Excellence in Research and Innovation for Humanity

International Science Index

Commenced in January 1999 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 10

Environmental, Chemical, Ecological, Geological and Geophysical Engineering

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  • 10
    Estimating Affected Croplands and Potential Crop Yield Loss of an Individual Farmer Due to Floods

    Farmers who are living in flood-prone areas such as coasts are exposed to storm surges increased due to climate change. Crop cultivation is the most important economic activity of farmers, and in the time of flooding, agricultural lands are subject to inundation. Additionally, overflow saline water causes more severe damage outcomes than riverine flooding. Agricultural crops are more vulnerable to salinity than other land uses for which the economic damages may continue for a number of years even after flooding and affect farmers’ decision-making for the following year. Therefore, it is essential to assess what extent the agricultural areas are flooded and how much the associated flood damage to each individual farmer is. To address these questions, we integrated farmers’ decision-making at farm-scale with flood risk management. The integrated model includes identification of hazard scenarios, failure analysis of structural measures, derivation of hydraulic parameters for the inundated areas and analysis of the economic damages experienced by each farmer. The present study has two aims; firstly, it attempts to investigate the flooded cropland and potential crop damages for the whole area. Secondly, it compares them among farmers’ field for three flood scenarios, which differ in breach locations of the flood protection structure. To achieve its goal, the spatial distribution of fields and cultivated crops of farmers were fed into the flood risk model, and a 100-year storm surge hydrograph was selected as the flood event. The study area was Pellworm Island that is located in the German Wadden Sea National Park and surrounded by North Sea. Due to high salt content in seawater of North Sea, crops cultivated in the agricultural areas of Pellworm Island are 100% destroyed by storm surges which were taken into account in developing of depth-damage curve for analysis of consequences. As a result, inundated croplands and economic damages to crops were estimated in the whole Island which was further compared for six selected farmers under three flood scenarios. The results demonstrate the significance and the flexibility of the proposed model in flood risk assessment of flood-prone areas by integrating flood risk management and decision-making.

    Shear Modulus Degradation of a Liquefiable Sand Deposit by Shaking Table Tests

    Strength and deformability characteristics of a liquefiable sand deposit including the development of earthquake-induced shear stress and shear strain as well as soil softening via the progressive degradation of shear modulus were studied via shaking table experiments. To do so, a model of a liquefiable sand deposit was constructed and densely instrumented where accelerations, pressures, and displacements at different locations were continuously monitored. Furthermore, the confinement effects on the strength and deformation characteristics of the liquefiable sand deposit due to an external surcharge by placing a heavy concrete slab (i.e. the model of an actual structural rigid pavement) on the ground surface were examined. The results indicate that as the number of seismic-loading cycles increases, the sand deposit softens progressively as large shear strains take place in different sand elements. Liquefaction state is reached after the combined effects of the progressive degradation of the initial shear modulus associated with the continuous decrease in the mean principal stress, and the buildup of the excess of pore pressure takes place in the sand deposit. Finally, the confinement effects given by a concrete slab placed on the surface of the sand deposit resulted in a favorable increasing in the initial shear modulus, an increase in the mean principal stress and a decrease in the softening rate (i.e. the decreasing rate in shear modulus) of the sand, thus making the onset of liquefaction to take place at a later stage. This is, only after the sand deposit having a concrete slab experienced a higher number of seismic loading cycles liquefaction took place, in contrast to an ordinary sand deposit having no concrete slab.

    Considerations for Effectively Using Probability of Failure as a Means of Slope Design Appraisal for Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Rock Masses

    Probability of failure (PF) often appears alongside factor of safety (FS) in design acceptance criteria for rock slope, underground excavation and open pit mine designs. However, the design acceptance criteria generally provide no guidance relating to how PF should be calculated for homogeneous and heterogeneous rock masses, or what qualifies a ‘reasonable’ PF assessment for a given slope design. Observational and kinematic methods were widely used in the 1990s until advances in computing permitted the routine use of numerical modelling. In the 2000s and early 2010s, PF in numerical models was generally calculated using the point estimate method. More recently, some limit equilibrium analysis software offer statistical parameter inputs along with Monte-Carlo or Latin-Hypercube sampling methods to automatically calculate PF. Factors including rock type and density, weathering and alteration, intact rock strength, rock mass quality and shear strength, the location and orientation of geologic structure, shear strength of geologic structure and groundwater pore pressure influence the stability of rock slopes. Significant engineering and geological judgment, interpretation and data interpolation is usually applied in determining these factors and amalgamating them into a geotechnical model which can then be analysed. Most factors are estimated ‘approximately’ or with allowances for some variability rather than ‘exactly’. When it comes to numerical modelling, some of these factors are then treated deterministically (i.e. as exact values), while others have probabilistic inputs based on the user’s discretion and understanding of the problem being analysed. This paper discusses the importance of understanding the key aspects of slope design for homogeneous and heterogeneous rock masses and how they can be translated into reasonable PF assessments where the data permits. A case study from a large open pit gold mine in a complex geological setting in Western Australia is presented to illustrate how PF can be calculated using different methods and obtain markedly different results. Ultimately sound engineering judgement and logic is often required to decipher the true meaning and significance (if any) of some PF results.

    Application of Artificial Neural Network in Assessing Fill Slope Stability

    This paper details the utilization of artificial intelligence (AI) in the field of slope stability whereby quick and convenient solutions can be obtained using the developed tool. The AI tool used in this study is the artificial neural network (ANN), while the slope stability analysis methods are the finite element limit analysis methods. The developed tool allows for the prompt prediction of the safety factors of fill slopes and their corresponding probability of failure (depending on the degree of variation of the soil parameters), which can give the practicing engineer a reasonable basis in their decision making. In fact, the successful use of the Extreme Learning Machine (ELM) algorithm shows that slope stability analysis is no longer confined to the conventional methods of modeling, which at times may be tedious and repetitive during the preliminary design stage where the focus is more on cost saving options rather than detailed design. Therefore, similar ANN-based tools can be further developed to assist engineers in this aspect.

    Sea Level Characteristics Referenced to Specific Geodetic Datum in Alexandria, Egypt

    Two geo-referenced sea level datasets (September 2008 – November 2010) and (April 2012 – January 2014) were recorded at Alexandria Western Harbour (AWH). Accurate re-definition of tidal datum, referred to the latest International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF-2014), was discussed and updated to improve our understanding of the old predefined tidal datum at Alexandria. Tidal and non-tidal components of sea level were separated with the use of Delft-3D hydrodynamic model-tide suit (Delft-3D, 2015). Tidal characteristics at AWH were investigated and harmonic analysis showed the most significant 34 constituents with their amplitudes and phases. Tide was identified as semi-diurnal pattern as indicated by a “Form Factor” of 0.24 and 0.25, respectively. Principle tidal datums related to major tidal phenomena were recalculated referred to a meaningful geodetic height datum. The portion of residual energy (surge) out of the total sea level energy was computed for each dataset and found 77% and 72%, respectively. Power spectral density (PSD) showed accurate resolvability in high band (1–6) cycle/days for the nominated independent constituents, except some neighbouring constituents, which are too close in frequency. Wind and atmospheric pressure data, during the recorded sea level time, were analysed and cross-correlated with the surge signals. Moderate association between surge and wind and atmospheric pressure data were obtained. In addition, long-term sea level rise trend at AWH was computed and showed good agreement with earlier estimated rates.

    Impact of Interface Soil Layer on Groundwater Aquifer Behaviour

    The geological environment where the groundwater is collected represents the most important element that affects the behaviour of groundwater aquifer. As groundwater is a worldwide vital resource, it requires knowing the parameters that affect this source accurately so that the conceptualized mathematical models would be acceptable to the broadest ranges. Therefore, groundwater models have recently become an effective and efficient tool to investigate groundwater aquifer behaviours. Groundwater aquifer may contain aquitards, aquicludes, or interfaces within its geological formations. Aquitards and aquicludes have geological formations that forced the modellers to include those formations within the conceptualized groundwater models, while interfaces are commonly neglected from the conceptualization process because the modellers believe that the interface has no effect on aquifer behaviour. The current research highlights the impact of an interface existing in a real unconfined groundwater aquifer called Dibdibba, located in Al-Najaf City, Iraq where it has a river called the Euphrates River that passes through the eastern part of this city. Dibdibba groundwater aquifer consists of two types of soil layers separated by an interface soil layer. A groundwater model is built for Al-Najaf City to explore the impact of this interface. Calibration process is done using PEST 'Parameter ESTimation' approach and the best Dibdibba groundwater model is obtained. When the soil interface is conceptualized, results show that the groundwater tables are significantly affected by that interface through appearing dry areas of 56.24 km² and 6.16 km² in the upper and lower layers of the aquifer, respectively. The Euphrates River will also leak water into the groundwater aquifer of 7359 m³/day. While these results are changed when the soil interface is neglected where the dry area became 0.16 km², the Euphrates River leakage became 6334 m³/day. In addition, the conceptualized models (with and without interface) reveal different responses for the change in the recharge rates applied on the aquifer through the uncertainty analysis test. The aquifer of Dibdibba in Al-Najaf City shows a slight deficit in the amount of water supplied by the current pumping scheme and also notices that the Euphrates River suffers from stresses applied to the aquifer. Ultimately, this study shows a crucial need to represent the interface soil layer in model conceptualization to be the intended and future predicted behaviours more reliable for consideration purposes.

    Critical Terrain Slope Calculation for Locating Small Hydropower Plants

    As known, the water energy is a renewable and clean source of energy. Energy production from hydropower has been the first, and still is today a renewable source used to generate electricity. The optimal location and sizing of a small hydropower plant is a very important issue in engineering design which encourages investigation. The aim of this paper is to present a formula that can be utilized for locating the position of a small hydropower plant although there is a high dependence on economic, environmental, and social parameters. In this paper, the economic and technical side of the problem is considered. More specifically, there is a critical terrain slope that determines if the plant should be located at the end of the slope or not. Of course, this formula can be used for a first estimate and does not include detailed economic analysis. At the end, a case study is presented for the location of a small hydropower plant in order to demonstrate the validity of the proposed formula.

    Centrifuge Modeling of Monopiles Subjected to Lateral Monotonic Loading

    The type of foundation commonly used today for berthing dolphins is a set of tubular steel piles with large diameters, which are known as monopiles. The design of these monopiles is based on the theories related with laterally loaded piles. One of the most common methods to analyze and design the piles subjected to lateral loads is the p-y curves. In the present study, centrifuge tests are conducted in order to obtain the p-y curves. Series of tests were designed in order to investigate the scaling laws in the centrifuge for monotonic loading. Also, two important parameters, the embedded depth L of the pile in the soil and free length e of the pile, as well as their ratios were studied via five experimental tests. Finally, the p-y curves of API are presented to be compared with the curves obtained from the tests so that the differences could be demonstrated. The results show that the p-y curves proposed by API highly overestimate the lateral load bearing capacity. It suggests that these curves need correction and modification for each site as the soil conditions change.

    Experimental Determination of Shear Strength Properties of Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregates Using Direct Shear and Triaxial Tests

    Artificial lightweight aggregates have a wide range of applications in industry and engineering. Nowadays, the usage of this material in geotechnical activities, especially as backfill in retaining walls has been growing due to the specific characteristics which make it a competent alternative to the conventional geotechnical materials. In practice, a material with lower weight but higher shear strength parameters would be ideal as backfill behind retaining walls because of the important roles that these parameters play in decreasing the overall active lateral earth pressure. In this study, two types of Light Expanded Clay Aggregates (LECA) produced in the Leca factory are investigated. LECA is made in a rotary kiln by heating natural clay at different temperatures up to 1200 °C making quasi-spherical aggregates with different sizes ranged from 0 to 25 mm. The loose bulk density of these aggregates is between 300 and 700 kN/m3. The purpose of this research is to determine the stress-strain behavior, shear strength parameters, and the energy absorption of LECA materials. Direct shear tests were conducted at five normal stresses of 25, 50, 75, 100, and 200 kPa. In addition, conventional triaxial compression tests were operated at confining pressures of 50, 100, and 200 kPa to examine stress-strain behavior. The experimental results show a high internal angle of friction and even a considerable amount of nominal cohesion despite the granular structure of LECA. These desirable properties along with the intrinsic low density of these aggregates make LECA as a very proper material in geotechnical applications. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that lightweight aggregates may have high energy absorption that is excellent alternative material in seismic isolations.

    Collapse Load Analysis of Reinforced Concrete Pile Group in Liquefying Soils under Lateral Loading
    The ultimate load analysis of RC pile groups has assumed a lot of significance under liquefying soil conditions, especially due to post-earthquake studies of 1964 Niigata, 1995 Kobe and 2001 Bhuj earthquakes. The present study reports the results of numerical simulations on pile groups subjected to monotonically increasing lateral loads under design amounts of pile axial loading. The soil liquefaction has been considered through the non-linear p-y relationship of the soil springs, which can vary along the depth/length of the pile. This variation again is related to the liquefaction potential of the site and the magnitude of the seismic shaking. As the piles in the group can reach their extreme deflections and rotations during increased amounts of lateral loading, a precise modeling of the inelastic behavior of the pile cross-section is done, considering the complete stress-strain behavior of concrete, with and without confinement, and reinforcing steel, including the strain-hardening portion. The possibility of the inelastic buckling of the individual piles is considered in the overall collapse modes. The model is analysed using Riks analysis in finite element software to check the post buckling behavior and plastic collapse of piles. The results confirm the kinds of failure modes predicted by centrifuge test results reported by researchers on pile group, although the pile material used is significantly different from that of the simulation model. The extension of the present work promises an important contribution to the design codes for pile groups in liquefying soils.