Numerical Study of the Application of Capillary Barrier Systems for Prevention of Rainfall-Induced Slope Instabilities

Scarfone, R. , Wheeler, S. J. and Smith, C. C. (2020) Numerical Study of the Application of Capillary Barrier Systems for Prevention of Rainfall-Induced Slope Instabilities. In: 4th European Conference on Unsaturated Soils (E-UNSAT 2020), 19-21 Oct 2020, (doi:10.1051/e3sconf/202019501027)

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Slope instability is often caused by decreases in suction due to heavy and prolonged rainfall. In this study, the application of capillary barrier systems (CBSs) for suction control and slope stabilization purposes (i.e. reducing the risk of rainfall-induced slope instabilities) is analysed, due to their capacity to limit the percolation of water into the underlying soil. The behaviour of two slopes was studied numerically: a bare slope made of fine-grained soil and the same slope covered by a capillary barrier system. The time evolution of suction in the slopes subjected to realistic atmospheric conditions was studied by performing numerical finite element analyses with Code_Bright. In particular, multi-phase multi-physics thermo-hydraulic analyses were performed, modelling the soil-atmosphere interaction over periods of many years. Suction and degree of saturation distributions obtained from these analyses were then exported to the software LimitState GEO, which was used to perform limit analysis to assess the stability of the slopes. The CBS was able to limit the percolation of water into the slope and was shown to be effective in increasing the minimum values of suction attained in the underlying ground, resulting in improved stability of the slope.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Additional Information:The authors wish to acknowledge the support of the European Commission via the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks (ITN-ETN) project TERRE 'Training Engineers and Researchers to Rethink geotechnical Engineering for a low carbon future' (H2020-MSCA-ITN2015-675762).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Scarfone, Riccardo and Wheeler, Professor Simon
Authors: Scarfone, R., Wheeler, S. J., and Smith, C. C.
College/School:College of Social Sciences
Copyright Holders:Copyright © The Authors 2020
First Published:First published in E3S Web of Conferences 195:01027
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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