Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Civil Engineering (MCE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. L. Sebastian Bryson


The behavior of unsaturated soils depends heavily on material properties and soil conditions. In Geotechnical Engineering, compacted soils are frequently used as fill material, and quality control is vital to the construction process. There are few methods available to estimate the parameters associated with unsaturated soils based on field measurements, and a relationship between these factors could reduce testing time and lower construction costs. Undrained triaxial tests were performed on four clays representing a range of material properties in an effort to reach the maximum dry density, which provides the highest bearing capacity. Each clay was compacted at optimum moisture content, as well as wet and dry of optimum. Measurements were taken using the GeoGauge and shear wave velocities. An empirical approach was used to estimate the effect of a density gradient on soil suction. A relationship between the normal stress and matric suction produced a strong trend when plotted against a function of stiffness and the void ratio, which represents a density gradient. Another relationship between the GeoGauge and shear wave stiffness measurements was found, but no relationship with the material properties of the samples was observed, indicating that more in-depth research is needed to find a stronger relationship.