Determination of diffusion coefficient for unsaturated soils
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The structures constructed on unsaturated soils are damaged by the movement of the soil underneath. The movement is basically due to the flow of moisture in and out of the soil. This change in moisture also affects the strength of the soil, thus resulting in failure of slopes of embankments constructed with these soils. Therefore, it is very important to study the diffusion properties of unsaturated soils. Study of the diffusion properties requires the determination of the diffusion coefficient (/). In this thesis improvements in the drying test, originally proposed by Mitchell (1979), have been discussed. The study also involves defining the evaporation coefficient (he) which has been ill-defined in previous research work. The flow through unsaturated soils is non-linear but due to the complexity involved it has been simplified to a linear problem. The nonlinear behavior has been studied during this research. Therefore, certain refinements have been applied in the determination of the diffusion coefficient. The laboratory procedure followed involves measuring the soil suction along the length of the sample and at different times using thermocouple psychrometers. The evaluation of the evaporation coefficient (he) has been made an integral part of the procedure. The diffusion coefficient is determined using the curve fitting procedure of Aubeny and Lytton, 2003.
Sood, Eeshani (2005). Determination of diffusion coefficient for unsaturated soils. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from