Volume 32, Issue 5 (September 2009)
Development of a Large-Scale Infiltration Tank for Determination of the Hydraulic Properties of Expansive Clays
A large-scale infiltration tank was developed to study the water transfer in compacted expansive clay. Volumetric water content sensors were buried in a soil column for water content monitoring during infiltration. In addition to water content, soil suction and temperature at various locations and the heave at the soil surface were also monitored. Emphasis was put in minimizing the effect of sensors installation on water transfer and soil deformation. The results obtained for 338 days of infiltration were presented in terms of changes in suction, volumetric water content, temperature, and the soil heave. Based on the recorded data, the performance and limitation of different suction and volumetric water content sensors and the adopted test procedure were analyzed. The recorded data on soil suction and volumetric water content were finally analyzed for determining the unsaturated hydraulic properties of soil, such as the water retention curve and the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity. Note also that the results constitute useful data for further physical analysis or numerical models’ calibration.