The three fundamental constitutive relations that describe fluid flow, strength, and deformation behavior of variably saturated soils are the soil-water retention curve (SWRC), hydraulic conductivity function (HCF), and suction-stress characteristic curve (SSCC). Until recently, the interrelations among the SWRC, HCF, and SSCC have not been well established. This work sought experimental confirmation of interrelations among these three constitutive functions. Results taken from the literature for six soils and those obtained for 11 different soils were used. Using newly established analytical relations among the SWRC, HCF, and SSCC and these test results, the authors showed that these three constitutive relations can be defined by a common set of hydromechanical parameters. The coefficient of determination for air-entry pressures determined independently using hydraulic and mechanical methods is >0.99, >0.98 for the pore size parameter, and 0.94 for the residual degree of saturation. One practical implication is that one of any of the four experiments (axis-translation, hydraulic, shear-strength, or deformation) is sufficient to quantify all three constitutive relations.
Additional Publication Details
Interrelations among the soil-water retention, hydraulic conductivity, and suction-stress characteristic curves
Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering