Soil slopes used to support road, rail and, flood defense infrastructure experience a suite of weather-driven deterioration processes that lead to a progressive loss of hydromechanical performance: micro- and macro-scale deformation, changes in soil-water retentivity, and loss of strength. This progressive deterioration eventually leads to failures whose consequences can be severe and costly. The aim of this project is to forecast the time to failure of aging, deteriorating fine-grained soil slopes supporting transportation infrastructure through advanced computational modeling capable of simulating the long-term, weather-driven hydromechanical behavior of soil slopes. The specific objectives of this project include (1) review and evaluation of existing slope deterioration models that are used by infrastructure stakeholders in California; (2) development of a database of well-documented slope failure case studies, possibly for a range of infrastructure types, to validate the computer models; (3) development of computer models for the slope failure case studies; and (4) development of practical charts that can be readily used by infrastructure stakeholders to manage their infrastructure assets. The project features development of an undergraduate research group in civil engineering deterioration that provides opportunities for undergraduate students to partake in applied research during their undergraduate studies and prepare the rising generations of civil engineers for the nation’s current challenges.
CSU Long Beach
The project aims to develop computational capabilities to quantify the remaining service life of slopes supporting transportation infrastructure assets. The model will provide quantitative estimates of the time to failure of infrastructure assets that will significantly improve the asset management systems used by infrastructure stakeholders and help them better allocate their resources and manage their aged, deteriorated infrastructure assets. The outcome of this research could be extended to serve not only the state of California, but nationally.