Shear strength and shear-induced volume change behavior of unsaturated soils from a triaxial test program

Sandra Houston, Natalia Perez-Garcia, William N. Houston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Scopus citations


A series of unsaturated soil triaxial tests were performed on four soils including sand, silt, and a low plasticity clay. Attempts were made to correlate unsaturated soil properties from these tests and data from the literature with soil-water characteristics curve (SWCC), soil gradation, and saturated soil properties. The feasibility of estimating unsaturated soil property functions from saturated soil properties, SWCCs and gradation data, is demonstrated. A hyperbolic model for estimation of the unsaturated soil parameter, φb, versus matric suction is presented. Shear induced volume change behavior was also studied, and results are included in this paper. Although not correlated with soil index properties, these shear-induced volume change data are important to complete stress-deformation analyses, and represent a significant addition to the existing data base of unsaturated soil properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1619-1632
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number11
StatePublished - Oct 27 2008



  • Shear strength
  • Soil properties
  • Suction
  • Triaxial tests
  • Unsaturated soils
  • Volume change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Environmental Science(all)

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