Suction-oedometer method for computation of heave and remaining heave

Sandra Houston, William N. Houston

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Computations of heave and remaining heave require that careful consideration be given to initial and final soil suction profiles. The procedures for computing heave and remaining heave are essentially the same, with the only distinction being that when a heave prediction is made after some wetting of clay (and heave) have already occurred, it is called remaining heave. Suction measurements show that typically the pattern of degree of wetting is maximum near the ground surface and diminishes to zero at the depth of wetting (DOW). These measurements show that full wetting to matric suction of zero almost never occurs in the field unless sustained ponding or rising groundwater occurs. Thus, partial wetting in the field must be quantified to avoid the costly over-conservatism associated with the full wetting assumption. Interpolation between the initial suction profile and the full wetting condition is accomplished with the surrogate path method (SPM) to account for partial wetting from the initial to the final (equilibrium) condition. The SPM can also be used for shrinkage and for estimation of partial wetting collapse strains. The proposed suction-oedometer method is anchored on the conventional overburden swell test (response to wetting test). Where suction values are unavailable or sparse, an alternate method based on net partial wetting factors (NPWF) applied to laboratory fully-wetted swell strains is proposed for remaining heave computations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-116
Number of pages24
JournalGeotechnical Special Publication
Issue numberGSP 300
StatePublished - 2018
Event2nd Pan-American Conference on Unsaturated Soils: Plenary Papers, PanAm-UNSAT 2017 - Dallas, United States
Duration: Nov 12 2017Nov 15 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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