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Desiccation cracking at field scale on a vegetated infrastructure embankment

Yu, Z, Eminue, OO, Stirling, R, Davie, C and Glendinning, S (2021) Desiccation cracking at field scale on a vegetated infrastructure embankment. Géotechnique Letters, 11 (1). pp. 88-95. ISSN 2049-825X

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This paper presents a desiccation crack monitoring campaign conducted on a full-scale, vegetated infrastructure embankment subjected to one-year of seasonally variable weather. The field survey involved direct measurement of naturally developed, annually reoccurring cracks in a heavily instrumented, clay fill embankment (BIONICS, Newcastle University). Transient crack morphology was captured in terms of opening width, length and depth, in addition to meteorological and near-surface soil hydrological conditions. In order to assess any correlation between crack development and weather-driven changes in near surface soil conditions, the volume of cracks was estimated using an empirically derived equation. This research study identified crack behaviour in four stages: initiation, expansion, contraction and closure. These stages and the distribution of cracks on the slope are closely related to prevailing atmospheric conditions, namely wind direction, relative humidity, precipitation and potential evapotranspiration. These ultimately govern the soil hydrological conditions in the near surface, as manifested in the presented matric potential and volumetric water content data. Linearly descrete cracks are shown to form under such conditions in contrary to the polygonal patterns typically reported under laboratory conditions. Crack length growth terminates prior to full volumetric maturation with crack depth dominating the dynamic response regardless of overall crack size.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0403 Geology, 0905 Civil Engineering, 0909 Geomatic Engineering
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Divisions: Engineering
Publisher: ICE Publishing
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2022 09:01
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2022 09:01
DOI or ID number: 10.1680/jgele.20.00108
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/16610
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