Geotechnical and Geological Engineering

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 89–103 | Cite as

Cyclic Swell–Shrink Behaviour of a Compacted Expansive Soil

  • Snehasis Tripathy
  • Kanakapura S. Subba Rao
Original Paper


Laboratory cyclic swell–shrink tests were carried out on compacted expansive soil specimens to study in detail the effect of changes in shrinkage pattern on the swell–shrink behaviour of compacted expansive soils. Compacted soil specimens were allowed to swell and either shrank fully or partially shrank to several predetermined heights in each cycle. The tests were carried out at a surcharge pressure of 50 kPa. The test results revealed that shrinkage of compacted saturated soil specimens to predetermined height in each shrinkage cycle provides similar conditions as that of the controlled suction tests with an increasing number of swell–shrink cycles. The water content of soil specimens and hence soil suction was found to remain nearly constant for each pattern of shrinkage. For soil specimens equilibrated to a given swell–shrink pattern, suction at the end of shrinkage cycles was changed from a higher suction to a lower suction, and also from a lower to a higher suction. The experimental results showed that there may be an immediate equilibrium state attained by the soil in terms of swell–shrink potential if suction at the shrinkage cycles was less than the past suction; otherwise, the equilibrium state was accompanied by fatigue of swelling. The volumetric deformation of the soil specimen subjected greater shrinkage was found to be much larger than the corresponding vertical deformation. The compressibility index of microstructure, κm, was determined for several shrinkage patterns. It is shown that κm is heavily influenced by suction at the end of shrinkage cycles.


Clays Expansive clays Laboratory tests Shrinkage Swelling Cyclic tests Volume change behaviour Soil suction 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cardiff School of EngineeringCardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia

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