Effect of temperature on the soil–water retention characteristics in unsaturated soils: Analytical and experimental approaches

Tuan A. Pham, Amirhossein Hashemi, Melis Sutman, Gabriela M Medero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In unsaturated soil mechanics, the soil–water retention curve (SWRC) continues to play an important role, since it provides the necessary links between the properties and behaviour of unsaturated soils with a variety of engineering challenges. The temperature has been identified as the main factor influencing SWRC as compared to a variety of other parameters. The goal of this research is to describe theoretical and experimental aspects of the temperature effect on unsaturated soil water retention phenomena. Theoretically, a brief review of the constitutive laws governing the thermal-hydro-mechanical (THM) behaviour of unsaturated soils is presented, along with links between variations in suction with water content, temperature, and void ratio. It also provides a broad framework that would to be well adapted to describing many specific circumstances. Through a closed-form predictive relationship that is developed in this framework, the effect of temperature is examined. By using this relationship, the soil–water retention curve at arbitrary temperature could be determined from one at a reference temperature, therefore significantly decreasing the number of tests necessary to describe the thermo-hydro-mechanical behaviour of a soil. Besides, the SWRC of kaolinite clay was also measured at three different temperatures in an experimental program. The test findings reveal that when the temperature rises, the SWRC decreases significantly. The experimental results were then integrated with sixteen other available data sets covering a wide range of soil types, densities, and suction to create a complete verification program for analytical models. The proposed model has a good performance and reliability in forecasting the fluctuation of non-isothermal SWRC than any existing model, according to statistical assessment results. The analytical model can be used to examine the thermo-hydro-mechanical characteristics of unsaturated soils in numerical simulations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101301
JournalSoils and Foundations
Issue number3
Early online date25 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


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