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Expansive soils have long been recognized as problematic because they cause failure to civil structures constructed above them. The main problem of these soils can be attributed to poor understanding of the volume changes caused by moisture fluctuations. Current swell and shrinkage characterization models are limited by both the lack of standardized tests and tests that employ volume changes in uniaxial direction. In the present research, a comprehensive laboratory investigation was undertaken to study the volume change related swell–shrinkage behaviors of five different types of expansive clayey soils sampled from various regions in Texas, USA. Extensive experimental programs consisting of basic, chemical and mineralogical soil properties were first determined. Three-dimensional free swell and shrinkage tests were performed on all soils at various compaction moisture content conditions. Soil–water characteristic curves (SWCCs) of all test soils were determined by studying the suction potentials of these soils over a wide range of moisture contents. Volume change measurements of soils showed a good correlation with soil properties, including plasticity and soil compaction properties. SWCC results also showed a clear variation in SWCC profiles of soils with respect to soil plasticity. Overall, a large database of soil properties was developed and is presented here. It includes physical and mineralogical properties, as well as engineering swell, shrinkage and SWCC test results.

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NOTICE: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Engineering Geology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Engineering Geology, volume 164 (17 Sept 2013) DOI: 10.1016/j.enggeo.2013.07.001.