Journal Published Online: 06 September 2011
Volume 35, Issue 2

Measurement of Total Soil Suction Using Filter Paper: Investigation of Common Filter Papers, Alternative Media, and Corresponding Confidence



The small range of moisture contents measured with typical filter paper media in test method ASTM D5298 Measurement of Soil Potential (Suction) Using Filter Paper, require that the mass of the paper be measured to 0.0001 g. The accuracy and resolution of several readily available filter papers was investigated, along with investigating a polymer material as a possible alternative media. The importance of calibrating the filter paper was supported by the study, and suggested that because the slope of the calibration curve varies from paper to paper, the filter papers with the capability of measuring a broad range of water contents (low slope of the water content suction calibration curve) provide increased measurement resolution. The polymer media strips were found to have a much greater range of the moisture content than any of the filter papers, providing even greater resolution in the prediction of suction. The polymer strips performed just as well as the filter papers and showed repeatability in the measured suction values. The primary limitation in using polymer material is the lack of mass production of the material in a form suitable for suction measurements.

Author Information

Randy Rainwater, N.
S&ME, Inc., Louisville, TN, US
McDowell, Lori
Geotechnical Engineering Section, Tennessee Dept. of Transportation, Knoxville, TN, US
Drumm, Eric
Dept. of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, The Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, US
Pages: 10
Price: $25.00
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Stock #: GTJ103204
ISSN: 0149-6115
DOI: 10.1520/GTJ103204