Last Updated July 17, 2017
VADOSE/W is a finite element CAD software product for analyzing flow from the environment, across the ground surface, through the unsaturated vadose zone and into the local groundwater regime. Its comprehensive formulation allows the analysis of both simple and complex problems, from a simple analysis of ground infiltration due to rainfall, to a sophisticated model considering snow melt and root transpiration as well as surface evaporation, runoff, ponding, and gas diffusion. VADOSE/W can be applied to the analysis and design of geotechnical, mining, hydrogeological, agricultural, and civil engineering projects.
Understanding unsaturated soil mechanics is now critical for geotechnical engineers performing slope stability analyses, designing soil covers for mine or municipal waste facilities, or determining the effect of agricultural or irrigation projects on groundwater flow. Environmental conditions at the ground surface, such as precipitation, evaporation and transpiration, have been increasingly recognized as having a significant impact on soil behaviour in the unsaturated or vadose zone. In fact, “unsaturated soil mechanics may have more to do with the ground surface moisture flux conditions than it has to do with the thickness of the unsaturated soil zone” (D.G. Fredlund, Geotechnical News, Dec. 2001). So how can you determine the impact of environmental conditions on the unsaturated zone? VADOSE/W provides a solution to this problem.
Beginning an analysis is as simple as defining the geometry by drawing regions and lines that identify soil layers, or by importing a DXF™ file, and add a soil cover at the surface. Then graphically apply boundary conditions and specify material properties.
Material properties can be estimated from easily measured parameters like grain-size, saturated conductivity, saturated water content, and the air-entry value, or imported from the included databases. Boundary conditions can be fully coupled to the climate, as a function of time, or as specific values for temperature, head, pressure, total or unit water flux, or a potential seepage surface. Define initial conditions for the analysis by drawing an initial water table and nodal temperatures, or by using computed results from a previously solved problem.
Scale data automatically in order to conduct sensitivity studies or to create data suited to your specific site.
Once you have solved your evaporative flux problem, VADOSE/W offers many tools for viewing results. Generate contours or x-y plots of any computed parameter for any time steps. Velocity vectors show flow direction and rate. Transient conditions can be shown as the changing water table position over time. Interactively query computed values by clicking on any node, Gauss region, or flux section. Then prepare the results for your report by adding labels, axes, and pictures, or export the results into other applications such as Microsoft® Excel® for further analysis.
Using VADOSE/W, you can analyze 2D flux boundary problems such as:
distributions on natural or man-made slopes for use in stability analyses