Observation of Microstructural Changes and Strain Localization of Unsaturated Sands Using Microfocus X-ray CT

  • Y. HigoEmail author
  • F. Oka
  • S. Kimoto
  • T. Sanagawa
  • Y. Matsuhima
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Series in Geomechanics and Geoengineering book series (SSGG, volume 11)


It is known that unsaturated soil exhibits more brittle failure due to the collapse of the water meniscus, caused by shearing or the infiltration of water, than saturated soil. The aim of this paper is to observe the strain localization behavior and the microstructural changes in partially saturated soil during the deformation process using microfocus X-ray CT. The strain localization of fully saturated, partially saturated, and air-dried sand specimens during triaxial compression tests is observed and discussed. In addition, the microstructures in the shear bands of partially saturated specimen are discussed.


Unsaturated sand Strain localization Microstructural change μX-ray CT 


  1. K.A. Alshibli, S. Sture, N.C. Costes, M.L. Frank, M.R. Lankton, S.N. Batiste, R.A. Swanson, Assessment of localized deformations in sand using X-ray computed tomography. Geotech. Test. J. 23(3), 274–299 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. M.R. Cunningham, A.M. Ridley, K. Dineen, J.B. Burland, The mechanical behaviour of a reconstituted unsaturated silty clay. Géotechnique 53(2), 183–194 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. J. Desrues, R. Chambon, M. Mokni, F. Mazerolle, Void ratio evolution inside shear bands in triaxial sand specimens studied by computed tomography. Géotechnique 46(3), 539–546 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. S.A. Hall, M. Bornert, J. Desrues, Y. Pannier, N. Lenoir, G. Viggiani, P. Bésuelle, Discrete and continuum analysis of localised deformation in sand using X-ray μCT and volumetric digital image correlation. Géotechnique 60(5), 315–322 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Y. Higo, F. Oka, S. Kimoto, T. Sanagawa, M. Sawada, T. Sato, Y. Matsushima, Visualization of strain localization and microstructures in soils during deformation using microfocus X-ray CT, in Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on X-ray CT for Geomaterials, GeoX2010, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, March 1–3, 2010, ed. by K.A. Alshibli, A.H. Reed (ISTE Ltd., London and John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, 2010), pp. 43–51Google Scholar
  6. T. Matsushima, K. Uesugi, T. Nakano, A. Tsuchiyama, Visualization of grain motion inside a triaxial specimen by micro X-ray CT at SPring-8, Advances in X-ray tomography for geomaterials, in Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on X-ray CT for Geomaterials, GeoX 2006, Aussois, France, ed. by J. Desrues, G. Viggiani, P. Bésuelle (ISTE Ltd., London 2006), pp. 255–261Google Scholar
  7. M. Oda, T. Takemura, M. Takahashi, Microstructure in shear band observed by microfocus X-ray computed tomography. Géotechnique 54(8), 539–542 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. J. Otani, T. Mukunoki, Y. Obara, Characterization of failure in sand under triaxial compression using an industrial X-ray CT scanner. Soils Found. 40(2), 111–118 (2000)Google Scholar
  9. S. Zlatovi, K. Ishihara, Normalized behavior of very loose non-plastic soils: effect of fabric. Soils Found. 37(4), 47–56 (1997)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y. Higo
    • 1
    Email author
  • F. Oka
    • 1
  • S. Kimoto
    • 1
  • T. Sanagawa
    • 2
  • Y. Matsuhima
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Earth Resources EngineeringKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Foundation and Geotechnical Engineering Structures Technology DivisionRailway Technical Research InstituteTokyoJapan

Personalised recommendations