The mechanical behavior of soils is partly affected by their clay content, which arises some important issues in many fields of employment, such as civil and environmental engineering, geology, and agriculture. This work focuses on pavement engineering, although the method applies to other fields of interest. Clay content in bearing courses of road pavement frequently causes damages and defects (e.g., cracks, deformations, and ruts). Therefore, the road safety and operability decreases, directly affecting the increase of expected accidents. In this study, different ground-penetrating radar (GPR) methods and techniques were used to non-destructively investigate the clay content in sub-asphalt compacted soils. Experimental layout provided the use of typical road materials, employed for road bearing courses construction. Three types of soils classified by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) as A1, A2, and A3 were used and adequately compacted in electrically and hydraulically isolated test boxes. Percentages of bentonite clay were gradually added, ranging from 2% to 25% by weight. Analyses were carried out for each clay content using two different GPR instruments. A pulse radar with ground-coupled antennae at 500. MHz centre frequency and a vector network analyzer spanning the 1-3. GHz frequency range were used. Signals were processed in both time and frequency domains, and the consistency of results was validated by the Rayleigh scattering method, the full-waveform inversion, and the signal picking techniques. Promising results were obtained for the detection of clay content affecting the bearing capacity of sub-asphalt layers.
Tosti, F., Patriarca, C., Slob, E., Benedetto, A., & Lambot, S. (2013). Clay content evaluation in soils through GPR signal processing. JOURNAL OF APPLIED GEOPHYSICS, 97, 69-80 [10.1016/j.jappgeo.2013.04.006].