Simulating behaviour of reactive soils and slab foundations using hydro-mechanical finite element modelling incorporating soil suction and moisture changes
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The main objective of this paper is to enhance the current design practice of stiffened slab foundations on reactive soils through an advanced numerical modelling study. The paper presents sophisticated three-dimensional (3D) hydro-mechanical finite element (FE) numerical models using coupled flow-deformation and stress analyses capable of simulating the complex behaviour of reactive soils and slab foundations. The decisive parameters of the developed FE models are described in detail and the modelling efficacy is verified through three case studies. The ability of the FE models to simulate the moisture diffusion and suction variations in relation to climate changes is validated through two case studies involving field observations. A third case study involving a hypothetical stiffened slab foundation on reactive soil is used for comparison with one of the traditional design methods. The developed FE models are found to perform well and overcome some of the most significant limitations of available traditional methods, leading to more reliable design outputs.
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