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Investigating the impacts of climate change on slopes: field measurements

Lookup NU author(s): Joao Mendes, Professor Stephanie Glendinning, Dr Paul Hughes


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Climate change has the potential to have significant effects on the stability and serviceability of earthworks slopes, impacting on the performance of transport infrastructures. This paper describes how a unique facility for engineering and biological research was established in NE England through the BIONICS Project (Biological and Engineering Impacts of Climate Change on Slopes). It describes the building and monitoring of a full-scale embankment representative of road/rail embankments in the UK. The paper presents the results of monitoring of pore water pressure carried out between 2007 and 2009. The pore water pressures within the upper 3 m of the embankment have been largely positive, in some case approaching hydrostatic conditions after wetter periods. This is largely due to the wet nature of the summers in both 2007 and 2008 since monitoring began, as well as the application of artificial inundation using a climate control system. Negative pore water pressures (suctions) of the order of −30 kPa were recorded at greater depths below 3 m. The experimental facility provides essential field measurements that can be used to calibrate numerical models of soil responses to climatic changes and gain a better understanding of the response of engineered UK fills to climate events.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Toll DT, Mendes J, Gallipoli D, Glendinning S, Hughes PN

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Engineering Geology Special Publications

Year: 2012

Volume: 26

Issue: 1

Pages: 151-161

ISSN (print): 0267-9914

ISSN (electronic): 2041-4730

Publisher: Geological Society of London


DOI: 10.1144/EGSP26.17


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