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Geomechanics and Engineering
  Volume 17, Number 6, April30 2019 , pages 565-572

Evaluation of soil spatial variability by micro-structure simulation
Suozhu Fei, Xiaohui Tan, Xue Wang, Linfeng Du and Zhihao Sun

    Spatial variability is an inherent characteristic of soil, and auto-correlation length (ACL) is a very important parameter in the reliability or probabilistic analyses of geotechnical engineering that consider the spatial variability of soils. Current methods for estimating the ACL need a large amount of laboratory or in-situ experiments, which is a great obstacle to the application of random field theory to geotechnical reliability analysis and design. To estimate the ACL reasonably and efficiently, we propose a micro-structure based numerical simulation method. The quartet structure generation set algorithm is used to generate stochastic numerical micro-structure of soils, and scanning electron microscope test of soil samples combined with digital image processing technique is adopted to obtain parameters needed in the QSGS algorithm. Then, 2-point correlation function is adopted to calculate the ACL based on the generated numerical micro-structure of soils. Results of a case study shows that the ACL can be estimated efficiently using the proposed method. Sensitivity analysis demonstrates that the ACL will become stable with the increase of mesh density and model size. A model size of 300 x 300 with a grid size of 1 x 1 is suitable for the calculation of the ACL of clayey soils.
Key Words
    auto-correlation length (ACL); quartet structure generation set (QSGS); scanning electron microscope (SEM); digital image processing (DIP); numerical simulation; spatial variability; correlation function
Suozhu Fei, Xiaohui Tan, Linfeng Du and Zhihao Sun: School of Resources and Environmental Engineering, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei, 230009, China

Xue Wang: Gaoyou Architectural Design Institute, Gaoyou, 225600, China

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