Size Effect in the Cracking of Drying Soil

  • Pere C. Prat
  • Alberto Ledesma
  • M. R. Lakshmikantha


Cracking in soils due to water loss is a problem not much studied from a mechanical point of view, despite its environmental implications. For instance, if a clayey soil is used as an impervious barrier in open waste sites, an intense drought may origin cracks and therefore preferential flow paths for polluted water. Cracks produced by environmental agents also reduce the bearing capacity of the soil and increases its propensity to erosion. Previous works have studied the problem either from a Fracture Mechanics perspective (Vallejo [1], Prat et al. [2], Ávila [3], Harison et al. [4], [5], Hallet and Newson [6]), analysing the conditions for crack propagation, or from a classical Soil Mechanics approach (Kodikara et al. [7], Abu-Hejleh and Znidarcic [8], Konrad and Ayad [9], Morris et al. [10], Lloret et al. [11], using the effective stress principle. In this case it has been observed that cracks initiate when soil is still close to saturation.


Bearing Capacity Crack Width Unsaturated Soil Clayey Soil Mechanical Point 
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© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pere C. Prat
  • Alberto Ledesma
  • M. R. Lakshmikantha

There are no affiliations available

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