Mechanical Testing in Unsaturated Soils

  • Laureano R. Hoyos
  • Lyesse Laloui
  • Roberto Vassallo
Original Paper


The state-of-the-art report presented herein is aimed at documenting, to the largest extent possible, some of the recent advances in laboratory testing of unsaturated soils for stress–strain–strength–stiffness characterization under suction-controlled isotropic, axisymmetric, and true triaxial stress states. The report is intended to be neither comprehensive nor fully inclusive, offering plenty of room for further discussion on recent refinements and techniques not yet reported in the literature. The main sections in this report are devoted to describing current methods and technologies using cylindrical triaxial systems, including advances in volume change measurements; resonant column/torsional shear systems; bender element-based systems; and suction-controlled testing under true triaxial stress states. Concluding remarks are included in the last section of the report.


Axis-translation Matric suction Volume change Small-strain stiffness True triaxial stress state 



A novel TTX apparatus is currently being developed by the first author and his co-workers under a Major Research Instrumentation Award 0216545 sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation. This support is gratefully acknowledged. Contributions from the second author were supported by the Swiss NSF, grant 200021101917, and the Swiss State Secretariat for Education and Research SER, Grant OFES C03.0021. These supports are gratefully acknowledged. The third author would like to thank Prof. Claudio Mancuso for his invaluable assistance and advice during the design and setting up stages of the suction-controlled resonant column cell reported herein and the interpretation of results.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laureano R. Hoyos
    • 1
  • Lyesse Laloui
    • 2
  • Roberto Vassallo
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringThe University of Texas at ArlingtonArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental EngineeringEcole Polytechnique Fédérale de LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  3. 3.Dipartimento di Strutture, Geotecnica, Geologia Applicata all’IngegneriaUniversità degli Studi della BasilicataPotenzaItaly

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