Experimental investigation of the influence of surface energy and pore fluid characteristics on the behavior of partially saturated coarse-grained soils
Cutts, Ross Evan
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In this study, the behavior of partially saturated coarse-grained soil packings was studied as a function of solid surface composition and aqueous salt concentration. The substrates tested were PTFE and soda lime glass, while the aqueous electrolytes consisted of NaCl and CaCl2 in differing concentrations. In order to gain a fundamental understanding of the unsaturated soils system, the two phase intersections of gas-liquid and solid-liquid were studied. The effect of varying aqueous electrolytes on the gas-liquid interface was analyzed by testing the surface tension while systematically varying the electrolyte concentration, while the effect on the solid/liquid/gas interface was studied by altering the surface hydrophobicity and aqueous solution concentration. In order to extend the analysis to soil fabrics, four ideal coarse gained packings were subdivided into their smallest repeating units. These repeating units, along with the measured dependence of the contact angles and surface tension on salt types, allowed an estimation of the equilibrium behavior of the capillary rise and tensile strength within a uniform coarse-grained fabric.