In addition to the already common use of geotechnical centrifuges to represent, in a reduced-scale model, the state of stresses corresponding to a full-scale geotechnical structure, centrifuge techniques have increasingly been used for an additional purpose: accelerating flow process through geotechnical systems. This is particularly relevant in geotechnical problems involving low hydraulic conductivity scenarios, including flow through low-hydraulic conductivity shales, through unsaturated soils in general, and through unsaturated soils subjected to volumetric changes during infiltration (i.e. expansive clays). This paper provides an overview of recent analytical and experimental advances involving the use of centrifuge technology for the hydraulic and volumetric evaluation of expansive clays. In particular, a new centrifuge approach is presented for practical characterization of expansive clays aimed at implementation in conventional laboratories rather than research centers. The results indicate that, in spite of the significantly highly practical and expeditious characteristics of the new approach, the predicted swell-stress curve is the same as that obtained using time-consuming conventional experimental techniques.
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