REVENUES: Reinforced Vegetation Numerical Evaluation of Slopes

The interaction of plants and soil and its effects on the stability of slopes is of great complexity and can be best analyzed by an integrated approach, taking both hydrological and mechanical considerations into account. Due to the soils multiphase nature, solid, fluid and air are involved. The complex interaction among these phases in combination with the hydraulic boundary conditions introduced by the plant™s root system implies that simple approaches with constant strength and viscosity are no longer feasible.

The problem also presents multiphase and multiscale aspects. While the infiltration and saturation of a soil slope may take weeks, the slope failure is often a matter of seconds. The spatial multiscale aspect cause intriguing phenomena in landslides, as the deformation is often dominated by intense shearing within thin shear bands. A consistent formulation considering grain scale and structure scale properties in due consideration of hydrological and mechanical problems poses high scientific challenges. The ultimate goal of this project is to elaborate a consistent physical model with robust numerical scheme to provide reliable predictions of the stabilizing effect of the plant-root system on slopes.

The proposed research focuses on the advanced development and implementation of a comprehensive numerical tool to evaluate and calculate the qualitative and quantitative impact of plants on the stability of slopes, based on a combined approach of the influence of root reinforcement and the interaction with precipitation and evapotranspiration, on the factor of safety of slopes, its theoretical validation and its experimental verification. 

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