Soil water characteristic curves from measures of electrical permittivity

L. Sebastian Bryson, Nishel'Le D. Spencer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


As the need for infrastructure increases, so must the understanding of soils under in situ or natural conditions. Soils in in situ conditions typically exist in an unsaturated state. Unsaturated soils exhibit different engineering behavior and responses than saturated soils. Therefore, methods must be developed to predict the behavior of unsaturated soils under in situ conditions. The soil water characteristic curve relates moisture content to matric suction of a soil for a given soil structure and is the primary means used to describe behavior and characteristics of unsaturated soils. Electrical parameters such as electrical permittivity have been used successfully to predict moisture content in soils. However, further research is required to assess if electrical parameters relate to soil suction and thus can become an alternative means to establish the soil water characteristic curve. In this study, correlations were investigated between soil water characteristic curve parameters and measures of electrical permittivity. The permittivity values were analyzed with respect to their variations with matric suction, volumetric water content, and dry unit weight. This study found that both volumetric water content and matric suction can be expressed as a function of the electrical permittivity; thus providing a possible means of determining an insitu soil water characteristic curve.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGeo-Congress 2014 Technical Papers
Subtitle of host publicationGeo-Characterization and Modeling for Sustainability - Proceedings of the 2014 Congress
Number of pages10
Edition234 GSP
StatePublished - 2014
Event2014 Congress on Geo-Characterization and Modeling for Sustainability, Geo-Congress 2014 - Atlanta, GA, United States
Duration: Feb 23 2014Feb 26 2014

Publication series

NameGeotechnical Special Publication
Number234 GSP
ISSN (Print)0895-0563


Conference2014 Congress on Geo-Characterization and Modeling for Sustainability, Geo-Congress 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAtlanta, GA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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