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Friday, November 22, 2019 at 1:00pm to 3:00pm

Butler-Carlton Hall, Room 120

Presenter: Dr. Xiong Zhang

Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering

Missouri University of Science and Technology


Expansive soils are some of the most widely distributed and costly natural hazards. Expansive unsaturated soils cover one-fourth of the United States and undergo large amounts of heaving and shrinking in response to seasonal variations of climatic conditions. These movements lead to cracking and buckling of the structures built on expansive soils and result in billions of dollars of damage annually. Though expansive soils have been studied for several decades, it remains a great challenge to accurately predict expansive soil movement and subsequent structural performance under real climatic conditions due to the complex nature of structures built on expansive soils.

            In this study, an integration of multi-disciplinary techniques was established to investigate the behavior of residential buildings on expansive soils. A coupled hydro-mechanical stress analysis was used to simulate the volume change of expansive soils due to both mechanical stress and water content variations. The soil-structure interaction and structure behavior were then simulated using coupled hydro-mechanical stress jointed elements and general shell elements. The analysis incorporated the effects of climate, materials, construction, and structural factors including daily weather data such as rainfall, solar radiation, air temperature, relative humidity and wind speed, soil stiffness and permeability, moisture distribution and variations in the soil, structural loads and rigidity, vegetation, and landscaping. The approach was further verified using measured data at an experimental site. The presentation uses residential buildings built on expansive soils as an example. However, the approach proposed can be used for other structures/infrastructure built on both saturated and unsaturated soils.


Event Type

Meetings, Lectures and Conferences


College of Engineering and Computing, Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Contact Name

Jennifer Pratt

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