Spatial Variability and Terminal Density -Implications in Soil Behavior-
Narsilio, Guillermo Andres
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Geotechnical engineers often face important discrepancies between the observed and the predicted behavior of geosystems. Two conceptual frameworks are hypothesized as possible causes: the ubiquitous spatial variability in soil properties and process-dependent terminal densities inherent to granular materials. The effects of spatial variability are explored within conduction and diffusion processes. Mixtures, layered systems, inclusions and random fields are considered, using numerical, experimental and analytical methods. Results include effective medium parameters and convenient design and analysis tools for various common engineering cases. In addition, the implications of spatial variability on inverse problems in diffusion are numerically explored for the common case of layered media. The second hypothesis states that there exists a unique terminal density for every granular material and every process. Common geotechnical properties are readily cast in this framework, and new experimental data are presented to further explore its implications. Finally, an unprecedented field study of blast densification is documented. It involves comprehensive laboratory and site characterization programs and an extensive field monitoring component. This full scale test lasts one year and includes four blasting events.