Evaluating innovative direct and indirect soil suction and volumetric measurement techniques for the determination of soil water retention curves following drying and wetting paths

Abdallah Najdi, David Encalada, Joao Mendes, Pere Prat, Alberto Ledesma*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Soil Water Retention Curves (SWRC) are a main characterising component in constitutive models developed for describing unsaturated soils behaviour. Their determination requires establishing a combination of accurate soil matric suction measurements and volumetric measurements. While direct suction methods are always preferred, current methods, such as high capacity tensiometers, are limited to a measuring range of only 1.5 MPa. In this work, the novel Northumbria High Capacity Tensiometer, with an extended measuring range of up to 3.5 MPa, is used in a simplified continuous-drying setup, with proposed modifications to enhance the equalisation times and volumetric measurements. The results are then compared and validated with direct and indirect methods in both drying and wetting paths. At the same time, different volumetric measurement techniques were assessed in order to establish an understanding of Soil Shrinkage Curves (SSCs) that describe the moisture-voids relationship during drying and wetting and has the potential to be used for indirect determination of volumetric dimensions of soil specimens. Hysteresis was observed in the water retention behaviour but not in the volumetric behaviour. An established SSC model is proposed in this work and is fitted to experimental data in order to indirectly estimate volumetric measurements from the water content of small-scale specimens. The proposed novel approach standardises volumetric measurements determination, leading to uniform and complete-range SWRCs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107179
Number of pages13
JournalEngineering Geology
Early online date26 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2023

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