An Innovative Foundation System for Lightly Loaded Buildings on Expansive Soils

About this project

Project description

Civil engineering infrastructure experience large-scale damage due to the movement of foundations resting on problematic soils. Documented evidence shows that the existing problems associated with expansive soil is world-wide, having occurred in countries such as, Africa, Australia, India and Unites States as well as regions of Canada. Lightly loaded buildings in expansive soils undergo severe distress due to swelling and shrinkage caused by seasonal changes. In Queensland, domestic buildings are frequently built in areas with predominantly expansive soils. Although guidelines are in place on how to deal with these unfavorable ground conditions, in many cases damage cannot be avoided. Wide application of the different tension resistant foundation systems in expansive soils is limited due to the over simplified assumptions behind the design theories, difficulties in execution/construction of these foundation systems and their higher cost of construction.

Therefore, we have developed a new foundation system with sound theoretical background, which is easily constructible and economical. Concept of this innovative foundation system for lightly loaded buildings on expansive soil has been tested effective. This new foundation system has been designed and tested in the laboratory for examining its performance and efficacy in preventing the distress of the structures in expansive soils (ongoing work). Modified direct shear apparatus will be designed to carry out series of interface shear tests. Proposed foundation system will be modified, and laboratory investigations will be carried out to analyze its effectiveness. Numerical analysis will be carried out to analyze the interaction of foundation with expansive soil and its overall performance during loading/infiltration. A pilot scale field study will be conducted on the proposed foundation system to evaluate the challenges associated with the field implementation and study its effectiveness.


Improved knowledge and testing capabilities for characterizing expansive soils; Development of physical models for testing pile performance in expansive soils;  Development of numerical models for simulating performance of piles in expansive soils;  Development and filing of a patent.

Information for applicants

Essential capabilities

Experience in performing experiments in laboratory and/or field

Desireable capabilities

Experience in performing numerical simulations

Expected qualifications (Course/Degrees etc.)

M.Tech./M.E. in Geotechnical Engineering, with B.Tech./B.E./B.Sc(Engg) in Civil Engineering

Additional information for applicants

note: i-students must have own scholarship to apply (CSIR, UCG-NET, etc)

Project supervisors

Principal supervisors

UQ Supervisor

Professor Alexander Scheuermann

School of Civil Engineering
IITD Supervisor

Professor Ramanathan Ayothiraman

Department of Civil Engineering