The generalization of the poroelasticity theory of consolidation in unsaturated soils to well represent gravitational body forces is presented in the current study. Three partial differential equations featuring the displacement vector of the solid phase, along with the excess pore water and air pressures as dependent variables are derived, with coupling that occurs in the first-order temporal- and spatial- derivative terms. The former arises from viscous drag between solid and fluid, whereas the latter is attributed to the presence of gravity. Given the physically-consistent initial and boundary conditions, these coupled equations are numerically solved under uniaxial strain as a representative example. Our results reveal that variations in the excess pore water pressure due to the existence of gravitational forces increase with soil depth, but these variations are not significant if the soil layer is not sufficiently long. A dimensionless parameter is defined theoretically to quantify the impact of those forces on the final total settlement. This impact is shown to become greater as the soil layer is less stiff and has more length, and bears an inversely-proportional trend with initial water saturation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Water Science and Technology