Rheologic and flume erosion characteristics of georgia sediments from bridge foundations
Hobson, Paul Myron
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Samples collected from 5 bridge sites from around the state of Georgia are analyzed to determine their erosion and rheologic behavior. Most sites were subject to large amounts of local scour due to flood events resulting from Tropical Storm Alberto in 1994. According to the Federal Highway Administration's Hydraulic Engineering Circular No. 18 by Richardson and Davis (2001), scouring of bridge foundations is the most common cause of bridge failure resulting from floods. The erosion rates of the soils are measured in a rectangular tilting flume capable of applying up to 21 Pa of shear stress at the bed. Samples from Shelby tubes are extruded into the flow from below the bed using a hydraulic piston. The displacement is measured as a function of time using a cable-pull potentiometer. The soils are also subject to extensive geotechnical analysis. Sieve and hydrometer analyses are performed to obtain the particle size distribution for each sample. Atterberg Limits and other standard geotechnical measures are also found. Additionally, insight into the shear strength and cohesive nature of the fine (<0.75 micrometers) particles is gained using a stress controlled rheometer to measure the rheological characteristics of the slurry. These results are used to improve and extend a relationship for the critical shear stress of soils developed in previous research that can be used in bridge scour prediction formulae as affected by soil parameters. In addition, the rheologic properties of the soil in terms of a dimensionless yield stress are related to the critical value of the Shields parameter for estimating critical shear stress for erosion.