This study investigates linkages between volume change, pore fluid drainage, shear wave velocity, and temperature of soft clays using a thermal triaxial cell equipped with bender elements, a measurement approach that has not been explored widely in past thermo-mechanical studies. Two kaolinite specimens were consolidated mechanically to a normally consolidated state and then subjected to drained and undrained heating-cooling cycles, respectively. After cooling, the specimens were subjected to further mechanical consolidation to evaluate changes in apparent preconsolidation stress. Both specimens showed net contractive thermal strains after a heating-cooling cycle and overconsolidated behavior during mechanical compression immediately after cooling. The shear wave velocity increased during drained heating, but negligible changes were observed during drained cooling, indicating permanent hardening because of thermal consolidation during the heating-cooling cycle. The shear wave velocity decreased during undrained heating because of a reduction in effective stress associated with thermal pressurization of the pore fluid but subsequently increased when drainage was permitted at elevated temperature. The shear wave velocity increased slightly during undrained cooling but decreased when drainage was permitted at room temperature. Net increases in small-strain shear modulus of 17 and 11 % after heating-cooling cycles under drained and undrained (with drainage after reaching stable temperatures) conditions, respectively, provide further evidence to the potential of thermal soil improvement of normally consolidated clays. Transient changes in shear modulus also highlight the importance of considering drainage conditions and corresponding changes in effective stress state during heating-cooling cycles.