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Influence of Osmotic Suction on the Soil-Water

Characteristic Curves of Compacted Expansive Clay


T. Thyagaraj1 and Sudhakar M. Rao2

Abstract: Unsaturated clays are subject to osmotic suction gradients in geoenvironmental engineering applications and it therefore
becomes important to understand the effect of these chemical concentration gradients on soil-water characteristic curves 共SWCCs兲. This
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paper brings out the influence of induced osmotic suction gradient on the wetting SWCCs of compacted clay specimens inundated with
sodium chloride solutions/distilled water at vertical stress of 6.25 kPa in oedometer cells. The experimental results illustrate that variations
in initial osmotic suction difference induce different magnitudes of osmotic induced consolidation and osmotic consolidation strains
thereby impacting the wetting SWCCs and equilibrium water contents of identically compacted clay specimens. Osmotic suction induced
by chemical concentration gradients between reservoir salt solution and soil-water can be treated as an equivalent net stress component,
共p␲兲 that decreases the swelling strains of unsaturated specimens from reduction in microstructural and macrostructural swelling compo-
nents. The direction of osmotic flow affects the matric SWCCs. Unsaturated specimens experiencing osmotic induced consolidation and
osmotic consolidation develop lower equilibrium water content than specimens experiencing osmotic swelling during the wetting path.
The findings of the study illustrate the need to incorporate the influence of osmotic suction in determination of the matric SWCCs.
DOI: 10.1061/共ASCE兲GT.1943-5606.0000389
CE Database subject headings: Clays; Unsaturated soils; Suction; Laboratory tests; Expansive soils.
Author keywords: Clays; Unsaturated soils; Suction; Laboratory tests; Expansive soils.

Introduction tent, ␪r, and water entry value, ␺w. The air entry value is defined
as the suction at which air starts to enter the largest pores in the
Compacted clays are extensively used as barriers to restrict flow soil during drying cycle. Water content corresponding to saturated
of water and contaminants in geotechnical and geoenvironmental state of the soil is termed as saturated water content. Residual
engineering applications. These compacted barriers are unsatur- water content is defined as the water content at which further
ated and are characterized by suction. Knowledge of unsaturated increase in suction in course of drying does not result in signifi-
soil properties is essential for modeling flow and transport of cant decrease in water content and the suction corresponding to
water and contaminants through clay barriers 共Tinjum et al. 1997; this point is termed the residual suction ␺r. The water entry value,
Miller et al. 2002兲. The soil-water characteristic curve 共SWCC兲 ␺w, is defined as the suction at which the water content of the soil
has emerged as the primary constitutive relationship for interpret- starts to increase significantly during the wetting path 共Yang et al.
ing the behavior of unsaturated soils. Unsaturated soil properties 2004兲.
such as coefficient of permeability, shear strength, coefficient of The shape of the SWCC is influenced by soil type, mineralogy,
diffusion, and adsorption are predicted from SWCCs of unsatur- density, initial water content, soil structure, texture, stress history,
ated soils 共Fredlund and Rahardjo 1993; Fredlund and Xing 1994; method of compaction, and net confining stress 共Tinjum et al.
Fredlund et al. 1996; Vanapalli et al. 1996; Barbour 1998; Lim et 1997; Vanapalli et al. 1999; Lu and Likos 2004; Thu et al. 2007兲.
al. 1998; Fredlund 2000; Pham et al. 2005兲. The SWCC exhibits hysteresis; that is for a given suction, water
SWCC is defined as the relationship between gravimetric content during drying path 共desorption curve兲 is always higher
water content, w/volumetric water content, ␪w/degree of satura- than that during wetting path 共adsorption curve兲. The general
tion, Sr and soil suction 共Fredlund and Rahardjo 1993兲. The key practice is to measure the SWCC by following the drying path
features of the SWCCs during wetting and drying paths are air owing to the experimental difficulties associated with measure-
entry value, ␺a, saturated water content, ␪s, residual water con- ments during wetting path 共Tinjum et al. 1997; Miller et al. 2002兲.
Pham et al. 共2005兲 reported the causes for differences in water
1
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of content between desorption and sorption curves: 共1兲 irregular
Technology Madras, Chennai, 600 036, India 共corresponding author兲. cross sections of the void passages; 共2兲 greater contact angle in
E-mail: ttraj@iitm.ac.in advancing meniscus when compared to receding meniscus; 共3兲
2
Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Chairman, Center for Sustain- volume of entrapped air in the soil during drying path 共increase in
able Technologies, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, 560 012, India. suction兲 is different than during wetting path 共decrease in suc-
E-mail: msrao@civil.iisc.ernet.in tion兲; and 共4兲 thixotropic regain due to the wetting and drying
Note. This manuscript was submitted on July 29, 2009; approved on
history of the soil.
May 12, 2010; published online on May 15, 2010. Discussion period
open until May 1, 2011; separate discussions must be submitted for indi- Soil suction, ␺, of unsaturated soil is contributed by matric
vidual papers. This paper is part of the Journal of Geotechnical and suction, 共ua − uw兲, and osmotic suction, ␲. Matric suction is attrib-
Geoenvironmental Engineering, Vol. 136, No. 12, December 1, 2010. uted to capillary actions in the soil structure. Osmotic suction is
©ASCE, ISSN 1090-0241/2010/12-1695–1702/$25.00. related to the dissolved salts in soil-water 共Nelson and Miller

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1992; Fredlund and Rahardjo 1993兲. Barbour and Fredlund Table 1. Properties of the Expansive Clay
共1989兲 provided theoretical description of the two primary Property Value
mechanisms of osmotic volume change in clays, namely osmoti-
cally induced consolidation and osmotic consolidation. Osmoti- pH 8.7
cally induced consolidation occurs as a result of water flowing out Specific gravity, Gs 2.71
of the clay in response to osmotic gradients. This flow process Cation exchange capacity 共meq/100 g兲 56.6
induces negative pore fluid pressures within the unsaturated clay • Calcium 33.3
that increases the effective stress; the associated volume decrease • Sodium 0.3
is termed as osmotic induced consolidation. The second osmotic • Potassium 0.5
volume change process termed as osmotic consolidation occurs • Magnesium 22.5
from reduction in interparticle repulsive stresses upon changes in Liquid limit 共%兲 82
pore fluid concentration 共Barbour and Fredlund 1989; Mitchell Plastic limit 共%兲 23
1993; Di Maio 1996; Fam and Santamarina 1996; Kaczmarek and Shrinkage limit 共%兲 10
Hueckel 1998; Mata et al. 2002; Musso et al. 2003; Peters and
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Grain size distribution 共%兲


Smith 2004兲. • Sand 15
Earlier researchers have demonstrated that soil structure, type • Silt 29
of soil, mineralogy, density, initial water content, stress history, • Clay 56
method of compaction, and confining stress have significant in- Unified soil classification symbol CH
fluence on the SWCCs 共Tinjum et al. 1997; Vanapalli et al. 1999;
Compaction characteristics
Ng and Pang 2000; Miller et al. 2002; Lu and Likos 2004;
• Maximum dry density 共Mg/ m3兲 1.42
Marinho 2005; Thakur et al. 2005, 2006; Thu et al. 2007兲. Babu
• Optimum moisture content 共%兲 28
et al. 共2005兲 indicated the necessity of distinguishing total suction
components in geotechnical engineering analysis, as osmotic suc-
tion component may comprise 25–60% of total suction. Sreedeep
and Singh 共2006兲 suggested a method for determining osmotic Materials
suction from the difference between total suction and matric suc-
tion measured using the dewpoint potentiometer 共WP4兲 and pres- Expansive clay from Karnataka state, India was used in the
sure membrane extractor, respectively. They have also highlighted present study. The natural soil was pulverized and passed through
the influence of osmotic suction on the unsaturated soil proper- a 425-␮m sieve prior to all the laboratory tests. The standard
ties. Abedi-Koupai and Mehdizadeh 共2008兲 proposed empirical Proctor compaction test performed on the expansive clay showed
relations to estimate osmotic suction as a function of water con- that the clay has a maximum dry density of 1.42 Mg/ m3 and
tent and electrical conductivity of a soil-water extract for four optimum moisture content of 28%. The properties of the expan-
different soils. They found that osmotic suction estimated from sive clay are presented in Table 1. The matric suction was deter-
total and matric suction measurements with filter paper method mined by the filter paper method in accordance with ASTM
are fairly reliable. Rao and Reddy 共1998兲 reported that physico- D5298-03 共ASTM 2003兲. The matric suction measurements were
chemical effects had a significant impact on the compression be- performed in triplicate and the average values are reported in this
havior of saturated soils at all the applied stresses, whereas study. The matric suction of the compacted specimen 共remolded
physicochemical effects dominated the behavior of dry silty clays with distilled water兲 was 1,997 kPa 共dry density= 1.42 Mg/ m3;
on wetting at lower applied stress. Rao and Shivananda 共2002兲, optimum moisture content= 28%兲. The soil-water of the com-
Rao et al. 共2006兲, and Rao and Thyagaraj 共2007a,b兲 highlighted pacted specimen 共remolded with distilled water to 28% moisture
the influence of osmotic suction on swell and compression behav- content兲 was extracted for determining the soluble salt concentra-
ior of compacted clays. tion according to the ASTM procedure for pore water extraction
Presently, studies focusing on the influence of osmotic suction 共ASTM 2001兲. The total dissolved salt concentration in the soil-
on the SWCCs of compacted clays are lacking. However, it is a water extract of the compacted specimen was measured as 0.3
fact that compacted clays used as barriers in municipal/hazardous g/L. Laboratory reagent grade sodium chloride 共NaCl兲 was used
waste landfills and brine pounds are unsaturated and subject to to prepare 0.4M and 4M sodium chloride solutions.
osmotic suction gradients. Therefore, it becomes important to
characterize SWCCs in the purview of osmotic suction effects
since SWCCs are the basis for predicting unsaturated permeabil- Procedure for Obtaining Matric SWCCs and
ity and shear strength functions. Osmotic SWCCs
The objective of this paper is to examine the influence of os-
motic suction gradients on the SWCCs of compacted clays at a The matric SWCCs of expansive clay during wetting path were
nominal vertical stress of 6.25 kPa in oedometer cells. Osmotic determined from oedometer tests at vertical stress of 6.25 kPa. A
suction gradients were induced by inundating unsaturated clay nominal vertical stress of 6.25 kPa was used in the tests to mobi-
specimens 共remolded with distilled water兲 with sodium chloride lize maximum swell during wetting path. In all tests, the repre-
solutions or salt-amended specimens 共remolded with 0.4M / 4M sentative clay was thoroughly mixed with predetermined volume
sodium chloride solution兲 with distilled water. Matric SWCCs and of distilled water/0.4M and 4M sodium chloride solution to yield
osmotic SWCCs were obtained by measuring water content, ma- moisture content of 28%. The moist clay samples were packed in
tric suction, and osmotic suction difference during wetting path at air tight polythene bags and the bags were placed in desiccator for
different time intervals. Water content-void ratio, void ratio- 2 days to allow moisture equilibration. The moisture equilibrated
matric suction, and void ratio-osmotic suction relationships dur- clay samples were statically compacted in 76-mm diameter
ing wetting path under osmotic suction gradients are also oedometer rings 共specimen thickness= 14 mm⫾ 0.5 mm兲 to
examined in this paper. standard Proctor’s maximum dry density of 1.42 Mg/ m3. Com-

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Table 2. Details of Experiments Performed for Obtaining Wetting SWCCs
Matric suction Initial osmotic suction induced
Series designationa Remolding fluid 共kPa兲 Inundating fluid 共kPa兲
S1 Distilled water 1,997 Distilled water 0
S2 Distilled water 1,997 0.4M NaCl solution 1,958
S3 Distilled water 1,997 4.0M NaCl solution 19,807
S4 0.4M NaCl solution 1,716 Distilled water 1,958
S5 4.0M NaCl solution 1,496 Distilled water 19,807
a
Compaction conditions of all the specimens in series S1 to S5: dry density= 1.42 Mg/ m3; water content= 28%.
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pacted specimens that were remolded with distilled water are des- Results and Discussion
ignated as S1, S2, and S3 series specimens. Compacted
specimens that were remolded with 0.4M and 4M sodium chlo- Fig. 1共a兲 plots the matric SWCCs of S1, S2, and S3 specimens
ride solutions are referred as “salt-amended specimens” or S4 and 共initial matric suction= 1 , 997 kPa兲. These specimens are sub-
S5 series specimens. The S1 to S5 specimens were placed be- jected to initial osmotic suction difference of 0, 1,958, and 19,807
tween two air-dry porous stones and set in a fixed ring oedometer kPa upon wetting by distilled water, 0.4M and 4M sodium chlo-
cell 共double drainage condition兲 at a vertical stress of 6.25 kPa. ride solutions respectively in the oedometer cells. The matric suc-
All oedometer tests were conducted at room temperature that var- tion of the unsaturated Specimens S1, S2, and S3 cause them to
ied between 24° C and 26° C. absorb distilled water/salt solutions thereby increasing their gravi-
The S1, S2, and S3 specimens 共initial matric suction metric water content 关Fig. 1共a兲兴. The plots also show that at given
= 1 , 997 kPa兲 were inundated with distilled water, 0.4M and 4M matric suction, specimens characterized by higher initial osmotic
sodium chloride solutions, respectively, in separate oedometer
cells. Initial osmotic suction difference of 0, 1,958, and 19,807
kPa was induced by inundating the S1, S2, and S3 specimens with 39
S1
distilled water, 0.4M and 4M sodium chloride solutions, respec- 38

tively. The salt-amended S4 and S5 specimens were inundated 37 S4

with distilled water at vertical stress of 6.25 kPa. Initial osmotic 36


S2
suction difference of 1,958 and 19,807 kPa was induced on inun-
Water content (%)

35 S3
dating the salt-amended S4 and S5 specimens with distilled water. 34
Table 2 presents oedometer test details and series designation. 33
The increase in thickness of compacted specimens during wet- 32
ting path was recorded at different time intervals in the five 共S1,
31
S2, S3, S4, and S5兲 test series. Three separate sets of experiments
30
for each test series were performed with multiple identically com-
29
pacted specimens to determine changes in water content, matric
28
suction, and osmotic suction gradient during the wetting path for
0.1 1 10 100 1000 10000
generating matric SWCCs and osmotic SWCCs. The maximum (a) Matric suction (kPa)
variability in water contents of specimens of a given series was
⫾0.1%. 1.06
The matric suction at given time interval during wetting path
1.04
of any series specimen was determined in triplicate in accordance S1

with ASTM filter paper method 共ASTM 2003兲. The variability in 1.02
matric suction between triplicate measurements ranged from ⫾3 S4
d ratio, e

1.00
to 12% and is attributed to variability in water contents of the test S2

replicates. The plots of water content versus matric suction are 0 98


0.98
Void

called matric SWCCs and the plots of water content versus os- S3
0.96
motic suction difference are called osmotic SWCCs.
The osmotic suction difference arises from differences in dis- 0.94
solved salt concentration of the soil-water and the oedometer res-
ervoir solution. Osmotic suction difference at given time interval 0.92

was estimated by measuring electrical conductivity of the soil- 0.90


water 共extracted by squeezing the dismantled specimens at differ- 0.1 1 10 100 1000 10000
ent time intervals, ASTM 2001兲 and the oedometer reservoir (b) Matric suction (kPa)
solution. Matric and osmotic suction measurements were con-
ducted in a temperature controlled room 共20° ⫾ 0.5° C兲. The vari- Fig. 1. 共a兲 Matric SWCCs of Specimens S1, S2, S3, and S4 during
ability in osmotic suction measurements arises from limitations in wetting path under an induced initial osmotic suction of 0, 1,958,
electrical conductivity measurements 共accuracy range ⫾1%兲. De- 19,807, and 1,958 kPa at a total vertical stress of 6.25 kPa; 共b兲 void
tails of the procedure of estimating osmotic suction difference at ratio-matric suction relationships of Specimens S1, S2, S3, and S4
given interval of time in oedometer tests is presented in Rao and during wetting path under an induced initial osmotic suction of 0,
Thyagaraj 共2007a兲. 1,958, 19,807, and 1,958 kPa at a total vertical stress of 6.25 kPa

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NLi : Initial neutral line 1.02 16
Void ratio-osmotic suction
NLf1, NLf2, and NLf3 : Final neutral lines for A, B, and C respectively
Na

Ion conceentrations of soil waterr extract (g/ll)


Wetting paths 14
1.00 Cl
Ca
Mg 12
0.98
0 98 K
A B C 10
NLi

Void ratio, e
0.96 8
n, s
Matric suction

6
0.94
S1 S2 S3
4
0.92
2

0.90 0
NLf1 NLf2 NLf3 100 1000 10000
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Osmotic suction (kPa)

 - ua  - ua + p  - ua + p2 Fig. 3. Variations of ion concentrations in the soil-water extracts as


function of osmotic suction for Specimen S2 during wetting path
Total net vertical stress, p

Fig. 2. Effect of induced osmotic suction on the total net vertical


stress in p-s space
p = 共␴ − ua兲 + p␲ 共1兲
where ␴ = applied stress; ua = pore air pressure; and p␲
= equivalent net stress imposed on clays inundated with solutions
suction exhibit lower gravimetric water content 关S1 to S3, Fig. that are more saline than pore water. Fig. 2 plots the stress paths
1共a兲兴 thereby impacting the shape of the matric SWCCs devel- followed by Specimens S1, S2, and S3 in p-s space. The speci-
oped by the specimens during wetting path. Osmotic suction dif- mens 共S1, S2, and S3兲 are characterized by initial matric suction
ference between soil-water and reservoir salt solution of S2 and of 1,997 kPa. Points A, B, and C represent Specimens S1, S2, and
S3 specimens induces osmotic induced consolidation 共outward S3 in p-s space. The osmotic suction component acts as equiva-
flow of water from the specimen兲 and osmotic consolidation 共as- lent net stress 共p␲兲 that reduces the swelling strains of the S2 and
sociated with inward flow of salt solution兲 that impart them lower S3 specimens due to reduction in reversible 共microstructural兲
water contents at given matric suction. Thus, even though the swelling strains from increase in total net stress and irreversible
initial water content and dry density remain the same, the equi- macrostructural component that decreases because distance of the
librium water content of the three wetting curves 共S1, S2, and S3兲 stress point 共B and C in Fig. 2兲 to the loading-collapse 共LC兲 curve
differ owing to variations in extents of osmotic consolidation and reduces 共Gens and Alonso 1992兲.
osmotic induced consolidation 共nil for S1 specimen兲. Alterna- Fig. 3 plots the variations in individual ion concentrations in
tively, the water retention capacity of a clay decreases upon ex- the soil-water extracts as function of osmotic suction for Speci-
posure to larger initial osmotic suction difference. It may be noted men S2 共initial osmotic suction= 1 , 958 kPa兲 during the wetting
that equilibrium water content is defined as water content of un- path. The soil-water extracts of Specimen S2 show increased
saturated specimen at the end of wetting path. presence of calcium, magnesium, sodium, and chloride ions with
Fig. 1共b兲 plots the void ratio-matric suction relationships of the reduction in osmotic suction. The larger presence of sodium and
Specimens S1, S2, and S3 during wetting path. The void ratio of chloride ions in the soil-water extracts occur from inflow of so-
Specimen S1 共initial osmotic suction difference= 0 kPa兲 in- dium chloride solution into the specimens. The intruding sodium
creased from 0.908 to 1.037 at the end of wetting path. Compara- ions replace exchangeable calcium and magnesium ions as evi-
tively, void ratio of the S2 and S3 specimens 共initial osmotic denced by the higher presence of these divalent cations in the
suction equal to 1,958 and 19,807 kPa兲 increased from 0.908 to soil-water extracted during the wetting path 共Fig. 3兲. Table 3 pre-
0.994 and 0.960, respectively. Lloret et al. 共2003兲 reported similar sents the exchangeable cation compositions of Specimens S1 to
behavior in expansive clays for changes in total vertical stress. S3 at the end of the wetting/swelling process. Exchangeable so-
Rao and Thyagaraj 共2007b兲 treated the influence of pore fluid dium contents of Specimens S2 and S3 significantly increased
osmotic suction on wetting-induced volume change as an equiva- from 0.3 meq/100 g to 6.5 and 23.6 meq/100 g, respectively.
lent net stress component 共p␲兲 contributing to total net vertical Despite higher exchangeable sodium contents, Specimens S2 and
stress 共p兲 as S3 exhibit lower swollen void ratios 共0.99 and 0.96兲 than the

Table 3. Exchangeable Cation Composition of Specimens S1, S2, and S3 at the End of Wetting/Swelling Process
Exchangeable cation composition
共meq/100 g兲
Series Remolding fluid Inundating fluid Calcium Magnesium Sodium Potassium
S1 Distilled water Distilled water 33.3 22.5 0.3 0.5
S2 Distilled water 0.4M NaCl 29.7 19.9 6.5 0.5
S3 Distilled water 4.0M NaCl 27.1 5.7 23.6 0.3

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Inundating fluid 4共b兲兴. This decrease in void ratio of Specimen S3 is due to the
38
0.4M NaCl osmotic flow out of the specimen and the reduction in clay par-
37
ticles separation from marked reduction in electrical repulsion

Region 2
4.0M NaCl
36 forces due to inward salt diffusion 共Rao and Thyagaraj 2007a兲.

Region 2
35 Fig. 1共a兲 allows comparison of the matric SWCCs of Speci-
mens S2 and S4. The initial matric suction of Specimens S2 and
Water content (%)

34
S4 correspond to 1,997 and 1,716 kPa, respectively. The lower
Region 1

33 matric suction of the salt-amended Specimen S4 is attributed to a


32 flocculant soil structure 共Rao and Revanasiddappa 2005兲. Dissi-

Region 1
S2 S3
pation of matric suction by absorption of salt solution increases
31
the equilibrium water content of S2 specimen from 28 to 35.6%
30 关Fig. 1共a兲兴, whereas the equilibrium water content of the salt-
29 amended S4 specimen increased 共from 28%兲 to 38.7% upon dis-
tilled water absorption 关Fig. 1共a兲兴. An initial osmotic suction
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28
100 1000 10000 100000
difference of 1,958 kPa is induced in S2 and S4 specimens due to
(a)
salt concentration differences in soil-water and oedometer reser-
Osmotic suction (kPa)
voirs. This osmotic suction difference causes osmotic induced
1.02 consolidation and osmotic consolidation during wetting of S2
Inundating fluid specimen by 0.4M sodium chloride solution that limits its equi-
S2
1.00 0.4M NaCl librium water content to 35.6%. In case of salt-amended specimen
4.0M NaCl 共S4兲, inward flow of distilled water 共due to dissipation of matric
0.98 suction and induced osmotic suction兲 and outward diffusion of
salts 共cause osmotic swelling兲 aid microstructural swelling and
d ratio, e

S3
0.96 higher equilibrium water content of 38.7%. The void ratio-matric
Void

suction relationships of S2 and S4 specimens in Fig. 1共b兲 depict


0.94 similar trend.
Fig. 5共a兲 compares the osmotic SWCCs of S2 and S4 speci-
0.92 mens, while, Fig. 5共b兲 compares their void ratio-osmotic suction
relationships. Fig. 6 compares the void ratio-osmotic suction re-
0.90 lationships of S3 and S5 specimens induced with initial osmotic
100 1000 10000 100000 suction difference of 19,807 kPa. The S2/S3, S4, and S5 speci-
(b) Osmotic suction (kPa) mens are characterized by initial matric suction of 1,997, 1,716,
and 1,496 kPa, respectively. The Figs. 5共a and b兲 and 6 depict that
Fig. 4. 共a兲 Osmotic SWCCs of Specimens S2 and S3 during wetting though S4 and S5 specimens are characterized by lower matric
path under an induced initial osmotic suction of 1,958 and 19,807 suction 共1,496–1,716 kPa兲 they develop higher water content and
kPa at a total vertical stress of 6.25 kPa; 共b兲 void ratio-osmotic suc- void ratio at the end of wetting process bringing out the signifi-
tion relationships of Specimens S2 and S3 during wetting path under cance of direction of osmotic flow on the SWCC relationships.
an induced initial osmotic suction of 1,958 and 19,807 kPa at a total From Figs. 1共a and b兲 it is evident that at any given matric
vertical stress of 6.25 kPa suction above 1 kPa, water content and void ratio of S4 specimen
is lower than the S1 specimen since S4 specimen is characterized
by lower matric suction than S1 specimen. In addition the el-
Specimen S1 共swollen void ratio equals 1.04兲 apparently as pore evated dissolved salts concentration in the salt-amended Speci-
salt concentration has overriding influence over exchangeable so- men S4, suppresses the diffuse ion layer thickness around clay
dium content in determining the magnitude of swollen void ratios particles and hence the void ratio and water content of the salt-
共Rao and Thyagaraj 2007a兲. amended Specimen S4 is lower than the Specimen S1. Comparing
Fig. 4共a兲 compares the osmotic SWCCs of S2 and S3 speci- Fig. 1共b兲 with Figs. 5共b兲 and 6 it is also evident that final void
mens 共initial osmotic suctions equal to 1,958 and 19,807 kPa兲 ratio of the salt-amended Specimens S4 and S5 共1.064–1.107兲 is
during wetting in oedometer tests. Corresponding void ratio- higher than the Specimen S1 共1.037兲, which is primarily due to
osmotic suction relationships of these specimens 共S2 and S3兲 are the dissipation of induced osmotic suction in the salt-amended
presented in Fig. 4共b兲. The osmotic SWCCs show two distinct Specimens S4 and S5. Induced osmotic suction dissipates by salt
regions. In Region 1 the water contents of Specimens S2 and S3 diffusion out of the salt-amended specimens and from the osmotic
rapidly increases 共from 28 to 34–35%兲 despite a slight dissipation flow into the salt-amended specimens.
of osmotic suction 关32–36%, Fig. 4共a兲兴 suggesting that the matric
suction dissipates faster than osmotic suction in this region. Re-
gion 2 is characterized by slight increase in water content 共16– Water Content-Void Ratio Relationships
18%兲 compared to substantial decrease in osmotic suction 关64–
68%, Fig. 4共a兲兴 indicating faster dissipation of osmotic suction in Fig. 7 plots the water content-void ratio data of S1, S2, and S3
this region. The changes in the void ratio with osmotic suction specimens derived from Fig. 1共a and b兲. All three specimens at-
dissipation 关Fig. 4共b兲兴 follow similar trend as the changes in water tain saturation at the end of swelling. The swelling paths in gen-
content 关Fig. 4共a兲兴. The void ratio of Specimens S2 and S3 ini- eral consist of a relatively steep initial linear portion and a less-
tially increase due to rapid matric suction dissipation. The void steep latter portion. The initial linear segment of Specimen S1
ratio of Specimen S2 gradually increases after the initial increase, 共inundated with distilled water兲 is parallel to the 100% saturation
whereas, the void ratio of Specimen S3 gradually decreases 关Fig. line. The slope of the initial linear segments are smaller for speci-

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J. Geotech. Geoenviron. Eng. 2010.136:1695-1702.


40 1.15

Remoulding fluid: 4.0M NaCl;


38 Inundating flulid: Distilled water
1.10
Remoulding fluid: Distilled water;
Inundating fluid: 4.0M NaCl
36
Water content (%)

S2 S4
1.05 S5

Void ratiio, e
34

1.00
32
Remoulding fluid: Distilled water; S3
Inundating fluid: 0.4M NaCl 0.95
30
Remoulding fluid: 0.4M NaCl;
Inundating fluid: Distilled water
28 0.90
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100 1000 10000 1000 10000 100000


(a) Osmotic suction (kPa) Osmotic suction (kPa)

1.08
Remoulding fluid: Distilled water;
Fig. 6. Void ratio-osmotic suction relationships of Specimens S3
1.06 Inundating fluid: 0.4M NaCl 共remolded with distilled water兲 and S5 共remolded with 4M sodium
S4
Remoulding fluid: 0.4M NaCl; chloride solution兲 during wetting path under an induced initial os-
1.04 Inundating fluid: Distilled water
motic suction difference of 19,807 kPa at a total vertical stress of
1.02 6.25 kPa
d ratio, e

S2
1.00
Void

0.98
identical initial matric suction, variations in initial osmotic suc-
0.96
tion difference induce different magnitudes of osmotic consolida-
0.94 tion and osmotic induced consolidation strains thereby impacting
0.92
the equilibrium water contents of the clay specimens.
Osmotic suction induced by chemical concentration gradients
0.90 between reservoir salt solution and soil-water is treated as an
100 1000 10000
equivalent net stress component, 共p␲兲 contributing to the total net
(b) Osmotic suction (kPa)
vertical stress. This equivalent net stress 共p␲兲 reduces the swell
potential of specimens due to reduction in reversible swelling
Fig. 5. 共a兲 Osmotic SWCCs of Specimens S2 共remolded with dis-
strains from increase in total net stress and irreversible macro-
tilled water兲 and S4 共remolded with 0.4M sodium chloride solution兲
structural component that decreases because distance of the stress
during wetting path under an induced initial osmotic suction differ-
point to the LC curve reduces.
ence of 1,958 kPa at a total vertical stress of 6.25 kPa; 共b兲 void
The osmotic SWCCs show two distinct regions. Region 1 is
ratio-osmotic suction relationships of Specimens S2 共remolded with
characterized by faster dissipation of matric suction than osmotic
distilled water兲 and S4 共remolded with 0.4M sodium chloride solu-
tion兲 during wetting path under an induced initial osmotic suction
suction, whereas, in Region 2, only osmotic suction dissipates.
difference of 1,958 kPa at a total vertical stress of 6.25 kPa

Inundating fluid
1.04
mens with larger initial osmotic suction 共S2 and S3兲 indicative of ater
Distilled water
smaller volume changes or swelling experienced by these speci- 0.4M NaCl S1
1.02 4.0M NaCl
mens. Furthermore, smaller void ratio changes occur during the
Sr = 100%
latter segment of the specimens 共Fig. 7兲. Tripathy et al. 共2002兲
1.00 Sr = 90%
observed similar trends during the swelling paths of compacted
S2
specimen inundated with distilled water.
Void ratio, e

0.98
Fig. 8 plots the water content-void ratio data of S2 and S4
specimens derived from Fig. 1共a and b兲. The S4 specimen attains S3
larger void ratio and water content at the end of swelling 共e 0.96
V

= 1.048; w = 38.7%兲 than S2 specimen 共e = 1.004; w = 37%兲 due to


differences in the direction of osmotic flow 共Fig. 8兲. The larger 0.94
void ratio and equilibrium water content of the salt-amended S4
specimen is due to additional microstructural swelling aided by 0.92
inflow of distilled water and outflow of salt.
0 90
0.90
28 30 32 34 36 38 40
Conclusions Water content (%)

Experimental results illustrate that induced initial osmotic suction Fig. 7. Water content-void ratio swelling paths of Specimens S1, S2,
difference between reservoir salt solution and soil-water affect the and S3 under an induced initial osmotic suction difference of 0,
shape of the wetting SWCCs of compacted specimens. Despite 1,958, and 19,807 kPa at a total vertical stress of 6.25 kPa

1700 / JOURNAL OF GEOTECHNICAL AND GEOENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING © ASCE / DECEMBER 2010

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Sr = 100% Fredlund, D.G. 共2000兲. “The 1999 R.M. Hardy Lecture: The implemen-
S4
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Fredlund, D. G., and Rahardjo, H. 共1993兲. Soil mechanics for unsaturated
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