Influence of matric suction on nonlinear time-dependent compression behavior of a granular fill material

  • Wen-Bo Chen
  • Kai Liu
  • Wei-Qiang Feng
  • Lalit Borana
  • Jian-Hua YinEmail author
Research Paper


The site formation for the construction of a new airport in a mountainous region is typically performed by cutting and filling a hill section. The fill materials are subjected to seasonal changes and large variations in water content. The water content change renders the fill material to be characterized as unsaturated or saturated. This study aims to investigate the influence of matric suction on the time-dependent compression behavior of one local soil as a fill material for the construction of a new runway of an airport in Chongqing city, a mountainous region in China. A series of unsaturated drained triaxial tests were conducted on this coarse-grained soil to obtain the relationship between the effective stress parameter, χ, and the matric suction. Subsequently, multistaged compression tests were performed on this soil using a newly designed suction-controlled oedometer apparatus. The influence of suction on the time-dependent compression behavior of the fill material is emphasized. The results indicate that the matric suction can increase the compression stiffness, and that the unloading–reloading index varies nonlinearly with suction. A linear relationship between the time-dependent compression coefficient and normalized effective vertical loading is established. The linear relationship is subsequently used to predict the time-dependent compression coefficient to describe the time-dependent behavior of the fill under unsaturated conditions. Further, a nonlinear function based on the work of Yin (Géotechnique 49(5):699–707, 1999) is adopted to describe the development of time-dependent compression. The results indicate that the prediction obtained from the two newly proposed methods are promising, and can predict the nonlinear time-dependent compression behavior of this coarse-grained soil.


Compressibility Creep Fill High embankment Oedometer Suction Time dependent 



The authors acknowledge the financial supports from Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU). The work in this paper is also supported by a National State Key Project “973” Grant (Grant No.: 2014CB047000) (Sub-project No. 2014CB047001) from Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China, a CRF Project (Grant No.: PolyU12/CRF/13E) from Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government of China. The authors are also sincerely grateful to the reviewers for their constructive review comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wen-Bo Chen
    • 1
  • Kai Liu
    • 1
  • Wei-Qiang Feng
    • 1
  • Lalit Borana
    • 2
  • Jian-Hua Yin
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHung Hom, KowloonChina
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology IndoreSimrol, IndoreIndia
  3. 3.PolyU Shenzhen Research InstituteShenzhenChina

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