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Geomechanics and Engineering
  Volume 30, Number 4, August25 2022 , pages 373-382

Soil water retention and hysteresis behaviors of different clayey soils at high suctions
Ze Li, You Gao, Haihao Yu, Bo Chen and Long Wang

    Unsaturated soil at high suctions is widespread. Many civil engineering projects are related to the hydro-mechanical behavior of unsaturated soils at high suctions, particularly in arid and semiarid areas. To investigate water retention behaviors of nine clayey soils (one is classified as fat clay and the others are classified as lean clay according to the unified soil classification system), the high suction (3.29-286.7 MPa) was imposed on the specimens at zero net stress by the vapor equilibrium technique. In this paper, the effect of void ratio on the water retention behavior at high suction was discussed in detail. Validation data showed that soil types, i.e., different mineralogical compositions, are critical in the soil water retention behavior at a high suction range. Second, the hysteresis behavior at a high suction range is mainly related to the clay content and the specific surface area. And the mechanism of water retention and hysteresis behavior at high suctions was discussed. Moreover, the maximum suction is not a unique value, and it is crucial to determine the maximum suction value accurately, especially for the shear strength prediction at high suctions. If the soil consists of hydrophilic minerals such as montmorillonite and illite, the maximum suction will be lower than 106 kPa. Finally, using the area of hysteresis to quantify the degree of hysteresis at a high suction range is proposed. There was a good correlation between the area of hydraulic hysteresis and the specific surface area.
Key Words
    high suction; hysteresis behavior; soil water retention behavior; unsaturated soil
Ze Li, You Gao: School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Ningbo University, 818 Fenghua Road, Ningbo 315211, China
Haihao Yu: Laboratory of Geomechnics and Geotechnical Engineering, Guilin University of Technology, 12 Jian Gan Road, Guilin, 541004, China
Bo Chen: College of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Quzhou University, 78 Jiuhua Road, Quzhou 324000, China
Long Wang: School of Environment and Civil Engineering, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, 214122 ,China

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