A particular type of plastic clay lies under the definition of expansive soils. It shows high swelling/shrinkage strains when exposed to moisture variation. The problem is more pronounced in arid and semi-arid regions. Expansive or swelling clays stayed for a long time as a puzzling problem in the field of foundation engineering.
To have an acceptable solution a fully coupled deformation-ground water flow is required along with a suitable constitutive model that accounts for high swelling and shrinkage potential of the soil. Finite Element Method offers such a possibility which eventually leads to a more accurate, safe and economical design in comparison to the traditional methods. Unsaturated groundwater flow analysis is used to determine the suction variation with time as a function of moisture variation. After having determined suction values, the deformation analysis is then used to estimate the swelling / shrinkage strain as a response to the moisture variation. WeSI specialists, benifiting from advanced numerical analysis and powerful hardware resources, are able to address the problem in great detail in order to support the design engineer with reliable predictions.
WeSI specialist: Ayman Abed