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unilogo University of Stuttgart
Institute of Hydraulic Engineering

DFG Research Group Mechanics of Partially Saturated Soils

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Under Central European climatic conditions, soils are usually either saturated or partially saturated. For this reason, geotechnical questions always concern the coupled deformation and flow processes between the pore fluids water and gas and the soil skeleton. These questions are of great practical geotechnical interest and play an important role in, for example, coastal protection facilities, swelling and shrinkage behaviour of soils or the investigation of the stability of embankments; they are treated in general by constitutive models. These models take into account the mechanical effects of the fluid phases without, however, considering their individual motion functions. Although the standard models in soil mechanics suffice to treat many of the practically relevant geotechnical tasks quantitatively, there are still large deficits in theoretical knowledge, preventing the use of modern simulation methods for solving practical questions in geotechnics and tunneling.

The research group Mechanics of Partially Saturated Soils has set itself the goal of treating partially saturated soils as a triphasic material consisting of a deformable solid skeleton whose pore space is filled with pore water and pore gas. To describe the influence of the pore fluids on the mechanical behaviour of the soil, experiments need to be carried out. The experimental results are used both for the identification of the material parameters of constitutive models as well as for the verification of the material models generated in the scope of the Theory of Porous Media (TPM). Beside the description of elasto-plastic or elasto-viscoplastic solid deformations, the models describe phase-exchange processes between the pore fluids as well as swelling and shrinkage effects of the skeleton.


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