Advances in suction measurements using high suction tensiometers

David G. Toll*, Sérgio D N Lourenço, João Mendes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Significant advances in unsaturated soils testing have been gained through the development of high suction tensiometers allowing direct measurement of suction beyond 100. kPa. This has allowed the implementation of techniques that measure and control suction directly, where the soil is tested in the same conditions as in nature. Previously, much reliance had been placed on indirect measurements of suction and on control of suction using the axis translation technique. It is argued that this technique should be avoided as the use of an elevated air pressure does not replicate natural conditions. This paper presents advances resulting from the use of high suction tensiometers for laboratory testing and field measurements. It also describes an automated suction control system using the air circulation method that can impose controlled cycles of drying and wetting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-37
Number of pages9
JournalEngineering Geology
Early online date9 May 2012
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2013


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