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Simulation of direct shear tests on rooted and non-rooted soil using finite element analysis

Mickovski S.B., Stokes A., Van Beek R., Ghestem M., Fourcaud T.. 2011. Ecological Engineering, 37 (10) : p. 1523-1532.

DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2011.06.001

The finite element (FE) method has been used in recent years to simulate overturning processes in trees and to better comprehend plant anchorage mechanics. We aimed at understanding the fundamental mechanisms of root-soil reinforcement by simulating direct shear of rooted and non-rooted soil. Two- (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) FE simulations of direct shear box tests were carried out using readily available software for routine strength assessment of the root-soil composite. Both rooted and non-rooted blocks of soil were modelled using a simplified model of root distribution and root material properties representative of real roots. Linear elastic behaviour was assumed for roots and the soil was modelled as an ideally plastic medium. FE analysis showed that direct shear tests were dependent on the material properties specified for both the soil and roots. 2D and 3D simulations of direct shear of non-rooted soil produced similar results and any differences between 2D and 3D simulations could be explained with regard to the spatial complexity of roots used in the root distribution model. The application of FE methods was verified through direct shear tests on soil with analogue roots and the results compared to in situ tests on rooted soil in field conditions.

Mots-clés : arbre; modèle mathématique; modèle de simulation; résistance mécanique; stabilisation du sol; enracinement; relation plante sol; résistance à la verse; espagne

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