SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1985

Desiccation Cracking of Soil Barriers


Compacted soil liners have been used to retard leakage of fluids from burial sites. If allowed to desiccate, such liners may shrink, crack, and lose their integrity. As a result of the expense and control problems associated with field tests, an initial laboratory study was made of shrinkage, cracking tendency, and hydraulic conductivity of various compacted clay/sand mixtures. The study showed that desiccation shrinkage increased linearly with compaction water content and was unaffected by density. Soaking prior to desiccation increased strains markedly for specimens compacted dry of optimum. Shrinkage strains greater than 10% should cause serious problems in the field. Clay/sand mixtures were prepared which were crack resistant and which had low hydraulic conductivities.

Author Information

Kleppe, JH
Hart-Crowser and Associates, Seattle, WA
Olson, RE
University of Texas, Austin, TX
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 263–275
DOI: 10.1520/STP34583S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-4939-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0417-4