Influence of Swelling on Flexible Pavements: A Numerical Study

  • S. N. TharaEmail author
  • Anirban Mandal
  • Siva Ram Karumanchi
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering book series (LNCE, volume 29)


Expansive subgrades have long been recognised as problematic as they undergo considerable amount of volume changes due to moisture content fluctuations causing considerable distress to the pavement section above it thus making it important to estimate the changes in stresses and displacements in pavement layers. In the present research, swelling and shrinkage effects of expansive subgrade on flexible pavements are studied. Experimental program to find the basic properties of the soils were conducted first. Soil–water characteristic curves of the samples were developed and found to follow the traditional behaviour; soil suction increases as moisture content decreases. Database of soil properties was developed and was used as an input to estimate the stresses and displacements on pavement layers caused by swelling of subgrade using FEM-based software. For 0.8, 2 and 2.9 m water table depths, stresses and displacements were analysed. It was seen that in the swelling stage, water table at 2.9 m showed maximum upward deflection and in the loading stage for 0.8 m GWT, maximum compression was seen followed by 2, 2.9 m. It was inferred that with high ground water table, adequate base clearance should be maintained to minimise the moisture damage and to achieve quality performance of the pavement.


Matric suction Swelling Expansive soils Stresses Displacements SWCC Ground water table 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. N. Thara
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anirban Mandal
    • 1
  • Siva Ram Karumanchi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringNational Institute of Technology NagpurNagpurIndia

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