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Category: Publications: Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory (GSL)
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  • Calculation of Levee-Breach Widening Rates

    Abstract: Inundation modeling is often conducted for levee systems to understand current flood risks. The extent of inundation caused by a breach in the levee is highly influenced by the widening rate of the levee breach. This study presents an approach for calculating levee-breach widening rates based on average flow velocity through the breach, embankment height, and erosion characteristics of the soil. Estimates of soil erodibility are derived through an analysis of the measurements of soil erodibility presented in the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 915 database. Levee-breach widening rate curves are calculated based on these erosion properties to demonstrate the approach, and default curves are presented for typical levees built from coarse-grained soils and fine-grained soils. While the most accurate approach for a site is to calculate site-specific widening rate curves based on estimates of local soil erodibility, the default curves presented provide a suitable starting point for initial inundation modeling.
  • Terrestrial Fate and Effects of Nanometer-Sized Silver

    Abstract: Although engineered nanomaterials are active components in a wide variety of commercial products, there is still limited information related to the effects of these nanomaterials once released into the terrestrial environment. A high number of commercial applications use silver nanoparticles (nAg) due to its anti-microbial activity. This may be of concern for waste management since nAg could be applied to soil (e.g., biosolids) or disposed of in traditional landfills, which could lead to possible leaching into surrounding soil. This report aims to provide additional insight into the fate and effects of nAg in terrestrial systems. The studies in this report examine the leachability of nAg in field soil and compares the soil migration to bulk (i.e., micron-sized) silver; examine the ecotoxicity of nAg to earthworms in four field soils spanning several different soil orders; and examine the behavioral effects of earthworms when exposed to engineered nanoparticles in field soil. These data provide additional insight into engineered nanoparticle fate and effects to terrestrial receptors in field soils, an important distinction from laboratory-generated soils. These data will also assist ecological risk assessors to better determine the acute environmental risks of nAg in terrestrial ecosystems with different soil compositions.
  • Full-Scale Evaluation of Multi-axial Geogrids in Road Applications

    Abstract: The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) constructed a full-scale unsurfaced test section to evaluate the performance of two prototype geogrids, referred to as NX950 and NX750, in road applications. The test section consisted of a 10-in.-thick crushed aggregate surface layer placed over a very weak 2 California Bearing Ratio (CBR) clay subgrade. Simulated truck traffic was applied using one of ERDC’s specially designed load carts outfitted with a single-axle dual wheel truck gear. Rutting performance and instrumentation response data were monitored at multiple traffic intervals. It was found that the prototype geogrids improved rutting performance when compared to the unstabilized test item, and that the test item containing NX950 had the best rutting performance. Further, instrumentation response data indicated that the geogrids reduced measured pressure and deflection near the surface of the subgrade layer. Pressure response data in the aggregate layer suggested that the geogrids redistributed applied pressure higher in the aggregate layer, effectively changing the measured stress profile with an increase in pavement depth.
  • Observation of Crack Arrest in Ice by High Aspect Ratio Particles during Uniaxial Compression

    Abstract: In nature, ice frequently contains dissolved solutes or entrapped particles, which modify the microstructure and mechanical properties of ice. Seeking to understand the effect of particle shape and geometry on the mechanical properties of ice, we performed experiments on ice containing 15 wt% silica spheres or rods. Unique to this work was the use of 3-D microstructural imaging in a -10ºC cold room during compressive loading of the sample. The silica particles were present in the ice microstructure as randomly dispersed aggregates within grains and at grain boundaries. While cracks originated in particle-free regions in both sphere- and rod-containing samples, the propagation of cracks was quite different in each type of sample. Cracks propagated uninhibited through aggregates of spherical particles but were observed to arrest at and propagate around aggregates of rods. These results imply that spherical particles do not inhibit grain boundary sliding or increase viscous drag. On the other hand, silica rods were found to span grains, thereby pinning together the microstructure of ice during loading. These results provide insights into mechanisms that can be leveraged to strengthen ice.
  • Vertical and Horizontal Datums Used in the Lower Mississippi Valley for US Army Corps of Engineers Projects

    Abstract: Six geodetic datums have been used by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Mississippi River Commission (MRC), for river surveys in the Lower Mississippi Valley (LMV). These legacy elevation datums are the Cairo datum, the Memphis datum, the Mean Gulf Level (MGL), the Mean Sea Level (MSL), the National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) 1929, and the North American Vertical Datum 1988 (NAVD88). The official geodetic datum currently prescribed by the USACE is NAVD88 (USACE 2010). In addition to these different geodetic datums, hydraulic datums are in use by the USACE for rivers, lakes, and reservoir systems. Hydrographic surveys from the Mississippi River are typically based on a low water pool or discharge reference, such as a low water reference plane (LWRP), an average low water plane (ALWP), or a low water (LW) plane. The following technical note is intended to provide background information about legacy datums used in the LMV to permit comparison of historic maps, charts, and surveys pertaining to the Mississippi River in the LMV. The purpose of this report is to provide background information and history of different published horizontal and vertical datums used for presentation of hydrographic survey data from the Mississippi River. The goal is to facilitate understanding of differences with comparison to other historic surveys for change-detection studies along the river. Conversion values are identified herein for the earlier surveys where appropriate, and methods are presented here to evaluate the differences between earlier and later charts and maps. This report is solely intended to address the LMV area and historic surveys made there. This note is not applicable to areas outside of the LMV. Throughout this technical note, historic hydrographic surveys and data from the Memphis, TN, to Rosedale, MS, reach will be used as examples of features of interest for discussion purposes. Selected historic hydrographic survey sheets at Helena, AR, are included as Plates 1 to 3 (Appendix C) of this document and will be used as examples for discussion purposes.