Evaluation of the Auto-Correlation Distance of Unsaturated Soils

  • Xiaohui TanEmail author
  • Muzi Hu
  • C. Hsein Juang
  • Peng Li
  • Mengfen Shen
Conference paper


The value of a soil parameter may vary greatly in space from one point to another due to different depositional and post-depositional conditions. The phenomenon is known as soil variability which is characterized by auto-correlation of soils. The extent of auto-correlation is generally expressed by its auto-correlation distance. This paper examines the auto-correlation distance properly for unsaturated soils through laboratory tests focusing on three types of soil parameters, including the physical, deformation, and hydraulic parameters. Test results show that the variability of the physical parameters (water content, bulk density, void ratio, specific gravity, free swelling ratio, liquid limit, plastic limit, and plasticity index) is very small; the variability of the deformation parameters (shrinkage limit, maximum linear shrinkage ratio, coefficient of contraction, volume shrinkage ratio and volume expansion ratio) is moderate; while the variability of the hydraulic parameters (soil-water characteristic curve fitting parameters, and the saturated hydraulic conductivity) is relatively large. Generally, the horizontal auto-correlation distance is greater than the vertical auto-correlation distance.


Spatial variability Auto-correlation distance Correlation function Unsaturated soil Soil parameter 



The financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation, China (41572282, 41372281) and the Natural Science Foundation of Anhui, China (JZ2015AKZR0045) are greatly acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaohui Tan
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Muzi Hu
    • 1
  • C. Hsein Juang
    • 2
  • Peng Li
    • 3
  • Mengfen Shen
    • 2
  1. 1.Hefei University of TechnologyHefeiChina
  2. 2.Clemson UniversityClemsonUSA
  3. 3.Rongzhi College of Chongqing Technical and Business UniversityChongqingChina

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