Predicting critical shear stress and soil erodibility classes using soil properties
Bones, Emma Jean
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As scouring around foundations is the most common cause of bridge failures, one of the most pressing questions of this research is to determine whether or not it is possible to predict the critical shear stress of different soil types using only soil property information. This report shows that it is possible to predict critical shear stress and determines the soil properties that are required to predict the critical shear stress based on soils from Georgia. Multiple methods to predict soil erodibility categories are developed based on the amount of soil information available to the researcher. The report shows how the methods to predict soil erodibility can be integrated with HYRISK, a scour risk assessment tool. In particular, the probabilities of bridge failures and expected economic losses are calculated for approximately 40 bridges in Georgia; soil erodibility characteristics for these bridges are calculated using the methods developed in this thesis. The goal of this thesis is to provide a faster and more cost-effective approach to calculate critical shear stress ranges likely to be encountered at a bridge foundation. Implementation of theses methodologies will help balance funding for new and existing bridges while simultaneously ensuring safe bridge foundation and minimizing economic consequences associated with overbuilding a bridge and/or having to retrofit or replace a bridge that has scour damage due to underbuilding it to withstand a major storm event.