Density-Dependent Model of Soil–Water Characteristic Curves and Application in Predicting Unsaturated Soil–Structure Bearing Resistance

Tuan A. Pham, Melis Sutman, Gabriela M. Medero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
72 Downloads (Pure)


The effect of soil density on the soil–water characteristic curve (SWCC) is becoming a topic of universal interest due to the heterogeneity of soils and environmental variables. In this study, a simple and effective model based on the idea of translating the particle-size distribution curve to the SWCC is proposed for predicting SWCC change with initial density. There is only one new parameter introduced, and it is easily calibrated using two SWCCs obtained from test data. The SWCCs for the same soil at different initial void ratios can be estimated using the developed model. Several existing models are also thoroughly examined, with an emphasis on the advantages and disadvantages of each model. The validity of the proposed model was then verified by comparing it to three other models and experimental data for eight different types of soils. The proposed model also outperforms other existing models in this extensive study, providing good and consistent prediction performance across various soils. The proposed model is then applied to different engineering challenges involving the estimation of bearing resistance of unsaturated soils. Three typical examples chosen for illustration in this paper are the effect of soil density variation on unsaturated shear strength, bearing capacity of a shallow foundation, and ultimate bearing resistance of an energy pile. The findings of the investigation reveal that the proposed model can be utilized to solve a variety of problems involving soil–structure interaction in unsaturated soils.
Original languageEnglish
Article number04023017
JournalInternational Journal of Geomechanics
Issue number4
Early online date24 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


  • Energy pile
  • Initial density
  • Shallow foundation
  • Shear strength
  • Soil suction
  • Soil-water characteristic curve
  • Unsaturated soils

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


Dive into the research topics of 'Density-Dependent Model of Soil–Water Characteristic Curves and Application in Predicting Unsaturated Soil–Structure Bearing Resistance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this