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Advances in Materials Science and Engineering
Volume 2015, Article ID 542538, 7 pages
Research Article

Nondestructive Measurement of Water Content and Moisture Migration of Unsaturated Red Clays in South China

1School of Traffic and Transportation Engineering, Changsha University of Science & Technology, Changsha 410114, China
2School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK
3Jiangxi Ganyue Expressway Co. Ltd, Nanchang 330029, China

Received 29 May 2015; Accepted 19 October 2015

Academic Editor: Hiroshi Noguchi

Copyright © 2015 Junhui Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


To reveal the moisture migration mechanism of the unsaturated red clays, which are sensitive to water content change and widely distributed in South China, and then rationally use them as a filling material for highway embankments, a method to measure the water content of red clay cylinders using X-ray computed tomography (CT) was proposed and verified. Then, studies on the moisture migrations in the red clays under the rainfall and ground water level were performed at different degrees of compaction. The results show that the relationship between dry density, water content, and CT value determined from X-ray CT tests can be used to nondestructively measure the water content of red clay cylinders at different migration time, which avoids the error reduced by the sample-to-sample variation. The rainfall, ground water level, and degree of compaction are factors that can significantly affect the moisture migration distance and migration rate. Some techniques, such as lowering groundwater table and increasing degree of compaction of the red clays, can be used to prevent or delay the moisture migration in highway embankments filled with red clays.