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Vegetation enhances soil shearing resistance through water uptake and root reinforcement. Analytical models for soils reinforced with roots rely on input parameters that are difficult to measure, leading to widely varying predictions of behaviour. The opaque heterogeneous nature of rooted soils results in complex soil-root interaction mechanisms that cannot easily be quantified. The authors measured, for the first time, the shear resistance and deformations of fallow, willow-rooted and gorse-rooted soils during direct shear using X-ray computed tomography and digital volume correlation. Both species caused an increase in shear zone thickness, both initially and as shear progressed. Shear zone thickness peaked at up to 35 mm, often close to the thickest roots and towards the centre of the column. Root extension during shear was 10-30% less than the tri-linear root profile assumed in a Waldron-type model, owing to root curvature. Root analogues used to explore the root-soil interface behaviour suggested that root lateral branches play an important role in anchoring the roots. The Waldron-type model was modified to incorporate non-uniform shear zone thickness and growth, and accurately predicted the observed, up to sevenfold, increase in shear resistance of root-reinforced soil.
|Number of pages||26|
|Journal||Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences|
|Early online date||5 Jan 2022|
|Publication status||Published - 26 Jan 2022|
- Direct shear
- X-ray computed tomography
- digital volume correlation
- root reinforcement
- shear zone thickness
- slope stability
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