Volume 31, Issue 1 (January 2008)
Suction Equilibration Time for a High Capacity Tensiometer
It is well established, the importance of the measurement of soil suction for the assessment of mechanical and hydraulic behavior of unsaturated soils. Among the methods to obtain the soil suction, the tensiometer is one of the most convenient and reliable. However conventional tensiometer has a limitation related to the maximum suction it is capable of measure. This limitation was overcome by Ridley and Burland (1993), with the development of a high capacity tensiometer, which is capable of measure suction well above 100 kPa. The equipment has a quick response time, allowing the determination of suction in minutes. This paper presents a study about the factors that affect the equilibrium time for high capacity tensiometers in the laboratory. Soil specimens were prepared at three different conditions, creating different soil structures. In addition to that an investigation about the characteristic of the interface that is required between the soil sample and the porous ceramic of the tensiometer was carried out; showing the role of the paste on the technique. The results also suggested that it is possible to infer the hydraulic conductivity function using the equilibrium curve obtained during the measurement of the soil suction using the high capacity tensiometer.