Santamarina The behavior of soils and fractured rocks is determined by the discrete nature of these media and by the inherent presence of multiple internal scales. Indeed, it is increasingly more apparent that the mean and variance of soil parameters are not sufficient to characterize a soil mass and to predict its potential behavior. Furthermore, subtle yet important aspects of scales and interactions among scales need to be understood to better comprehend soil behavior.
The goal of this study is to discern unique phenomena in soils given the coexistence of multiple internal scales (spatial and temporal), and their effect on macroscale soil behavior. The proposed study centers on the following geotechnical processes: diffusion (selected because of its apparent insensitivity to internal scales), drained stress-strain behavior, pore pressure (generation, dissipation and coupling). These processes will be addressed with integral experimental and analytical tasks. A complementary research phase will be driven towards the development of engineering design procedures.
This research has the potential for the clarification and fundamental explanation of frequently observed behavior in geo-mechanic and geo-environmental situations, and for the discovery of unique phenomena related to multiple scales and their interaction. Results from this research will guide the development of enhanced procedures for the interpretation of high-resolution site characterization data (e.g., piezo-CPT and geophysical tests such as GPR and tomographic images). Furthermore, these results will also promote the development of enhanced engineering design methodologies that recognize multiple internal scales in global response (foundation engineering, dynamic response, contamination and remediation, petroleum geomechanics). ***