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Soil water movement through swelling soils

Ekanayake, Jagath C.
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The present work is a contribution to description and understanding of the distribution and movement of water in swelling soils. In order to investigate the moisture distribution in swelling soils a detailed knowledge of volume change properties, flow characteristics and total potential of water in the soil is essential. Therefore, a possible volume change mechanism is first described by dividing the swelling soils into four categories and volume change of a swelling soil is measured under different overburden pressures. The measured and calculated (from volume change data) overburden potential components are used to check the validity of the derivation of a load factor, ∝. Moisture diffusivity in swelling soil under different overburden pressures is measured using Gardner's (1956) outflow method. Behaviour of equilibrium moisture profiles in swelling soils is theoretically explained, solving the differential equation by considering the physical variation of individual soil properties with moisture content and overburden pressure. Using the measured volume change data and moisture potentials under various overburden pressures, the behaviour of possible moisture profiles are described at equilibrium and under steady vertical flows in swelling soils. It is shown that high overburden pressures lead to soil water behaviour quite different from any previously reported.
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