Lab equipment

Geoenvironmental Laboratory

Facilities for the study of unsaturated soils

The Geoenvironmental Laboratory is home to state-of-the-art instruments for hydrological, thermal and chemical characterisation of soils.

Apparatus in the geoenvironmental laboratory

Our Geoenvironmental Laboratory (GEL) provides facilities for the study of unsaturated soils, allowing our geo-environmental engineering researchers to explore problems of groundwater contamination and soil-water interaction.

Boasting a full suite of water retention curve measurement devices for the study of unsaturated soils, GEL is capable of measuring suctions across the full spectrum of water content from saturation to near dryness.

GEL facilitates hydrological, thermal and chemical characterisation of soils, including water retention across the full suction range, hydraulic and thermal conductivity, viscosity, and includes instrumented soil columns for physical modelling.

Instruments for soil water retention characterisation

  • two odometers for measurements based on axis translation technique, for the measurement of matric suction in the low-suction range
  • HYPROP for measurement of matric suction curves by an evaporation method in the low-suction range
  • WP4C and Vapor Sorption Analyser, for the measurement of total suction, based on the dew-point method, in the high-suction range
  • filter-paper (contact and non-contact) measurements covering the full suction range

Other experimental and computational capabilities

  • two flexible-wall permeameters, including one with toxic-resistant chamber allowing measurement of hydraulic conductivity to salt solutions
  • an instrumented soil column for physical modelling, with temperature-gradient and overburden load controls, as well as measurement of temperature, vertical deformation, and water content
  • a rheometer for the measurement of the viscosity of soil and granular materials
  • a hot disk for the measurement of thermal conductivity of soil and granular materials
  • access to state-of-the-art computational software and supercomputing, multi-processor facilities