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Modelling Anisotropy and Destructuration in Unsaturated Soils (MADUS)
Start date: 20 Nov 2007, End date: 19 May 2009 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Unsaturated conditions, where pore in soil are partly filled with water and partly filled with air) occur widely both as natural soils and as fill materials. The hydro-mechanical behaviour of unsaturated soils is considerably more complex than that of saturated soils. Overall, with unsaturated soils, there are problems associated with the testing methodologies, sampling and test duration. Consequently, the understanding of unsaturated soil behaviour lags behind the state-of-the-art of saturated soil mechanics. There is a great need to pull together the existing knowledge and data in a coordinated way. That is one of the key objectives of the EC-funded Marie Curie RTN called MUSE. The hydro-mechanical behaviour of unsaturated soils is of practical importance; examples include damage to structures during wetting (caused by excessive rainfall), the performance of flood protection embankments and earth dams, the nuclear industry (design of underground waste depositories involves using unsaturated bentonite blocks), geohazards engineering (slope instabilities and debris flows) and geo-environmental engineering (pollution migration and containment). These problems are particularly relevant in hot and arid regions, such as the Mediterranean region and South America. The proposed project aims to fund the training of a promising young Brazilian researcher in a multidisciplinary research environment in the UK. The fellow will benefit from the training opportunities offered by the MUSE and AMGISS RTNs that the host institution is involved in. The scientific objective of the project is to develop and implement a new hierarchical model for unsaturated soils that incorporates in a consistent manner the effects of hydraulic hysteresis, anisotropy and the effects of micro-macro structure, including bonding and bond degradation. Aim is to have a robust model in which various features can be switched on and off as required depending on the real engineering problem analysed.
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