ESR13 Vasileios Matziaris

Research project description

Centrifuge model tests of rainfall-induced landslides

Fellow:                     Vasileios Matziaris (ESR13)

Department:           Department of Mechanics Material and Manufacturing Engineering, School of   Engineering, University of Nottingham, U.K.

Supervisors:           Dr Alec Marshall, Prof Hai-Sui Yu

Rainfall-induced landslides and debris flows constitute very serious threats for human lives and infrastructure. In many cases these events occur very quickly and unexpectedly, so rainfall duration (Id), rainfall intensity (Ir), and initial and boundary conditions are not well known. This might lead to a misunderstanding of the infiltration process and misleading conclusions may be drawn about the initiation conditions.

In this project, slope model tests will be carried out in a geotechnical centrifuge at the University of Nottingham Centre for Geomechanics (NCG) under very well defined initial and boundary conditions, in order to determine the rainfall characteristics which lead to instability. Soil slope models of different angles will be made of clay (Speswhite kaolin), silty clay, and silty sand, offering different values of hydraulic conductivity (k) and k/Ir ratios, determining rainfall triggering thresholds (Id versus Ir) in respect to slope angle and soil type.

For the accomplishment of the study, a plain strain climatic chamber (Fig. 1) is being built which will accommodate slope models, measuring devices, and rainfall and evaporation simulation systems. The crucial parameters that will be measured during centrifuge testing are pore water pressures (both positive and negative), relative humidity and deformation of the soil slope, while rainfall intensity and total rainfall will be accurately controlled.

Centrifuge model tests will provide the Mumolade fellows Eva Kakogiannou (ESR4) and Lorenzo Benedetti (ESR8) with very well documented data for validation of numerical models. Also, finite element numerical analysis of the prototype slopes will be performed, in collaboration with Eva Kakogiannou (ESR4) at the University of Padova in Italy, prior to centrifuge modelling, for the validation of the initial and boundary conditions. Finally, collaboration with Barbara Maria Switala (ESR7) will focus on slope stabilization using bio-engineering methods.

 ESR13 Vasieios Matziaris

Figure 1. Climate chamber for the centrifuge model tests.

ESR13 Vasileios Matziaris