Volume 45, N. 2

April-June 2022

The structure of tropical lateritic soils as an impacting factor in the shape of soil-water characteristic curves


Volume 45, N. 2, April-June 2022 | PDF (57 downloads)


The presence of unsaturated flow in tropical lateritic soils of unknown hydromechanical behavior may lead to severe geotechnical problems. It is known that soil-water characteristic curves (SWCC) are a valuable tool to define this behavior and facilitate the suction estimation, acting on tests performed with no control of such parameter. This article aimed to determine and model the SWCC for 3 unprecedented tropical soils, in the undisturbed and the compacted conditions, from the Paraná state, located in the south of Brazil. The soils studied are one clay and two sands, all lateritic. The pressure plate and the filter paper methods were used to determine the SWCC. The samples were carved and submitted to the drying paths. Furthermore, Mercury Intrusion Porosimetry (MIP) tests were performed in samples of the studied soils in order to obtain the pore size distribution (PSD), contributing to the bimodal definition of curves and the prediction of SWCC main parameters. Both techniques (pressure plate and filter paper) were combined and the SWCC was adjusted by Gitirana & Fredlund model, which efficiently represents the shape of the traditional curves for tropical soils. Furthermore, the SWCCs were predicted by PSD and obtained satisfactory numerical fits. All SWCC presented air entry values in the macropores that are characteristic of soils as the lateritic, given that its structure was considered a key factor in the shape of the curves.

Keywords: Lateritic soils, Filter paper method, Pressure plate method, Soil-water characteristic curve, Porosimetry,

Submitted on May 06, 2021.
Final Acceptance on March 18, 2022.
Discussion open until August 31, 2022.
DOI: 10.28927/SR.2022.070521