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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2007

SoilFlex: A model for prediction of soil stresses and soil compaction due to agricultural field traffic including a synthesis of analytical approaches

Keller, Thomas; Défossez, Pauline; Weisskopf, Peter; Arvidsson, Johan; Richard, Guy


Soil compaction is one of the most important factors responsible for soil physical degradation. Soil compaction models are important tools for controlling traffic-induced soil compaction in agriculture. A two-dimensional model for calculation of soil stresses and soil compaction due to agricultural field traffic is presented. It is written as a spreadsheet that is easy to use and therefore intended for use not only by experts in soil mechanics, but also by e.g. agricultural advisers. The model allows for a realistic prediction of the contact area and the stress distribution in the contact area from readily available tyre parameters. It is possible to simulate the passage of several machines, including e.g. tractors with dual wheels and trailers with tandem wheels. The model is based on analytical equations for stress propagation in soil. The load is applied incrementally, thus keeping the strains small for each increment. Several stress-strain relationships describing the compressive behaviour of agricultural soils are incorporated. Mechanical properties of soil can be estimated by means of pedo-transfer functions. The model includes two options for calculation of vertical displacement and rut depth, either from volumetric strains only or from both volumetric and shear strains. We show in examples that the model provides satisfactory predictions of stress propagation and changes in bulk density. However, computation results of soil deformation strongly depend on soil mechanical properties that are labour-intensive to measure and difficult to estimate and thus not readily available. Therefore, prediction of deformation might not be easily handled in practice. The model presented is called SoilFlex, because it is a soil compaction model that is flexible in terms of the model inputs, the constitutive equations describing the stress-strain relationships and the model outputs. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


model; soil compaction; soil stress; soil displacement; traffic; contact area; bulk density

Published in

Soil and Tillage Research
2007, volume: 93, number: 2, pages: 391-411

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil Sciences
Défossez, Pauline
Weisskopf, Peter
Arvidsson, Johan
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil Sciences
Richard, Guy

UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science
Soil Science

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