Preparation of high capacity tensiometers for field application

A. Azizi, M. I. Lingwanda, D. L. Nyaoro, P. N. Hughes, D. G. Toll

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Monitoring suction variations within the construction materials of geotechnical infrastructure can provide essential information required to apply unsaturated soil mechanics to geotechnical problems related to climate risks. Such information can be useful in developing a strategy to mitigate climate risks at the design stage. Besides laboratory measurements, high capacity tensiometers can also be used for field measurements of suction. However, saturation, calibration, installation and long-term performance of these tensiometers need further consideration to ensure data accuracy. In this study, the response of tensiometers to pressurisation and cavitation cycles was investigated and the effect of the saturation time on the accuracy of the calibration was discussed. It was also found that temperature changes affect the tensiometer readings implying that temperature correction needs to be applied when tensiometers are installed in the field. A system was developed for field installation of tensiometers and measurement of suction in road subgrades. The installation system ensures occasional retrieving of the tensiometers when resaturation is required. The laboratory and field performances of the developed system showed that the accurate measurement of suction can be achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication17th European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, ECSMGE 2019 - Proceedings
EditorsHaraldur Sigursteinsson, Sigurour Erlingsson, Sigurour Erlingsson, Bjarni Bessason
PublisherInternational Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9789935943613
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2019
Event17th European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering - Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 1 Sept 20196 Sept 2019


Conference17th European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering
Abbreviated titleECSMGE 2019


  • Field installation
  • Low volume road
  • Suction
  • Tensiometer


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