• A Bio-Wicking System to Mitigate Capillary Water in Base Course

      Lin, Chuang; Zhang, Xiong (Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates, 2016-11)
      Water within pavement layers is the major cause of pavement deteriorations. High water content results in significant reduction in soil’s resilient behavior and increase in permanent deformation. Conventional drainage systems can only drain gravity water but not capillary water. Both preliminary lab and field tests have proven the drainage efficiency of a newly developed H2Ri geotextile with wicking fabrics. This bio-wicking system aims at resolving the potential issues that the original design may encounter: (1) H2Ri ultraviolet degradation, (2) H2Ri mechanical failure, (3) loss of drainage function under high suction, and (4) clogging and salt concentration. Both elemental level and full-scale test results indicated that the bio-wicking system is more effective in draining capillary water within the base courses compared with original design, in which the geotextile is directly exposed to the open air. However, a good drainage condition is required for the bio-wicking system to maintain its drainage efficiency. Accumulation of excess water will result in water re-entering the road embankment. Moreover, grass root and geotextile share the same working mechanism in transporting water. In the proposed bio-wicking system, the relatively smaller channels in the grass roots further ensures water moving from H2Ri geotextile, transporting through the stems of grass, and eventually evapo-transpiring into the air at the leaf-air interfaces. In sum, the bio-wicking system seemed to successfully address the concerns in the preliminary design and is a more efficient system to dehydrate the road embankment under unsaturated conditions.
    • A Bio-Wicking System to Prevent Frost Heave in Alaskan Pavements: Phase II Implementation

      Galinmoghadan, Javad; Zhang, Xiong; Lin, Chang (2019-11)
      Water within pavement layers is the major cause of pavement deterioration. High water content results in significant reduction in soil’s resilient behavior and an increase in permanent deformation. Especially in cold regions, frost heave and thaw weakening cause extensive damage to roads and airfields. Conventional drainage systems can only drain gravity water not capillary water. Both preliminary lab and field tests have proven the drainage efficiency of a newly developed H2Ri geotextile with wicking fabrics. In this report, continuous research was conducted to verify the effectiveness of the wicking fabric in mitigating frost boil issues in Alaskan pavemnets. Two test sections were selected at two low volume roads on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Soil moisture and temperature sensors were installed within the road embankments. The monitored data was used to analyze the soil migrations and evaluate the drainage performance of the wicking fabric. Preliminary monitoring results showed that the wicking fabric was effective in mitigating the frost boil problem.
    • Development of Landslide Warning System

      Riad, Beshoy; Zhang, Xiong (2019-11)
      Landslides cause approximately 25 to 50 deaths and US$1 - 2 billion worth of damage in the United States annually. They can be triggered by humans or by nature. It has been widely recognized that rainfall is one of the major causes of slope instability and failure. Slope remediation and stabilization efforts can be costly. An early warning system is a suitable alternative and can save human lives. In this project, an early warning system was developed for a 40-foot-high cut slope on the island of Hawaii. To achieve the objective, subsurface investigations were performed and undisturbed samples were collected. For the purpose of unsaturated soil testing, new testing apparatuses were developed by modifying the conventional oedometer and direct shear cells. The unsaturated soil was characterized using two separate approaches and, later, the results were discussed and compared. The slope site was instrumented for the measurement of suction, water content, displacement, and precipitation. The collected climatic data along with the calibrated hydraulic parameters were used to build an infiltration-evapotranspiration numerical model. The model estimations were compared with the field measurements and showed good agreement. The verified model was used to determine the pore-water pressure distribution during and after a 500-years return storm. Later, the pore-water pressure distribution was transferred to a slope stability software and used to study the slope stability during and after the storm. Based on a 2D slope stability analysis, the slope can survive the 500-year storm with a factor of safety of 1.20. Instrument threshold values were established for water content sensors and tensiometers using a traffic-light-based trigger criterion.
    • Development of a Computer Vision-Based Three-Dimensional Reconstruction Method for Volume-Change Measurement of Unsaturated Soils during Triaxial Testing

      Zhang, Xiong; Xia, Xiaolong (2019-10)
      Problems associated with unsaturated soils are ubiquitous in the U.S., where expansive and collapsible soils are some of the most widely distributed and costly geologic hazards. Solving these widespread geohazards requires a fundamental understanding of the constitutive behavior of unsaturated soils. In the past six decades, the suction-controlled triaxial test has been established as a standard approach to characterizing constitutive behavior for unsaturated soils. However, this type of test requires costly test equipment and time-consuming testing processes. To overcome these limitations, a photogrammetry-based method has been developed recently to measure the global and localized volume-changes of unsaturated soils during triaxial test. However, this method relies on software to detect coded targets, which often requires tedious manual correction of incorrectly coded target detection information. To address the limitation of the photogrammetry-based method, this study developed a photogrammetric computer vision-based approach for automatic target recognition and 3D reconstruction for volume-changes measurement of unsaturated soils in triaxial tests. Deep learning method was used to improve the accuracy and efficiency of coded target recognition. A photogrammetric computer vision method and ray tracing technique were then developed and validated to reconstruct the three-dimensional models of soil specimen.