Correspondence between electrical resistivity and total suction in compacted kaolin considering the presence of salt
CERis/ICIST, Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon, Av Rovisco Pais, 1 1049-001 Lisbon, Portugal
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Prospection techniques based on measuring the electrical resistivity of geomaterials are being used mainly for geophysical characterization, for evaluating soil contamination and the extension of contaminated areas, in addition to the compaction control in geotechnical works. This technique is based on the fact that contrasts in electrical resistivity along the profiles analysed help identifying zones of transition, because this property is affected by the presence of water and dissolved salts in the electrolyte, as well as by soil structure. However, in situ data interpretation has some difficulties because electrical resistivity is affected by changes in the unsaturated state of the soil, as well as by the presence of salt compounds (natural or from contamination). The correspondence between electrical resistivity and total suction in compacted kaolin considering the presence of salt was investigated in the study presented. The samples tested were compacted for the same voids ratio and water content, however one type was prepared with distilled water and the other with a NaCl solution (0.5 M). This is a relatively small concentration of salt, to which there were no significant changes in the liquid and plasticity limits, neither on zeta potential if pH is equal to 7, however the quantity of ions supplied was enough to affect the electrical resistivity of the compacted material. The water retention curve of the two kinds of samples was determined using a water dewpoint device and through vapour equilibrium. The electrical resistivity was measured in samples to which suction was known, allowing to find a relationship between total suction and electrical conductivity, and therefore between water content and electrical resistivity. The results found are commented considering the electrical transport through the liquid phase and its continuity in the porous media, which depends on the conductivity of the electrolyte and on the degree of saturation.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2016
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