The influence of rates of drying and wetting on measurements of soil water retention curves

Arash Azizi*, Ashutosh Kumar, Mwajuma Ibrahim Lingwanda, David Geoffrey Toll

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

The water retention curve is fundamental for a comprehensive description of the hydro-mechanical behaviour of unsaturated soils. The water retention testing system developed at Durham University allows direct and continuous measurement of suction using a high capacity tensiometer, water content determined from mass readings of a digital balance and measurements of volume change. The system was modified to accommodate an additional tensiometer to measure suction at the top besides the existing one at the bottom of the soil specimen. Soil specimens were subjected to drying and wetting following two procedures: discrete measurements carried out in stages to ensure equalisation and continuous measurement at different rates. All suctions measured during continuous and discrete measurements were very close at high saturation degrees. At lower saturation degrees, the suction values from the top and bottom of the specimen deviated from suctions observed in discrete measurements. This deviation in suction values was more evident in accelerated drying and wetting patterns. This can be explained by the fact that water permeability reduces with the decrease in saturation levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number03005
Number of pages7
JournalE3S Web of Conferences
Volume195
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2020
Event4th European Conference on Unsaturated Soils - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 19 Oct 202021 Oct 2020

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