Indirect Measurement of Suction


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Abstract

This paper reports on indirect soil suction measurement methods. Indirect suction measurement techniques measure the moisture equilibrium condition of the soil instead of suction. The moisture equilibrium condition of the soil can be determined by primary means as in vapor pressure, secondary means as through another porous medium or tertiary means as in measuring other physical properties of the porous medium that indicates its moisture equilibrium condition. Indirect suction measurement techniques employing primary means include thermocouple psychrometers, transistor psychrometer and chilled-mirror psychrometer. Indirect suction measurement techniques employing secondary means includes the filter paper method and indirect suction measurement techniques employing tertiary means include thermal conductivity sensors and electrical conductivity sensors. These techniques have been widely used in engineering practice and in research laboratories. However, each of these techniques has its own limitations and capabilities, and active research into improving these techniques is ongoing in universities, research laboratories, and private sector. This paper outlines working principles, calibration, measurement, and application areas of these methods based on recent literature and practice.

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