Operational Aspects of the Mechanics of Deforming Porous Media: Theory and Application to Expansive Soils

  • Philippe Baveye
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 64)


The analysis of transport processes in expansive porous media generally involves the use of some form of a referential, or material, coordinate transformation. The most commonly used of these relationships involves a ratio of two macroscopic bulk densities, that associated with the configuration of the soil at a reference time (e.g., t = 0) and that associated with its configuration at a later (arbitrary) time. This coordinate transformation is traditionally derived in a conceptual framework that entirely disregards the interactions between the observer and the porous media being observed. The purpose of the present chapter is to show that an operational coordinate transformation may be derived in a conceptual framework, called relativist, that takes the measurement process explicitly into account. Even when there is no solid phase production in the system, this generalized coordinate transformation still differs from its traditional counter-part by the presence of an additional term in the numerator of the bulk density ratio. This additional term vanishes identically when the measuring instrument used has space-and timeinvariant properties. Measuring techniques are considered for which this stringent condition appears to be met, in first approximation. In particular, it is argued that such is the case with the dual-energy gamma-ray probe commonly used to study the deformation of soils in laboratory columns and in situ. Another method routinely used to measure bulk densities in situ in expansive soils, based on the simultaneous use of gamma-ray and neutron probes, is analyzed from the same perspective. It is argued that insufficient information is available at present about the characteristics of its volume of influence to conclude whether or not this method is incompatible with the operational constraints inherent in the traditional coordinate transformation.


Porous Medium Coordinate Transformation Representative Elementary Volume Volumetric Water Content Expansive Soil 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philippe Baveye
    • 1
  1. 1.Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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