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Sustainable Geotechnics—Theory, Practice, and Applications

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2021) | Viewed by 25883

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Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering and Environmental Management, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow G4 0BA, UK
Interests: soil; sustainability; climate change; strength; resilience
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Today, modern geotechnical engineers, who in the past would have considered the phenomena occurring in the (primarily soil) environment, are faced with developments in environmental sciences that are becoming more and more detailed and sophisticated, with the natural phenomena and processes surrounding the civil engineering infrastructure being modeled, designed, monitored, and assessed in a more holistic way. This Special Issue aims to bring together the state of the art in geotechnics with a focus on sustainable design, construction, and monitoring of the performance of geotechnical assets from ground investigations, through foundation and drainage design to soil stabilization and reinforcement. Submissions from engineers and scientists working in the fields of green infrastructure, nature-based solutions, sustainable drainage, eco-engineering, hydro-geology, landscape planning, plant science, environmental biology or bio-chemistry, earth sciences, GIS, and remote sensing are particularly encouraged to submit articles with significant geotechnical components or applications. Case studies showcasing the application of the sustainable development principles (e.g., reuse, recycle, reduce; stakeholder engagement; public health; UN Global Sustainability Goals) in geotechnics are particularly welcome.

Prof. Slobodan B. Mickovski
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • built environment
  • construction
  • eco-engineering
  • geotechnical design
  • green infrastructure
  • ground bio-engineering
  • monitoring
  • nature-based solution
  • stakeholder engagement
  • sustainability

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

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4 pages, 157 KiB  
Editorial
Sustainable Geotechnics—Theory, Practice, and Applications
by Slobodan B. Mickovski
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 5286; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095286 - 9 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2144
Abstract
Today, modern Geotechnical Engineers, who in the past would have considered the phenomena occurring in the (primarily soil) environment, are faced with developments in environmental sciences that are becoming more and more detailed and sophisticated, with the natural phenomena and processes surrounding the [...] Read more.
Today, modern Geotechnical Engineers, who in the past would have considered the phenomena occurring in the (primarily soil) environment, are faced with developments in environmental sciences that are becoming more and more detailed and sophisticated, with the natural phenomena and processes surrounding the civil engineering infrastructure being modelled, designed, monitored, and assessed in a more holistic way [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Geotechnics—Theory, Practice, and Applications)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

21 pages, 3463 KiB  
Article
Towards More Sustainable Materials for Geo-Environmental Engineering: The Case of Geogrids
by Alessio Cislaghi, Paolo Sala, Gigliola Borgonovo, Claudio Gandolfi and Gian Battista Bischetti
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2585; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052585 - 28 Feb 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2994
Abstract
Plastic materials are widely used in geotechnical engineering, especially as geosynthetics. The use of plastic-based products involves serious environmental risks caused by their degradation. Innovative research has been focusing on biodegradable polymers of natural origin, especially on poly(lactic acid) (PLA), to reduce the [...] Read more.
Plastic materials are widely used in geotechnical engineering, especially as geosynthetics. The use of plastic-based products involves serious environmental risks caused by their degradation. Innovative research has been focusing on biodegradable polymers of natural origin, especially on poly(lactic acid) (PLA), to reduce the use of plastics. This study aims to explore the potentiality of biopolymers for the production of geogrids, measuring the chemical and mechanical characteristics of raw materials and of prototype samples, similar to those available on the market. First, chemical composition and optical purity were determined by hydrogen nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR) and polarimetry. Furthermore, samples of uniaxial and biaxial geogrids were custom-molded using a professional 3D printer. Mechanical properties were measured both on the filament and on the prototype geogrids. The maximum tensile resistance was 6.76 kN/m for the neat-PLA filament and 10.14 kN/m for uniaxial prototype geogrids produced with PLA-based polymer mixed with titanium dioxide. PLA-based materials showed higher tensile properties than polypropylene (PP), the most common petroleum derivative. Conversely, such biomaterials seem to be more brittle and with scarce elongation rate respect PP. Nonetheless, these results are encouraging and can support the use of PLA-based materials for innovative biodegradable geosynthetics production, especially if used in combination with live plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Geotechnics—Theory, Practice, and Applications)
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10 pages, 3106 KiB  
Article
Strength Performance and Microstructure of Calcium Sulfoaluminate Cement-Stabilized Soft Soil
by Hailong Liu, Jiuye Zhao, Yu Wang, Nangai Yi and Chunyi Cui
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 2295; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042295 - 20 Feb 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2056
Abstract
Calcium sulfoaluminate cement (CSA) was used to stabilize a type of marine soft soil in Dalian China. Unconfined compressive strength (UCS) of CSA-stabilized soil was tested and compared to ordinary Portland cement (OPC); meanwhile the influence of amounts of gypsum in CSA and [...] Read more.
Calcium sulfoaluminate cement (CSA) was used to stabilize a type of marine soft soil in Dalian China. Unconfined compressive strength (UCS) of CSA-stabilized soil was tested and compared to ordinary Portland cement (OPC); meanwhile the influence of amounts of gypsum in CSA and cement contents in stabilized soils on the strength of stabilized soils were investigated. X-ray diffraction (XRD) tests were employed to detect generated hydration products, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was conducted to analyze microstructures of CSA-stabilized soils. The results showed that UCS of CSA-stabilized soils at 1, 3, and 28 d firstly increased and then decreased with contents of gypsum increasing from 0 to 40 wt.%, and CSA-stabilized soils exhibited the highest UCS when the content of gypsum equaled 25 wt.%. When the mixing amounts of OPC and CSA were the same, CSA-stabilized soils had a significantly higher early strength (1 and 3 d) than OPC. For CSA-stabilized soil with 0 wt.% gypsum, monosulfate (AFm) was detected as a major hydration product. As for CSA-stabilized soil with certain amounts of gypsum, the intensity of ettringite (Aft) was significantly higher than that in the sample hydrating without gypsum, but a tiny peak of AFm also could be detected in the sample with 15 wt.% gypsum at 28 d. Additionally, the intensity of AFt increased with the contents of gypsum increasing from 0 to 25 wt.%. When contents of gypsum increased from 25 to 40 wt.%, the intensity of AFt tended to decrease slightly, and residual gypsum could be detected in the sample with 40 wt.% gypsum at 28 d. In the microstructure of OPC-stabilized soils, hexagonal plate-shaped calcium hydroxide (CH) constituted skeleton structures, and clusters of hydrated calcium silicates (C-S-H) gel adhered to particles of soils. In the microstructure of CSA-stabilized soils, AFt constituted skeleton structures, and the crystalline sizes of ettringite increased with contents of gypsum increasing; meanwhile, clusters of the aluminum hydroxide (AH3) phase could be observed to adhere to particles of soils and strengthen the interaction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Geotechnics—Theory, Practice, and Applications)
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18 pages, 30010 KiB  
Article
Landslide Risk Mapping in an Urban Area of the City of Natal, Brazil
by Laddyla Bezerra, Osvaldo de Freitas Neto, Olavo Santos, Jr. and Slobodan Mickovski
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9601; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229601 - 18 Nov 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2372
Abstract
Landslides are part of the natural processes of Earth’s surface dynamic, which could be accelerated or triggered by anthropic interference. Inadequate occupation of areas highly susceptible to landslide processes is the principal cause of accidents on Brazilian urban slopes, especially those occupied by [...] Read more.
Landslides are part of the natural processes of Earth’s surface dynamic, which could be accelerated or triggered by anthropic interference. Inadequate occupation of areas highly susceptible to landslide processes is the principal cause of accidents on Brazilian urban slopes, especially those occupied by settlements and slums. In Natal, Rio Grande do Norte state, Brazil, the existence of areas with steep and densely occupied slopes makes the municipality susceptible to landslides. In this context, the present study aimed to map the risk of landslides in an urban area located in the city of Natal. Using the quali-quantitative model proposed by Faria (2011), adapted for the conditions of the study area, which applies a multicriteria analytical hierarchy process (AHP) to a Geographic Information System (GIS), 11 risk indicators were submitted to pairwise comparisons by 10 risk management specialists in order to determine the relative importance (weighting) for each of these factors as a function of their contribution to the risk. The weightings obtained were combined to produce the final risk map of the study area, using a map algebra framework. The results show the existence of a critical risk for the resident population, primarily related to the possibility of a landslide, with potentially negative economic, environmental, and mainly social impacts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Geotechnics—Theory, Practice, and Applications)
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17 pages, 2809 KiB  
Article
Developing a Methodological Framework for Estimating Temporary Drainage Capacity to Inform Land Requirements for a Highway Construction Project in Scotland
by Mandy Wallace, Anita Meldrum, Slobodan Mickovski, Iain McNee, Derwyn Lear and Sam Flint
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5522; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145522 - 8 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2022
Abstract
Silt pollution generated during major highway construction projects can prove detrimental to the water environment and the aquatic species that depend on it. Construction activities can leave many kilometers of exposed soil susceptible to erosion from surface water runoff, which can result in [...] Read more.
Silt pollution generated during major highway construction projects can prove detrimental to the water environment and the aquatic species that depend on it. Construction activities can leave many kilometers of exposed soil susceptible to erosion from surface water runoff, which can result in silt pollution and degradation of ecologically sensitive watercourses if appropriate mitigation is not in place. In Scotland, assurances need to be provided during scheme development to demonstrate that there is sufficient space to accommodate temporary drainage. In response, a methodological framework has been developed that can be applied before construction commences to estimate the required capacity of settlement ponds including runoff and soil loss volume estimation, which are estimated using the Rational Method and Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE). The application of the framework as a case-study has demonstrated the potential applicability of the approach and highlighted where further refinements can be made to increase the robustness for future applications by improving the accuracy of input parameters to address site-specific conditions. Furthermore, it demonstrates how adopting erosion control measures can reduce the land required to accommodate temporary settlement ponds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Geotechnics—Theory, Practice, and Applications)
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14 pages, 4651 KiB  
Article
Experimental and Numerical Analysis for Earth-Fill Dam Seepage
by Ahmed Mohammed Sami Al-Janabi, Abdul Halim Ghazali, Yousry Mahmoud Ghazaw, Haitham Abdulmohsin Afan, Nadhir Al-Ansari and Zaher Mundher Yaseen
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2490; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062490 - 22 Mar 2020
Cited by 36 | Viewed by 7393
Abstract
Earth-fill dams are the most common types of dam and the most economical choice. However, they are more vulnerable to internal erosion and piping due to seepage problems that are the main causes of dam failure. In this study, the seepage through earth-fill [...] Read more.
Earth-fill dams are the most common types of dam and the most economical choice. However, they are more vulnerable to internal erosion and piping due to seepage problems that are the main causes of dam failure. In this study, the seepage through earth-fill dams was investigated using physical, mathematical, and numerical models. Results from the three methods revealed that both mathematical calculations using L. Casagrande solutions and the SEEP/W numerical model have a plotted seepage line compatible with the observed seepage line in the physical model. However, when the seepage flow intersected the downstream slope and when piping took place, the use of SEEP/W to calculate the flow rate became useless as it was unable to calculate the volume of water flow in pipes. This was revealed by the big difference in results between physical and numerical models in the first physical model, while the results were compatible in the second physical model when the seepage line stayed within the body of the dam and low compacted soil was adopted. Seepage analysis for seven different configurations of an earth-fill dam was conducted using the SEEP/W model at normal and maximum water levels to find the most appropriate configuration among them. The seven dam configurations consisted of four homogenous dams and three zoned dams. Seepage analysis revealed that if sufficient quantity of silty sand soil is available around the proposed dam location, a homogenous earth-fill dam with a medium drain length of 0.5 m thickness is the best design configuration. Otherwise, a zoned earth-fill dam with a central core and 1:0.5 Horizontal to Vertical ratio (H:V) is preferred. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Geotechnics—Theory, Practice, and Applications)
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16 pages, 2906 KiB  
Article
A Novel Hybrid Soft Computing Model Using Random Forest and Particle Swarm Optimization for Estimation of Undrained Shear Strength of Soil
by Binh Thai Pham, Chongchong Qi, Lanh Si Ho, Trung Nguyen-Thoi, Nadhir Al-Ansari, Manh Duc Nguyen, Huu Duy Nguyen, Hai-Bang Ly, Hiep Van Le and Indra Prakash
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2218; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062218 - 12 Mar 2020
Cited by 82 | Viewed by 4999
Abstract
Determination of shear strength of soil is very important in civil engineering for foundation design, earth and rock fill dam design, highway and airfield design, stability of slopes and cuts, and in the design of coastal structures. In this study, a novel hybrid [...] Read more.
Determination of shear strength of soil is very important in civil engineering for foundation design, earth and rock fill dam design, highway and airfield design, stability of slopes and cuts, and in the design of coastal structures. In this study, a novel hybrid soft computing model (RF-PSO) of random forest (RF) and particle swarm optimization (PSO) was developed and used to estimate the undrained shear strength of soil based on the clay content (%), moisture content (%), specific gravity (%), void ratio (%), liquid limit (%), and plastic limit (%). In this study, the experimental results of 127 soil samples from national highway project Hai Phong-Thai Binh of Vietnam were used to generate datasets for training and validating models. Pearson correlation coefficient (R) method was used to evaluate and compare performance of the proposed model with single RF model. The results show that the proposed hybrid model (RF-PSO) achieved a high accuracy performance (R = 0.89) in the prediction of shear strength of soil. Validation of the models also indicated that RF-PSO model (R = 0.89 and Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) = 0.453) is superior to the single RF model without optimization (R = 0.87 and RMSE = 0.48). Thus, the proposed hybrid model (RF-PSO) can be used for accurate estimation of shear strength which can be used for the suitable designing of civil engineering structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Geotechnics—Theory, Practice, and Applications)
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