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Hydrologic behavior of model slopes with synthetic water repellent soils

Zheng, Shuang, Lourenço, Sérgio D.N., Cleall, Peter J., May Chui, Ting Fong, Ng, Angel K.Y. and Millis, Stuart W. 2017. Hydrologic behavior of model slopes with synthetic water repellent soils. Journal of Hydrology 554 , pp. 582-599. 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2017.09.013

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Abstract

In the natural environment, soil water repellency decreases infiltration, increases runoff, and increases erosion in slopes. In the built environment, soil water repellency offers the opportunity to develop granular materials with controllable wettability for slope stabilization. In this paper, the influence of soil water repellency on the hydrological response of slopes is investigated. Twenty-four flume tests were carried out in model slopes under artificial rainfall; soils with various wettability levels were tested, including wettable (Contact Angle, CA < 90°), subcritical water repellent (CA ∼ 90°) and water repellent (CA > 90°). Various rainfall intensities (30 mm/h and 70 mm/h), slope angles (20° and 40°) and relative compactions (70% and 90%) were applied to model the response of natural and man-made slopes to rainfall. To quantitatively assess the hydrological response, a number of measurements were made: runoff rate, effective rainfall rate, time to ponding, time to steady state, runoff acceleration, total water storage and wetting front rate. Overall, an increase in soil water repellency reduces infiltration and shortens the time for runoff generation, with the effects amplified for high rainfall intensity. Comparatively, the slope angle and relative compaction had only a minor contribution to the slope hydrology. The subcritical water repellent soils sustained infiltration for longer than both the wettable and water repellent soils, which presents an added advantage if they are to be used in the built environment as barriers. This study revealed substantial impacts of man-made or synthetically induced soil water repellency on the hydrological behavior of model slopes in controlled conditions. The results shed light on our understanding of hydrological processes in environments where the occurrence of natural soil water repellency is likely, such as slopes subjected to wildfires and in agricultural and forested slopes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0022-1694
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 28 September 2017
Date of Acceptance: 6 September 2017
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2020 12:16
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/105047

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