Gravitational equilibrium moisture profiles in swelling soils
Extension of the work of Philip (1969a, 1972) has shown that the effect of overburden pressure on volume change of swelling soils produces equilibrium moisture profiles entirely different from those predicted without considering the overburden pressure effects. Volume change of swelling soils accompanied by moisture changes also affects the overburden pressure. The total volume change under an overburden pressure occurs in three different shrinkage phases from saturation to oven dry. These volume change characteristics are usually described on the shrinkage surface, a surface drawn as void ratio e (volume of voids/volume of solids) versus moisture ratio Θ (volume of water/volume of solids) for different overburden pressures. A relationship for the moisture gradient is developed by assuming that the overburden potential, a component of the total potential of soil water, is a function of moisture ratio only across a small soil element of a long swelling soil column which consists of large numbers of finite soil elements. The moisture gradient has complex behavior based on the properties of the three shrinkage phases on the shrinkage surface. Distribution of equilibrium moisture paths is then explained by evaluating the moisture gradients at points on an idealized shrinkage surface. It is shown that the soil at great depths could either be saturated or unsaturated at equilibrium. (These depths could be over 250 m for some sodium montmorillonite clays).... [Show full abstract]
Fields of Research050305 Soil Physics; 079901 Agricultural Hydrology (Drainage, Flooding, Irrigation, Quality, etc.)
Copyright 1995 by the American Geophysical Union.