Environmental Earth Sciences

, 77:657 | Cite as

Test method and application for microstructures of undisturbed silty sand and sandy silt

  • Yiqun Tang
  • Jinzhang LiEmail author
Original Article


The physical and mechanical properties of soil are determined by microstructure. Sandy silt, silty sand and other weak cohesive materials have low strength in the dry state, limiting the apply scope of scanning electron microscope and mercury porosimeter in such material. The experiment proposes the use of solid–liquid–gas three-phase transformation principle of menthol to strengthen the soil particle, include related sampling device and experimental procedures, to obtain parameters of the microscope image and porosity characteristics. Scanning electron microscopy show the clear photograph of particle form, spatial position, contact mode, plane pore characteristics and so on for undisturbed silty sand and sandy silt in Shanghai area. Freeze–thaw action can change the micro-pore parameters of soil. The mercury intrusion porosimetry test demonstrates that the pore volume, accumulated pore area, the most probable pore size and appearance probability of frozen-thawed silty sand increase with the decrease of freezing temperature. The pore size shows a normal distribution. Besides, pore size distribution of frozen-thawed sandy silt shows the interval distribution. Increasing the freezing temperature, the pore volume and accumulated pore area for sandy silt increase, while bigger value and smaller probability of the most probable pore diameter are obtained.


Microstructure Silty sand Sandy silt Scanning electron microscopy Pore size distribution 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant no. 41572285).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geotechnical EngineeringTongji UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Geotechnical and Underground Engineering of Ministry of EducationTongji UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China

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