Journal Published Online: 08 May 2018
Volume 41, Issue 4

The Microstructure and Water Distribution of Partially Saturated Hard Clay



This article presents an experimental investigation of the microstructure and water distribution of partially saturated natural hard clay. A series of natural hard clay specimens were desaturated using a controlled-suction technique and then examined using nuclear magnetic resonance relaxometry (NMR) and mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP). NMR allows one to investigate the microstructure and the water distribution of the material, while MIP can provide information about the free space distribution of the material. The results of NMR are consistent with the MIP measurements and show that the pore size of the hard clay has a similar unimodal distribution. The relaxation time distribution curves are closely related to the water content of the specimens. The dehydration mechanism of the hard clay is revealed by both NMR and MIP: the water progressively evaporates from large pores to small pores. The peak of the T2 relaxation time distribution decreases with a decrease in water content, and the peak of the free pore size distribution increases during hydration. The results of NMR and MIP are consistent and reveal the same dehydration mechanisms. The limits of NMR and MIP for partially saturated materials will be discussed in this text.

Author Information

Chen, Liufeng
School of Civil Engineering, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China College of Civil Engineering, Suzhou University of Science and Technology, Suzhou, China
Peng, Hua
School of Civil Engineering, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China
Yang, Diansen
State Key Laboratory of Geomechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, Institute of Rock and Soil Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Science, Wuhan, Wuchang, China
Pages: 6
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Stock #: GTJ20160336
ISSN: 0149-6115
DOI: 10.1520/GTJ20160336