Investigating soil water retention characteristics at high suctions using relative humidity control
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom
a Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
A technique for controlling relative humidity (RH) is presented, which involves supplying a sealed chamber with a continuous flow of air at a computer-regulated RH. The desired value of RH is achieved by mixing dry and wet air at appropriate volumes and is measured for servo-control at three locations in the chamber with capacitive RH sensors and checked with a sensitive VAISALA sensor. The setup is capable of controlling RH steadily and continuously with a deviation of less than 0.2% RH. The technique was adopted to determine wetting soil-water retention curves (SWRC) of statically compacted London Clay, under both free-swelling and constant volume conditions. The RH within the chamber was increased in a step-wise fashion, with each step maintained until vapour equilibrium between the chamber atmosphere and the soil samples was established. Independent filter paper measurements further validate the method, while the obtained retention curves complement those available in the literature for lower ranges of suction.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2016
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