Micro–macro-experimental study of two clayey materials on drying paths

  • Xin WeiEmail author
  • Mahdia Hattab
  • Jean-Marie Fleureau
  • Ruilin Hu
Original Paper


The objective of this research is to provide a better understanding of the relation between the macroscopic and microscopic behaviours of two clayey materials, a kaolinite and a mixture of kaolinite and montmorillonite. At the macroscopic scale, the approach consists of measuring the water content, void ratio and degree of saturation versus suction (s) during drying, which allows to specify the relationship between shrinkage and desaturation and highlights the characteristic phases of behaviour. At the microscopic scale, study of the orientation of the clay particles is carried out by scanning electron microscope (SEM) picture analysis under different suctions. On drying paths, the observations show an isotropy of the microfabric. The evolution of the porosity derived from mercury intrusion porosimetry tests is confirmed by SEM photograph observations.


Clays Isotropy Scanning electron microscope Mercury intrusion porosimetry Shrinkage Suction Soil structure 


L’objet de cette recherche est d’offrir une meilleure compréhension du lien entre le comportement à l’échelle macroscopique et microscopique de deux matériaux argileux, une kaolinite et un mélange de kaolinite et de montmorillonite. A l’échelle macroscopique, l’approche consiste à mesurer la teneur en eau, l’indice des vides et le degré de saturation en fonction de la succion sur chemin de drainage. Ceci permet de préciser les relations entre le retrait et la désaturation et de mettre en évidence les phases caractéristiques du comportement. A l’échelle microscopique, l’étude de l’orientation des particules d’argile est réalisée par analyse d’images prises au microscope électronique à balayage (MEB). Sur chemin de séchage, les observations montrent une isotropie microstructurale du sol. L’évolution de la porosité est examinée à partir de mesures par porosimétrie au mercure, confirmées par des images seuillées de photos MEB.

Mots clés

Argile Isotropie Microscopie à balayage Porosimétrie au mercure Retrait Succion Structure du sol 



This work was supported by the China Scholarship Council (CSC) and the GNR FORPRO project <Fissuration des argiles liée à la desiccation—Couplage des approches macroscopiques et microstructurales>.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xin Wei
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mahdia Hattab
    • 2
  • Jean-Marie Fleureau
    • 1
  • Ruilin Hu
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Mécanique des Sols Structures et MatériauxEcole Centrale Paris-CNRS UMR 8579ParisFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire d’Etude des Microstructures et de Mécanique des MatériauxUniversité de Lorraine-CNRS UMR 7239MetzFrance
  3. 3.Engineering Geomechanics Laboratory, Institute of Geology and GeophysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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