TDR potential for soil condition monitoring of geotechnical assets

Giulio Curioni, David Chapman, Alexander Royal, Nicole Metje, Ben Dashwood, David A. Gunn, Cornelia M. Inauen, Jonathan E. Chambers, Philip I. Meldrum, Paul B. Wilkinson, Russell T. Swift, Helen J. Reeves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
157 Downloads (Pure)


The performance of geotechnical assets are influenced by various external factors including time and changing loading and environmental conditions. These changes could reduce the asset’s ability to maintain its function, potentially resulting in failure which could be extremely disruptive and expensive to remediate; thus, the ability to monitor the long-term condition of the ground is clearly desirable as this could operate as an early warning system, permitting intervention prior to failure. This study demonstrates, for the first time, the potential of using Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) for long-term monitoring the relative health of an asset (via water content and dry density) in a field trial where a clayey sandy SILT was exposed to leaking water from a pipe. TDR sensors were able to provide detailed information on the variation in the soil conditions and detect abrupt changes that would prompt for asset inspections or interventions. It is proposed that TDR could be used alone or together with other shallow geophysical techniques for long-term condition monitoring of critical geotechnical assets. Early warning systems could be based on thresholds defined from the values or the relative change of the measured parameters.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Early online date31 Aug 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Aug 2018


  • Time domain reflectometry
  • Soil condition monitoring
  • Gravimetric water content
  • Dry density
  • Degree of saturation


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