Exploring desiccation cracks in soils using a 2D profile laser device

Marcelo Sanchez, Alvis Atique, Sewon Kim, Enrique Romero, Marcin Zielinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


The study of desiccation cracks in soils has been a subject of increasing attention in recent research. This paper presents the use of a 2D profile laser that is coupled with a motion controller (that allows scanning the overall surface of a drying soil) and electronic balance (to measure the water loss). The aim is to accurately track the three most relevant variables associated with the behavior 14 of soils during desiccation: volume change, water loss and evolving crack network’s morphology. The paper presents the methodology to obtain a digital model of the soil using the experimental setup described above. The main results of a natural soil subjected to drying are presented and discussed, including evolution of cracks aperture; evolution of cracks depth, surface contour levels (at different times); and evolution of volume change. It is shown that the proposed methodology provides very useful information for studying the behavior of soils subjected to desiccation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-596
Number of pages14
JournalActa Geotechnica
Issue number6
Early online date12 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • drying cracks
  • soil desiccation
  • volume shrinkage
  • laser scanner


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