Field measurement of shrinkage crack depth in expansive soils Academic Article uri icon


  • The depth of the surface cracks determines the depth to which a vertical moisture barrier should be placed in order to control moisture beneath a pavement, and a means of determining this depth is needed. This paper describes such a method using wave propagation. A summary review of wave types is included - their generation, propagation, and alteration at a crack, and the feasibility of their detection and positive identification. This is complemented by the selection of several trial procedures for detecting surface cracks and estimating their depth. The results of field tests using several trenches excavated to different depths and at naturally occurring shrinkage cracks are presented. The testing setups are illustrated and the analysis performed with the field data is described. The best approach to determine the depth of the crack is from the increase in travel time of the surface wave caused by the crack.

published proceedings

  • Transportation Research Record

author list (cited authors)

  • Picornell, M., & Lytton, R. L.

complete list of authors

  • Picornell, M||Lytton, RL

publication date

  • December 1989