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Long-term monitoring of long linear geotechnical infrastructure for a deeper understanding of deterioration processes.

Lookup NU author(s): Helen BrooksORCiD, Dr Ross Stirling, Dr Jessica HolmesORCiD, Professor Jonathon Chambers, Paul Hughes



This is the final published version of a conference proceedings (inc. abstract) published in its final definitive form in 2022. For re-use rights please refer to the publishers terms and conditions.


Long linear geotechnical infrastructure such as earth embankments and cuttings used for railways, highways and flood defence can progressively reduce in performance over time as a result of aging and deterioration principally driven by environmental cycles of wetting and drying. These include volumetric and fabric changes including desiccation cracking, accumulating downslope plastic strain and geo-chemical/mineralogical changes, influencing the strength, stiffness, permeability and water retention behaviour of the soils from which they are constructed. A deeper understanding of these processes is necessary to develop effective tools for assessing and forecasting the geotechnical condition of long linear infrastructure over the lifespan of the asset and in response to climate change. As part of a major research project called ACHILLES, three exemplar long linear geotechnical earthworks have been instrumented with state-of-the-art sensors for long-term monitoring of deterioration behaviour and condition. The monitored sites are a highway cutting slope, a constructed trial embankment and a flood embankment. The sites are also being extensively characterised using geophysical, geodetic, UAV and cone penetrometer approaches. Data from these exemplar assets is of fundamental importance to understanding deterioration processes and is being used to validate conceptual and numerical models of asset performance and enable rapid characterisation of their current condition.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Blake A, Smethurst J, Yu Z, Brooks H, Stirling R, Holmes J, Watlet A, Whiteley J, Chambers J, Hughes P, Smith A, Briggs KM

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 11th International Symposium on Field Monitoring in Geomechanics

Year of Conference: 2022

Pages: 7

Acceptance date: 06/06/2022

Date deposited: 17/10/2022


ePrints DOI: 10.57711/f73d-pf35