Collaborative Research: Surface Flux for Cracked and Intact Clays for Ponded and Sloped Conditions

Project: Research project

Project Details


This research project addresses: (1) the effect of surface cracking in volume-change-sensitive clays on unsaturated flow property functions, and (2) the effect of drainage conditions (well-sloped surface versus poorly drained) on surface flux of cracked and intact clays. Seasonal cracking of soil results in poor estimates of runoff and infiltration due to the changing soil storage conditions. Prediction of soil suction profiles requires substantial improvements in current capabilities, both from a soil property and numerical modeling perspective. Several conditions present numerical solution challenges: (i) strong nonlinearities in soil properties, (ii) abrupt changes of moisture conditions at the surface boundary and wetting front, and (iii) the presence of surface runoff conditions. The behavior of unsaturated cracked soil is quite different from that of intact soil, further complicating evaluation of surface flux conditions for clays. This study addresses key remaining questions rarely, or only superficially, discussed in the geotechnical literature, and geared towards transformation of surface flux modeling capabilities for cracked and intact clays. Geotechnical Co-I s are working with a Co-I in Applied Math towards addressing these needs through development of: (1) data and models for unsaturated soil properties of cracked clays including volume change of both the cracks and matrix; (2) data and models for run-off for well-inclined (sloped) and level-grade cracked and intact (3) improved solution methods for surface flux, including run-off, and (4) evaluation of field damage related to drainage and cracking for consistency with modeling and data.*
Effective start/end date8/15/083/30/13


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $230,500.00


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