Saturation of sand specimens during experimental investigations is important to correctly reproduce undrained shearing behavior, including liquefaction. Sand below the water table is often well saturated in situ because any gases trapped during deposition or compaction have had adequate time to dissolve or migrate through the sand. Reproducing this condition on a short time scale in the laboratory often requires use of backpressure or vacuum saturation. However, backpressure and vacuum saturation sometimes cannot be utilized, for example, in centrifuge models containing soils sensitive to the effects of vacuum. This paper focuses on development and validation of a water pluviation device to construct saturated sand levees during a centrifuge testing program for which backpressure and vacuum methods could not be utilized. P-wave velocity, Vp, measurements using an ultrasound system verified the degree of saturation achieved in the fill. Correlations between Vp and B values are discussed. The vacuum saturation system is shown to provide a high degree of saturation (Vp > 1500 m/s), whereas more traditional water pluviation techniques are shown to produce unsaturated fill.
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