Transparent amorphous silica to model clay

Magued G. Iskander, Jinyuan Liu, Samer Sadek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The fundamental premise of this research is that transparent synthetic materials with geotechnical properties similar to natural soils can be used in model tests to study three-dimensional deformation and flow problems using nonintrusive optical visualization techniques. The transparent "clays" discussed in this paper were made by consolidating suspensions of amorphous silica in a pore fluid with a matching refractive index. Conventional triaxial compression, consolidation, and permeability tests were performed to study the behavior of the material under normally consolidated and overconsolidated conditions. This paper demonstrates the feasibility of producing a family of transparent materials, which can be customized to exhibit shear-strength, pore-pressure, volume-change, and permeability characteristics that are consistent with the behavior of natural clays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-273
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2002


  • Clay
  • Imaging techniques
  • Model tests
  • Shear strength
  • Silica

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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