The mechanical response of unsaturated soils with significant amounts of active clay minerals can be highly stress path dependent. Traditionally, the Axis Translation Procedure has been used to study these materials in the laboratory. This technique, however, does not fully replicate conditions in the field, nor is it able to test soils during the important process of desaturation and resaturation. A novel osmotic oedometer has been developed at Imperial College London to test unsaturated soils under atmospheric pressure. With this equipment, it has been possible to continuously record changes in vertical and radial stress, gravimetric water content, degree of saturation, matrix suction, and void ratio, throughout a test. The Paper presents results from tests carried on samples of compacted London clay using the new oedometer and standard oedometers. The full data set gives an insight into the mechanical response of unsaturated expansive clay along complex stress paths. Results are interpreted using an existing framework for unsaturated expansive clays. Because of inherent limitations in the method of testing, some of the data needs to be interpreted with care. Nevertheless, the response recorded along different stress paths was found to be consistent and in agreement with framework predictions.
Monroy, R., Zdravkovic, L., & Ridley, A. M. (2015). Mechanical behaviour of unsaturated expansive clay under K0 conditions. Engineering Geology, 197, 112-131. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enggeo.2015.08.006