A 3D image-based method to measure soil stiffness in triaxial tests

Zewen Wang, Wenhan Du, B. M. Lehane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper describes a new simple and inexpensive method for accurately measuring the three-dimensional deformation of soil specimens during triaxial tests. The method incorporates a cost-effective image capture system that can be applied to any triaxial apparatus as well as an automated post-image analysis approach for processing the images acquired during triaxial tests. Image capture is performed using multiple low-cost Raspberry Pi cameras and accessories placed outside the triaxial chamber. The system employs particle image velocimetry, camera calibration and stereophotogrammetry to determine the spatial variation in axial and radial sample strains as samples are loaded. It is demonstrated that axial and radial displacements can be measured with an accuracy of 1–2 μm, respectively, and it is verified by comparison with data from triaxial tests on sand samples that the full nonlinear stiffness–strain degradation of soil samples from fully elastic conditions can be determined without the need for any additional sensors.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalActa Geotechnica
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jul 2023


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