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A practical hysteresis model for the soil-water characteristic curve for soils with negligible volume change

Pham H.Q.; Fredlund D.G.; Barbour S.L.

Geotechnique 53(2): 293-298

2003

The relationship between water content and suction in an unsaturated soil is called the soil-water characteristic curve (SWCC). The SWCC has been used to estimate the permeability and shear strength functions, which are subsequently used in the modelling of unsaturated soil behaviour (Fredlund & Rahardjo, 1993; Barbour, 1999). The SWCC of a soil is hysteretic, and the measurement of a complete set of hysteretic curves is extremely time-consuming and therefore quite costly. A simple model for predicting (or estimating) the hysteretic SWCC is needed. Most models presented in the literature require, directly or indirectly, at least two boundary hysteresis curves to predict the scanning curves (Philip, 1964; Hank et al., 1969; Mualem, 1973, 1974, 1984; Dane & Wierenga, 1975; Scott et al., 1983; Jaynes, 1985; Hogarth et al., 1988; Nimmo, 1992; Kawai et al., 2000). Consequently, it is important to establish a means of predicting the boundary wetting curve from the drying curve, and vice versa. A relatively simple empirical model for predicting the bounding hysteretic soil-water characteristic curves is proposed in this paper. The model requires limited data, and provides a reasonably accurate main (or "boundary") curve.

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