However, a gap still exists between research and engineering practice in unsaturated soil mechanics. This paper makes an attempt to serve fundamental concepts of unsaturated soil mechanics using a language as simple as possible. In particular, quantitative prediction tools are presented within the familiar framework of saturated soil mechanics. These include conventional ‘saturated/dry’ slope stability analysis and traditional 1-D consolidation analysis.

KW - geotechnical structures

KW - unsaturated soils

KW - soil mechanics

KW - geoscience

KW - environmental engineering

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