Influence of the soil-atmosphere exchange on the hydric profile induced in soil-structure system
Soil-atmosphere exchange leads to a moisture change in the soil. This can cause major damage to engineering structures due to the soil expansion and shrinkage. The soil-atmosphere exchange is related to several parameters, in particular the soil characteristics and climate conditions. The presence of an engineering structure causes a variation of the hydraulic profile in the soil, which can lead to heterogeneous soil movement and consequently to structural damage. This paper presents a coupled numerical model based on the consideration of both water flow in unsaturated soils and soil-atmosphere exchange. After the validation of the model, the paper presents its use for the analysis of the influence of the presence of structures on moisture change induced under climatic conditions recorded in a semi-arid region. Analysis shows that the presence of the structure leads to important change in the moisture distribution, in particular in the vicinity of the structure.