The 7th ALERT Olek Zienkiewicz Course (ALERT Summerschool) on “Unsaturated Soil Mechanics: From Fundamentals to Applications” will be held at the Department of Geotechnical Engineering and Geosciences (Spain) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya – BarcelonaTech (UPC) from the 25th to the 29th May 2015. The deadline for the registration is 3rd May 2015. Please use the registration form.
Since the time when unsaturated soils were considered as “special” or “problematic soils”, the Unsaturated Soil Mechanics has experienced enormous developments that brings it at the center of soil response understanding. On the theoretical side, the necessity to include a more complete description of soil-water potential, as well as to study material response for water partially filling pore families of different sizes, has strongly contributed to put forward the fundamental role played by microstructure in soil behaviour. On the practical side, inclusion of environmental variables has allowed to address new engineering problems (engineered barriers, gassy soils, climate effect…) and to revisit old issues like the behaviour of compacted earth structures or the phenomenon of wetting induced collapse in slopes and foundations. The emergence of numerical codes able to handle coupled multiphase flow – deformation problems in soils and rocks together with the development of laboratory tests and field measurement techniques of unsaturated variables have progressively provided engineers and researchers with tools to face real problems. As a consequence, the number of applications has increased significantly in the last decade while diversifying in their nature. One important step in the historical development of the Unsaturated Soil Mechanics has been the formulation of the first elastoplastic model for unsaturated soils, presented in Géotechnique by Alonso, Gens & Josa (1990), and currently known as the Barcelona Basic Model. The present course commemorates this work in its 25th anniversary.
The main goal of the course is to provide PhD students and researchers with an overview of the current knowledge in Unsaturated Soil Mechanics as well as some insights into current issues and advanced topics. The course will be divided in lectures and practical sessions along five themes of one day long each:
- Fundamentals of Unsaturated Soil Mechanics. This one-day session will include presentation on the concepts of unsaturated soils response: phenomenology, controlling variables and constitutive models for several classes of materials.
- Experimental techniques. Attendees will learn special techniques to perform hydraulic and mechanical tests under different controls of sample saturation, to characterize microstructure evolution during these processes and to measure the main controlling variables in the field. A session in the laboratory of the Department of Geotechnical Engineering and Geosciences is included in the afternoon.
- Numerical methods. This day is split into one theoretical morning session devoted to the formulation and numerical implementation of equations for multiphase flow in deformable geomaterials and one practical afternoon session, where attendees will be tutored to solve user defined problems by using a Finite Element program.
- Some advanced topics and current issues. This one-day session aims at introducing attendees to current topics and issues in Unsaturated Soil Mechanics by presenting research works on theoretical and non-conventional applied subjects.
- Applications. The last day is devoted to the presentation of applications to real problems in civil, environmental and geo-energy engineering. It will be closed by an Invited Lecture given by a guest speaker.