Vol15 No.8: 1642-1657
【Title】Collapse behavior and microstructural evolution of loess soils from the Loess Plateau of China
【Author】XIE Wan-li1,2; LI Ping1,2*; ZHANG Mao-sheng3; CHENG Tian-e4; WANG Yong2
【Addresses】1 State Key Laboratory of Continental Dynamics, Northwest University, Xi'an 710069, China; 2 Department of Geology, Northwest University, Xi'an 710069, China; 3 Key Laboratory for Geo-hazard in Loess Area, Ministry of Land and Resources, Xi'an Center of China Geological Survey, Xi'an 710054, China; 4 College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, School of Foreign Languages, Northwest University, Xi'an 710069, China
【Corresponding author】LI Ping
【Citation】Xie WL, Li P, Zhang MS, et al. (2018) Collapse behavior and microstructural evolution of loess soils from the Loess Plateau of China. Journal of Mountain Science 15(8). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-018-5006-2
【Abstract】Loess soils are characterized by metastable microstructure, high porosity and water-sensitivity. These soils have always been problematic soils and attracted attention from researchers all over the world. In the present study, three loess soils extracted at various depths from the Loess Plateau of China, i.e. Malan (Q3), upper Lishi () and lower Lishi () loess soils, were studied. Single oedometer-collapse tests were performed on intact loess specimens to investigate the collapse behavior of three loess soils. The microstructure and chemical composition of each loess before and after collapse test were characterized using scanning electron microscopy (i.e. SEM) and energy dispersive spectroscopy (i.e. EDS) techniques. The microstructural evolution due to wetting collapse was interpreted qualitatively and quantitatively in terms of the pore morphology properties. The results suggest that: ①the collapse potential of each loess may rise again after a round of rise and drop, which could be failure of the new-developed stable structure under quite high vertical pressure. It implies that loess may collapse even if it has collapsed. ②Q3, and loess have different types of microstructure, namely, granule, aggregate and matrix type of microstructure, respectively. ③The microstructural evolution due to loading and wetting is observed from a granule type to an aggregate type and finally to a matrix type of structure. The variations in distributions of pore morphology properties indicate that collapse leads to a transformation of large-sized pores into small-sized pores, re-orientation and re-molding of soil pores due to particle rearrangement. ④A porous structure is essential for loess collapse; however, the non-water-stability of bonding agents promotes the occurrence of collapse under the coupling effect of loading and wetting.
【Keywords】Loess; Collapse; Microstructure; Scanning electron microscopy; Image processing; Pore morphology properties