Estimation of the soil-water characteristic curve from the grain size distribution of coarse-grained soils

Qian Zhai, Harianto Rahardjo, Alfrendo Satyanaga, Guoliang Dai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Coarse-grained soil, such as aggregate and coarse sand, is commonly selected to construct a capillary barrier system (CBS). The barrier effect in the CBS is mainly dependent on the hydraulic properties of the coarse-grained soils. It is noted that direct methods (such as experimental measurement) for the determination of the hydraulic properties (including the soil-water characteristic curve (SWCC) and coefficient of permeability) of soil are time-consuming and costly. As a result, indirect methods for the determination of the SWCC and permeability function of soil are commonly adopted by researchers and engineers. In this paper, a new method is proposed for the estimation of the SWCC from the grain-size distribution (GSD) of coarse-grained soils. The proposed method is based on the assumptions that the soil does not experience any volume change and the hysteresis of the SWCC is ignored. A contact angle larger than zero is adopted in this study. The results computed from the proposed model agree well with the experimental data from published studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105502
JournalEngineering Geology
Publication statusPublished - Mar 20 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Air-entry value
  • Grain-size distribution function
  • Random distribution
  • Soil-water characteristic curve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Estimation of the soil-water characteristic curve from the grain size distribution of coarse-grained soils'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this