Continuous Moisture Measurement During Pavement Foundation Construction: Laboratory Measurements

Isaac E Zuniga, University of Texas at El Paso


Moisture content directly affects all properties of subgrade materials. A rapid, continuous, and accurate technique to determine moisture content during subgrade construction is the next step needed to improve the mechanistic-based quality of pavement foundations. In this study, six geomaterials were compacted to standard/modified proctor specifications and subjected to laboratory measurements to study the variations in their electromagnetic and electric properties with moisture content. The relationships between the seismic modulus, unconfined compressive strength, lightweight deflectometer, and moisture content for the same geomaterials were also established. Large-scale replicate specimens were also compacted and subjected to numerous measurements. The dielectric constant measured by the percometer could be related to the GW geomaterial's moisture content, but it was not strongly related to the moisture content of the other geomaterials. The resistivity values were sensitive to different extents to the variation in the moisture content for all specimens. The seismic moduli decreased significantly to marginally with the increase in the moisture content—the unconfined compressive strength plateaued around the optimum moisture content of some specimens. Lastly, the lightweight deflectometer modulus showed little to no correlation to moisture content.

Subject Area

Civil engineering|Geological engineering|Geotechnology

Recommended Citation

Zuniga, Isaac E, "Continuous Moisture Measurement During Pavement Foundation Construction: Laboratory Measurements" (2022). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI30242179.