Geotechnical properties of transparent silica

Samer Sadek, Magued G. Iskander, Jinyuan Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper discusses the geotechnical properties of two families of transparent silica, which can be used to model soil structure interaction and flow problems in transparent soil models. The fundamental premise of this research is that these materials can be used in model tests to study three-dimensional deformation and flow problems, using nonintrusive optical visualization techniques. Triaxial, direct shear, consolidation, and permeability tests conducted in this study indicate that transparent silica gels and amorphous silica have macroscopic geotechnical properties consistent with those of sands and clays, respectively. The materials used in this research have the same refractive index, which permits combining both families in a stratified transparent soil model. The transparent soils described in this paper represent the only system of transparent materials capable of resembling soils that have a wide range of grain sizes including sand and clay using the same pore fluid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-124
Number of pages14
JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


  • Amorphous silica
  • Clay
  • Imaging
  • Modeling
  • Optical
  • Sand
  • Silica gel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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