Tests were conducted to investigate desiccation cracking of three compacted liner soils obtained from local landfills in southeast Michigan. The soils had low plasticity with varying fines content. Large-scale samples of the soils were subjected to wetting and drying cycles. Surficial dimensions of cracks and suction in the soils were monitored. Surficial dimensions of cracks were quantified using the crack intensity factor (CIF), which is the ratio of the surface area of cracks to the total surface area of a soil. All of the soils were subjected to a compaction–dry cycle (i.e. soils were allowed to dry after compaction) and a subsequent wet–dry cycle. An additional sample of one of the soils was subjected to a compaction–dry cycle and three wet–dry cycles. The maximum CIF obtained in the tests was 7% and suctions exceeding 6000 kPa were recorded. It was observed that cracking was affected by the fines content of the soils. In general, high suctions, rapid increases in suctions, and high amount of cracking were observed in soils with high fines content, with less cracking observed in soil with low fines content. In addition, it was observed that cracking increased significantly due to addition of moisture to the soils. The CIF for wet–dry cycles were significantly greater than the CIF for compaction–dry cycles. Subsequent to moisture addition to the soils, critical suctions that caused a significant change in CIF during the drying cycles were wet–dry cycles, the amount of cracking did not change significantly after the second cycle.


Civil and Environmental Engineering



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