Effect of microstructure on shear strength and dilatancy of unsaturated loess at high suctions

Charles Wang Wai Ng, Hamed Sadeghi, Fardin Jafarzadeh, Mohammad Sadeghi, Chao Zhou, Sina Baghbanrezvan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


To investigate the influences of microstructure changes on dilatancy of unsaturated loess at high suctions, a direct shear box device using the vapour equilibrium technique was used. Through conducting two series of direct shear tests on both intact and recompacted loess specimens and also investigating microstructural changes using the mercury intrusion porosim-etry (MIP) technique, a linear increase in dilatancy with suctions ranging from 8 to 230 MPa can be identified at different net stresses. The enhanced dilatancy observed is mainly attributed to desiccation-induced high suctions as the reduction in void ratio due to enhancement of suction was negligible. A macrovoid ratio, eM, may be quantified and proposed to explain the differences in the increased dilatancy of recompacted and intact loess with suction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-235
Number of pages15
JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Dilatancy
  • High suction
  • Loess
  • Microstructure
  • Void ratio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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