Exploring desiccation cracks in soils using a 2D profile laser device

Sanchez, Marcelo and Atique, Alvis and Kim, Sewon and Romero, Enrique and Zielinski, Marcin (2013) Exploring desiccation cracks in soils using a 2D profile laser device. Acta Geotechnica, 8 (6). pp. 583-596. ISSN 1861-1125

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The study of desiccation cracks in soils has been a subject of increasing attention in recent research. This paper presents the use of a 2D profile laser that is coupled with a motion controller (that allows scanning the overall surface of a drying soil) and electronic balance (to measure the water loss). The aim is to accurately track the three most relevant variables associated with the behavior 14 of soils during desiccation: volume change, water loss and evolving crack network’s morphology. The paper presents the methodology to obtain a digital model of the soil using the experimental setup described above. The main results of a natural soil subjected to drying are presented and discussed, including evolution of cracks aperture; evolution of cracks depth, surface contour levels (at different times); and evolution of volume change. It is shown that the proposed methodology provides very useful information for studying the behavior of soils subjected to desiccation.