Pore Water Pressures in Unsaturated Soils

by Roy E. Olson, (A.M.ASCE), Associate Professor of Civil Engineering; University of Illinois, Urbana, IL,
Leonard J. Langfelder, (A.M.ASCE), Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering; North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC,

Part of: From Soil Behavior Fundamentals to Innovations in Geotechnical Engineering: Honoring Roy E. Olson


Unsaturated soils are three-phase systems composed of solid mineral matter, water, and air. Such soils may be formed by either natural or artificial means. Except in moist environments, surficial soils are unsaturated much of the year. Deeper deposits of unsaturated soils are found in arid regions throughout the world and are the source of severe engineering problems. Compacted soils, which are almost always unsaturated, are used extensively in engineering work. Numerous field and laboratory investigations have been performed using both natural and compacted unsaturated soils; nevertheless, most experts agree that the properties of unsaturated soils are not well understood.

Subject Headings: Unsaturated soils | Compacted soils | Water pressure | Soil water | Soil properties | Soil pressure | Field tests


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