Abstract

Newer urban soils, frequently composed of several types of anthropogenic materials, may contain basic oxygen furnace (BOF) slag, which is a steel industry byproduct and considered a potential alternative material for road construction. An understanding of the flow and solute transfer processes through urban soils thus requires hydraulic characterization of these materials. The BEST (Beerkan Estimation of Soil Transfer Parameters) algorithm serves to estimate the full set of unsaturated soil properties by means of conducting an inverse analysis of Beerkan water infiltration data. This study aimed at characterizing unsaturated hydraulic properties of the BOF slag and its evolution during a 1-yr period through water infiltration experiments and use of an adapted BEST method for inverse analysis. Results indicate the evolution with time of BOF slag hydraulic parameters due to their physicochemical changes when exposed to rainfall events. Moreover, the findings of this study highlight the initial spatial variability of hydrodynamic characteristics, which after a certain period shifts to mostly homogeneous behavior. This study has contributed to the hydrodynamic characterization of BOF slag by providing hydraulic conductivity and water retention curves, as required for modeling water and thus solute transfer processes vs. time, which is relevant to BOF slag reuse and environmental considerations.

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