Effect of root spacing on interpretation of blade penetration tests-full-scale physical modelling

G. J. Meijer, J. A. Knappett, A. G. Bengough, K. W. Loades, B. C. Nicoll

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Abstract

The spatial distribution of plant roots is an important parameter when the stability of vegetated slopes is to be assessed. Previous studies in both laboratory and field conditions have shown that a penetrometer adapted with a blade-shaped tip can be used to detect roots from sudden drops in penetrometer resistance. Such drops can be related to root properties including diameter, stiffness and strength using simpleWinkler foundation models, thereby providing a field instrument for rapid quantification of root properties and distribution. While this approach has proved useful for measuring single widely-spaced roots, it has not previously been determined how the penetrometer response changes as a result of roots being in close proximity. Therefore in this study 1-g physical modelling (at 1:1 scale) was conducted to study the effect of vertical root spacing using horizontal, straight 3D-printed root analogues. Results showthatwhen roots are closely spaced, there is significant interaction between them, resulting in higher apparent root displacements to failure and an increased amount of energy being dissipated. This preliminary work shows that the interpretive models used to analyse the penetrometer trace require further development to account for root-soil-root interactions in densely rooted soil.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhysical Modelling in Geotechnics
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 9th International Conference on Physical Modelling in Geotechnics (ICPMG 2018), July 17-20, 2018, London, United Kingdom
EditorsAndrew McNamara, Sam Divall, Richard Goodey, Neil Taylor, Sarah Stallebrass, Jignasha Panchal
PublisherCRC Press/Balkema
Pages425-430
Number of pages6
Volume1
ISBN (Print)9781138559752
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2018
Event9th International Conference on Physical Modelling in Geotechnics, ICPMG 2018 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 17 Jul 201820 Jul 2018

Conference

Conference9th International Conference on Physical Modelling in Geotechnics, ICPMG 2018
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityLondon
Period17/07/1820/07/18

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Meijer, G. J., Knappett, J. A., Bengough, A. G., Loades, K. W., & Nicoll, B. C. (2018). Effect of root spacing on interpretation of blade penetration tests-full-scale physical modelling. In A. McNamara, S. Divall, R. Goodey, N. Taylor, S. Stallebrass, & J. Panchal (Eds.), Physical Modelling in Geotechnics: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Physical Modelling in Geotechnics (ICPMG 2018), July 17-20, 2018, London, United Kingdom (Vol. 1, pp. 425-430). CRC Press/Balkema. https://doi.org/10.1201/9780429438660-60