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Title: Root mechanics applied to slope stability
Author: Norris, J. E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2678 3111
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2005
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Many embankments and cut slopes in the United Kingdom are prone to shallow slope failures as they are often constructed of or within stiff overconsolidated clays, which soften with time. Reinforcement by natural vegetation is potentially a costeffective method of stabilising these types of slopes over the medium to long term. However, there is a lack of information on the strength and root reinforcement values of natural vegetation, that can be effectively used to stabilise a clay slope. To investigate the potential of reinforcement by vegetation the biological characteristics and mechanical properties of roots were reviewed and the key properties identified for slope stability. The interactions between the plants' root system and the soil were investigated by designing and developing field apparatus to measure the in situ root-soil strength and the pull out resistance of roots. Root strength, root-soil interactions and root architecture were investigated on a highway embankment, highway cut slope and a preserved railway embankment. New relationships between root morphology and pull out resistance were discovered and a revised classification scheme proposed. The properties of roots that are required for slope stability analysis calculations were identified and assessed. The methods of slope stability analysis were reviewed and suitable methods identified that include the effects of vegetation in the analysis. Methods of determining suitable input parameters for the various root properties were devised from the experimental data. A spreadsheet program known as SLIP4EX was used to model the stability of the vegetated embankments and cut slopes. Further modelling was carried out to determine changes in stability when vegetation is removed from a slope.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available