Volume 32, N. 2

May-August 2009

The Use of a High Capacity Tensiometer for Determining the Soil Water Retention Curve

Technical Notes

Volume 32, N. 2, May-August 2009 | PDF (3 downloads)


Soil water retention curve (SWRC) plays a fundamental role in characterizing hydraulic and mechanical behavior of soils and porous material in general. However, the determination of the SWRC is usually time-consuming. The objective of this paper is to describe a procedure for the determination of the SWRC using a high capacity tensiometer (HCT). The procedure described here allows the attainment of the SWRC in less than 7 days, with suction measurements up to 500 kPa. The study was carried out using three soils and using specimen prepared with different sizes. It was then possible to evaluate the influence of the type of soil and dimension of the specimen on the retention curve obtained. In order to evaluate the accuracy of the curve obtained with the HCT others methods were also used (e.g. suction plate, pressure plate and filter paper). The results indicated that the use of the HCT presents results equal to the ones obtained using conventional methods. Its use allows a significant economy of time in the determination of the SWRC.

Keywords: soil water retention curve, tensiometer, unsaturated soil, soil suction,

Submitted on March 14, 2008.
Final Acceptance on October 20, 2008.
Discussion open until December 31, 2009.
DOI: 10.28927/SR.322091