Year of Publication

2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Engineering

Department

Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Michael E. Kalinski

Abstract

Gypsum rich soils are found in many parts of the world, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions. Most gypsum occurs in the form of evaporites, which are minerals that precipitate out of water due to a high rate of evaporation and a high mineral concentration. Gypsum rich soils make good foundation material under dry conditions but pose major engineering hazards when exposed to water. Gypsum acts as a weak cementing material and has a moderate solubility of about 2.5 g/liter. The dissolution of gypsum causes the soils to undergo unpredictable collapse settlement leading to severe structural damages. The damages incur heavy financial losses every year.

The objective of this research was to use geophysical methods such as free-free resonant column testing and electrical resistivity testing to characterize gypsum rich soils based on the shear wave velocity and electrical resistivity values. The geophysical testing methods could provide quick, non-intrusive and cost-effective methodologies to screen sites known to contain gypsum deposits. Reconstituted specimens of ground gypsum and quartz sand were prepared in the laboratory with varying amounts of gypsum and tested. Additionally geotechnical tests such as direct shear strength tests and consolidation tests were conducted to estimate the shear strength parameters (drained friction angle and cohesion) and the collapse potential of the soils.

The effect of gypsum content on the geophysical and geotechnical parameters of soil was of particular interest. It was found that gypsum content had an influence on the shear wave velocity but had minimal effect on electrical resistivity. The collapsibility and friction angle of the soil increased with increase in gypsum. The information derived from the geophysical and geotechnical tests was used to develop statistical design equations and correlations to estimate gypsum content and soil collapse potential.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

http://dx.doi.org/10.13023/ETD.2016.391

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