Engineering Practice for Wetting-Induced Collapse of Soils

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Instructor Information:
Sandra Houston, Ph.D., P.E., D.G., M.ASCE
Gerald A. Miller, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE

Course Length: 1.5 Hours

Purpose and Background

Did you know that nearly all unsaturated soils are susceptible to wetting- induced collapse under the right loading conditions? This webinar will teach you how to apply unsaturated soil mechanics for more reasonable evaluation of field collapse. It will provide you with a basic understanding of wetting-induced collapse behavior in natural and compacted soils. It will address proper sampling methods, laboratory sample preparation and testing techniques to evaluate collapse potential of natural and compacted soils. You will learn the importance of unsaturated soil mechanics in the evaluation of and solution to collapse settlements associated with embankment and foundation loading. Topics to be covered include: collapse susceptible soils; mechanics of wetting-induced collapse under field and laboratory conditions; sampling, sample preparation, and one-dimensional collapse testing; influence of sample disturbance on collapse potential; effects of partial wetting and depth of wetting on collapse settlement; and some methods to minimize collapse settlement. Settlements due to post-construction wetting of natural soil foundations and compacted soil embankments are a pervasive problem, particularly in the more arid and semi-arid areas of the world. This course will give geotechnical engineers the tools to better predict the likelihood of problematic collapse settlements due to wetting, as well as offer some practical solutions.

Learning Outcomes

Engineers will develop enhanced understanding of:
- Soil types susceptible to collapse
- Mechanisms leading to collapse
- Laboratory methods for evaluation of collapse potential
- Sampling methods and sample preparation for evaluation of soil collapse
- Effects of sample disturbance on measured collapse
- Effects of partial wetting on collapse potential
- Depth and degree of wetting in collapsible soils
- Methods to minimize collapse potential 

Seminar Benefits 

- Find out the latest research on wetting-induced collapse
- Examine the possibilities for foundation design and forensic investigations of sites susceptible to wetting-induced collapse
- Learn the latest methods for laboratory testing of collapsible soils
- Understand the consequences of inadequate sampling, testing and analysis
- Learn how to apply unsaturated soil mechanics solutions to collapsible soils
- Learn how to realistically account for field wetting conditions in design and forensic investigations
- Avoid errors in assessment of collapse potential that could lead to costly foundation problems or overly conservative designs 

Intended Audience

Geotechnical engineers, forensic engineers and pavement engineers will benefit from this webinar. 

Seminar Outline 

- Definition of wetting-induced collapse in soil
- Mechanisms leading to collapse
- Soil types susceptible to collapse
- Laboratory methods for evaluation of collapse potential
- Sampling methods and sample preparation for evaluation of soil collapse
- Effects of sample disturbance on measured collapse
- Effects of partial wetting on collapse potential
- Depth and degree of wetting in collapsible soils
- Methods to minimize collapse potential