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Friday 20 Mar 2020Physical Modelling of Soil Atmosphere Interaction

Prof Bernardo Caicedo Hormaza - Universidad de los Andes, Colombia


This seminar will be held online - please use this Zoom link in order to participate.


The increasing interest in the study of the Thermo Hydro Mechanical response of soils due to extreme hydrological variations has heightened the need for improvements in the basic understanding of heat and mass transport taking place at the soil-atmosphere interface. Numerous hydrological parameters affect this thermo-hydro mechanical process: solar radiation, air temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind velocity, rain intensity, and hygrometry. Physical modelling using a geotechnical centrifuge could be a powerful tool to study these problems since it is possible to accelerate time in diffusion processes taking place at the soil-atmosphere interface. However, modelling this interaction adequately in centrifuge requires a better understanding of the scaling laws applied to model soil atmosphere interaction in a centrifuge. This presentation describes a physical model developed to simulate variable weather conditions; the effect of each atmospheric parameter is analysed, including couplings between soil and atmosphere, focusing on the drying process. The possibility of setting up a set of scaling laws for soil drying is discussed.


Bernardo Caicedo graduated with honours in Civil Engineering from the University of Cauca in Colombia in 1986. He then continued his career at the Ecole Centrale de Paris, where he received his Ph.D. in Geotechnics and Structures in 1991. Since then, Bernardo Caicedo works at the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogota, Colombia.

Bernardo Caicedo's research work covers different topics, including the mechanics of unsaturated soils and physical modelling in geotechnics.

Currently, Bernardo Caicedo is vice president of the TC106 technical committee of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering that focuses on the mechanics of unsaturated soils. He published more than 100 conference documents and 50 Journal articles. To recognize his research work, Bernardo Caicedo received the Thomas Telford award in 2017 and the geotechnical research medal in 2019, both awarded by the Institution of Civil Engineers of the United Kingdom.

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