Unsaturated Soil Mechanics & Soil Testing Capabilities

  • Constant Temperature (CT) room – developed specifically for unsaturated soil testing the CT provides a highly stable temperature (<10C variation) required for undertaking high quality unsaturated soil tests.
  • Environmental chamber for conditioning of specimens to specific temperature and humidity conditions.
  • Unsaturated Triaxial Testing systems – 2 systems manufactured by GCTS and GDS allow measurement of sample volume change for an unsaturated triaxial specimen under controlled suction.
  • UPC Oedometer – a device for performing oedometer tests on unsaturated soils. Manufactured by Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) the oedometers have capability to use either the axis translation method or vapour equilibrium suction control methods.
  • Tensiometers – developed in-house, allowing for direct measurement of soil suction up to 3 MPa.
  • Pressure Plate Apparatus – used for determining Soil Water Characteristic Curve.
  • Freeze dryer –Liquid nitrogen immersion and a freeze dryer are employed for maintaining the pore structure of reactive clays for the purpose of microstructural analysis.

Figure 1 Figure 2Figure 3

Figure 1:UPC Oedometer, Freeze drying using liquid nitrogen and Tensiometer Saturation/Calibration


  • Unsaturated Triaxial Testing – using axis translation method.
  • Unsaturated Oedometer Testing – hydro-mechanical stress path testing.
  • Pressure Plate Testing.
  • Soil Water Characteristic Curves (SWCC) using axis translation and vapour equilibrium methods.
  • Measurement of Total Soil Suction using filter paper method, and dew point potential (WP4C).
  • Measurement of Soil Matrix Suction using tensiometer and filter paper method.
  • Unsaturated permeability – air flow permeability.
  • Determination of the loading–collapse curve using unsaturated oedometer or traxial.
  • Microstructure analysis – Freeze drying and MIP method.


For further information regarding testing capabilities and rates please contact:

Lachlan Bates
Business Manager
Piority Research Centre for Geotechnical Science & Engineering
Discipline Civil, Surveying & Environmental Engineering  
University of Newcastle

T: +61 2 4921 8978

M: +61 408 292 638

E: Lachlan.Bates@newcastle.edu.au

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.